What is No-code?

How to empower knowledge workers to build without code
What is No-code?
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Jens Dressler
Founder & CEO

The No-code movement is in full swing. New tools are coming out by the week with the promise that tech-savvy business professionals called citizen developers can build complex digital applications or workflow automation solutions. In this article, we look at no-code and why it's such a promising trend that companies with an appetite for automation shouldn't miss.

What is No-code?

First of all, let's come up with a definition of what no-code is. In contrast to low-code tools that might still require developers' help, no-code tools promise that anyone can develop digital products without the need for hand-written code. The widely used spreadsheet application was the first no-code platform most of us used before the term no-code became popular. There have been complete businesses built on Excel, after all.

No-code categories

Countless tools claim to be no-code nowadays because everyone wants to grab a piece of the hype. However, we see the following main categories of no-code tools:

  • No-code databases such as graphapi® or Airtable
  • No-code automation platforms such as Make or Zapier
  • No-code website builders such as Webflow or Softr
  • No-code app builders such as Bubble or Glide
  • No-code e-commerce plaforms such as Shopify
  • No-code CRM tools such as Hubspot

Why No-code?

Companies face the perfect storm of economic pressure, developer shortages, and strict data compliance regulations. Still, the need for digitalizing a business to stay competitive is increasing. Most product teams scramble to keep up with competition, respond to customer demand, and keep their infrastructure up and running. When marketers, support organizations, or salespeople knock on the door, they get roadmapped or directly rejected.

That's where no-code platforms change the game. It democratizes access to tech like never before, empowering knowledge workers and citizen developers to get creative and build digital solutions for maximizing their productivity and eliminating manual, repetitive tasks in their daily work.

No-code tool selection

When adopting no-code platforms, teams should still talk to their product teams to ensure that whatever tool they choose integrates well with the core systems that professional developers build. No-code tools should provide an easy-to-use API (Application Programming Interface) to allow programmatic access to its functionality and data. APIs are the glue between software components, enabling them to talk to each other and exchange data. No-code tools that allow plug-and-play integration with other productivity tools do this mainly with the help of APIs.

Another and often overlooked aspect is cost. We advise you to estimate how much usage will pile up over time and how many people need access to the system so you can calculate how expensive a no-code tool will be for a given month. Many tools lure users in with generous free tiers only to get prohibitively expensive when usage increases moderately. Knowing your monthly budget cap is essential for deciding which tools to use.

Conclusion No-code

No-code is a trend that is not going away soon. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 70% of new applications developed by organizations will use low-code or no-code technologies. The market grows 20% yearly, showing the increasing appetite for business automation to stay competitive. No-code platforms will get more powerful with the integration of AI, and the promise of eliminating repetitive manual tasks sounds too good to ignore.

Organizations must double down and make no-code an integral part of their digital transformation journey to be successful with their no-code efforts. To be effective, they should consider forming a team for no-code development that consolidates all efforts and prevents the increase of so-called shadow IT.

As the no-code landscape gets more complex by the day, we compiled a list of no-code tools that give you a starting point.

Start your no-code journey today by setting up an API-first database on graphapi®.