“The future of coding is no coding at all”
-Chris Wanstrath, CEO at GitHub
It’s a bold claim, and admittedly one that some people we speak to still struggle with (“it won’t work for us” being a common, if short lived opinion).
So what does Chris mean and how can ‘no code’ be the future of coding?
Read on to find out.
Put simply, ‘no code’ is a catch all term to describe applications or software that allows you or your employees to build products or services, without any real technical knowledge or coding capability.
That doesn’t mean a no code solution should be considered inferior.
Afterall, building software is often hard, expensive, and at times, a total pain in the ass — situations that marketing and technology teams can no doubt relate to.
What it does mean is that everyone can now become a maker, without reliance on technical teams, and it’s this exact reason that you’ll find no code software solutions in almost every start-up business in the world.
By allowing and enabling the people on the front line to build and iterate, you are fuelling innovation and enabling solutions faster than has ever been possible before.
Infact, if you have created a responsive site using webflow, an ecommerce shop using Shopify, a web app with Bubble, or a voice app using Voiceflow, then you have used a no code solution already.
As with everything, circumstance and situation plays a big part in the effectiveness or usefulness of no code software. Let’s be honest, you’re probably not going to be running an enterprise level product this way — it’s simply not designed to do that.
But, continuing with the product idea above, let’s imagine you do have a live product (you probably do…).
Looking back on the project, how did you scope it? How did you test the alpha and beta versions with customers? How did you know it would be viable enough for your organisation to sign off on the POC and then move to a full build?
If the answer was “we built it”, and that build took months of effort, and considerably more investment than expected to get to something that was just… ‘OK’, then this is where a no code approach could help.
We’re talking days and weeks to get a high fidelity product or prototype built, deployed and into the hands of users to test. With no coding at all.
The impact of this is obvious — less effort, less risk, and significantly more velocity to get to POC.
This approach supports agile design thinking, and if you are a traditionally slow moving corporate or PLC that is struggling to innovate at pace, this could be exactly the solution to help facilitate change.
So what separates a no code solution from low code (i.e part configurable) application like Salesforce’s force.com? Typically no code solutions have four key attributes:
A lot of coding work on projects is pretty basic, so no code enables users to drag and drop components together in a visual way, instead of having to programme it themselves.
This really opens up cross discipline teams, and creative and UX teams can start to quickly test and iterate, while development teams can focus on high value areas, such as really groundbreaking innovation work, or tougher technical challenges.
A library of pre-built modules will exist, allowing you to easily place functionality into your application. This allows functionality like payment modules, video integration etc. again freeing up the technical resource needed to code this functionality.
This enables rapid testing of the application, using live data, to ensure that it works as expected and allowing for quick pivots as needed. No wait times for scheduled deployments, and little to go wrong from a code quality perspective.
Integrating various different modules together helps you expand product functionality quickly, without having to build it. You suddenly hit 1k test users and need to start thinking about CRM? Or you want to create live call tracking and assistant functionality onto the front end experience? A workflow tool like Zapier can help.
A no code approach is exceptionally appealing to businesses wanting to innovate and test new business models, channels, products or services, without committing significant time and money.
At Rehab, we use no code principles and software to accelerate our innovation sprints. It allows the teams involved to fail fast with low levels of investment and overhead, and compete with more nimble businesses.
Within a few weeks we’re able to have POC’s and prototypes into the hands of users, and then if the product is successful, we then use it as a basis to scope a more robust, scalable solution to meet the established demand.
This has helped Estée Lauder to launch a new WhatsApp messenger into the marketplace, Pottermore to create a new voice experience to help a new audience find and fall in love with the Harry Potter universe, and Nike to prototype new sales channels for their customers.
No code really is the future of innovation in corporate businesses.
If you have an insight, have identified a trend, or have an idea that needs exploring then we would love to chat.