No-code is any tool that leads to the creation of working software that doesn't require a translation layer of transforming a design to code or to the working product. So it’s basically anytime you’re creating software, workflows, or things that solve a problem that was classically done by a developer but now you’re using a visual interface to do it.
I think no code sometimes gets a bad take. Because people are like, “Oh, you can't build great things with no code.” I don't really think that's the point of it. I think no code is really about empowerment. It's about helping folks who have ideas who want to get a job done — be able to do that stuff.
They don't have to wait for engineering. They don't have to wait for IT to go make this stuff happen. They can use tools like Adalo, or Zapier, or a Webflow, or an Airtable, or what have you, to build the thing that works and solves the problem that they have.
To me, no code is all about helping that set of people make that happen. It's the sort of this democratization of building things that is really useful.
It has to be something that you previously had to do with code, but you no longer have to do or recently don't have to do and because of that it’s surprising or unusual that you don’t have to code. So the benchmark moves, right. So like five years from now, there will be things that we'll be saying like, of course, you no longer have to code for that. And I think we'll kind of have a moving needle of what no code is.
I don't even like the term, no-code. Because you’re still copying and pasting snippets of code sometimes. You’re just not writing the whole thing with code. I think no-code is about making stuff that previously required people with technical chops, that now you longer need those skills.
The biggest component is, as a business owner or operator, the front line person using the software, no-code should allow them to execute any task without having to change the application that they're working in.
I think that these days, a lot of people are clumping together a lot of things that wouldn't traditionally have been called no-code and putting it in that mix. I think, really, what no-code is, is technology that enables people to build technology. It enables people to build things that they would not have been able to build without code before.
It's interesting to talk about no-code, because at Draftbit we also give you the source code — so we live in this weird gray area between code and no-code.
I think the terminology is one thing, but what I really think about is this whole space is helping everyone build. There is enormous value in enabling the billion people on the planet who use software to be able to create their own, whether they're technical, semi technical, non technical, whatever level of technical they are — there's going to be a tool and a platform that will help them actually build their own software.
I think for me, I have a pretty loose definition of no-code. I think some people are very binary around it, where no-code equals zero code, ever. I view no-code as you can get the majority, maybe like 80% done without really having any basic knowledge there with the option of being able to get a little bit more custom and open that up. I would say my definition of no-code is a platform or a software that makes it easier for people to expedite how they can get to an MVP.
I kind of think of it more as what can be done without the need for code and go from there. AJ the creator of Carrd, has to quot, something to the extent of "the best thing about no -code isn't so much the 'no-code,' but rather just the idea that it dismantles the notion of making serious stuff is only reserved for those serious developers." So I like that angle because it's really more so kind of focused on the building aspect.
Building is not solely reserved for a certain type of person, but this broader idea of no-code, essentially opening up all these brand new doors that previously didn't seem like they were there and people realizing that they can build something bigger or smaller or do some task with a set of tools or services with fairly minimal effort really when it comes down to it.
[Lacey] So when I'm explaining what no code is to someone, I talk about how I view it as like building blocks to create a project, a website, web app, or mobile app. And that in code, if you think of high level abstractions, that you can kind of reduce down specific types of behavior. And then you can use them as blocks to build with. What I consider no code products is that the intent behind the product is to enable all people to create for the web, so it's the democratization of building software, of building websites. The things I probably don't consider no code are things that don't really give you a lot of control.