By David Adkin | Co-founder of Adalo
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When did we start calling it no-code and who started that?

I honestly was racking my brain on this one. It definitely wasn't a thing in 2000. And I know low code became a much more prevalent term, maybe five plus years ago. So I think there was some iteration of people talking about code and low code in some sort of enterprise use cases where no code originated.

So I don't know exactly where it originated but it was definitely three years ago when it started to heat up.

I don't really know the origins of it, to be honest. I think there was a lot of people calling it visual programming before that, or visual development and they even go back far enough and you start to get to things like Yahoo! Pipes, which is a precursor to Zapier, you also look at things like Dreamweaver, which was, you know, perhaps even a precursor to other things, and I'm sure there was stuff even before that, too.

As long as humans have been working on things, we've been trying to find better ways to do them and like with programming languages, always trying to move an abstraction layer up. And to me, no code is trying to move another abstraction layer up the stack to just make it that much easier for folks.

I think, maybe Vlad from Webflow is the first person I heard saying no code. I think we were calling it different things before that I was referring to it is like building something without code. But I think that Vlad is probably the first person I've heard at Webflow call it no code, specifically.

I think last year when Webflow had their huge no-code conference where they started bringing in the term on their stuff and on their actual landing page that we all officially adopted the term.

The no-code movement really took off once VCs got introduced to the marketing jargon that is no-code.

All good engineers want to create applications that enable the users to operate seamlessly within them. So I believe, if anything, it's intensified over the last three to five years with the rise of things like Squarespace, and Webflow and really great visual editing tools.

It actually really started probably in early 2019. The whole Product Hunt team, really, in my opinion, coined the phrase because Ryan Hoover, the CEO of Product Hunt, posted a blog post about no-code in early 2019. And then shortly afterward, Ben Tossell launched Makerpad. So somehow there was magic within the Product Hunt organization that just came up with this thing, but I don't know exactly how else it came to fruition.

I think the reason this category is exploding is that in the next couple years, there will be a billion people that grew up using software. and they don't want to be beholden to people that can create software. When we started in 2018, we didn't even call it no-code, we just wanted to help people build mobile apps faster. I think that the "low-code" or "no-code" terms are less important than just empowering people to build real products and give them leverage to create.

I can't pinpoint it to an exact moment where I was like, “Oh, yes, this must be no-code.” And I think the way that it was introduced to me was really more of a problem that actually exists both in startups and also in large orgs: just alack of resources, and also lack of time to learn on yourself, on your own time. And so it was introduced to me unofficially as no-code by one of my mentors at a company. It basically got introduced to me because I wasn't on the technical team, but was building out new things and was constantly stuck waiting for something to happen.

We're big fans of Webflow. I feel like they've done a really good job of really trying to push the branding of no-code, specifically with creating the no-code conf and really trying to push that angle. And it's not even necessarily a selfish thing, I feel like they're doing a pretty good job of just more broadly carrying all the other tools and services and agencies and everybody that kind of touches the space, in whatever capacity, along with them.

[Lacey] I know that this is not a new concept. I know that there have been advances in this for quite some time now. I, looking back, it seems like to me that the drive wasn't behind it and then the technology wasn't behind it either to actually bring it to where it is today.

From what I can tell the original person who was doing no code before it was no code was Tara Reed. And I love that she pioneered it in that way. And she was, you know, building apps together using Google Sheets, Typeform, and a landing page. And that was before it was even called no code. So for me, that's who I look to and credit saying that she was the first one out there actually doing it, and selling the product that she had made was no code.

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About The Interviewer
About The Interviewer
David Adkin
Co-founder of Adalo | I love design, dogs, & basketball.
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