How to Make Tech Products Without Code

One flavour of comment that’s come up again and again from peers on the less technical end of the spectrum…

”Oh, I’ve got this cool app/website idea but I don’t know how to code."

And the next part is usually one of the following:

”Would you be keen to help me build it?”

“Do you know someone who would be able to code it?”

“What programming languages should I learn so I can build it?"

Pause.

Coding is certainly a valuable skill to pick up and understand, but I don’t think you necessarily need to learn how to code in order to build a tech product.

Chris Wanstrath, CEO at GitHub, says “The future of coding is no coding at all.”

Wait, but why?

No-code tools: platforms that help you build full web and mobile apps without writing a single line of code (or low-code options).

Think drag-and-drop approaches where you can place content blocks and buttons to design pages as you please.

Now, you might think, ah yeah but no serious startup actually uses that stuff…

…but in terms of venture capital funding, Dividend raised $365M, Petal raised $300M, Lattice raised $49M, Comet raised $13M.

And all of them did so with either a product or website built on a no-code platform.

Some of the most popular tools I’ve seen in this space are:

  • Bubble: No-code tool that lets you build SaaS platforms, marketplaces and CRMs without code

  • Webflow: Build professional, custom websites in a completely visual canvas.

  • Notion: Customisable workspace tool combining team wikis, tasks, project management, notes & docs.

  • Zapier: Automated workflow tool that allows you to connect apps to share info between them.

  • Carrd: Simple, free, fully responsive one-page sites for pretty much anything.

Heck, even the Earlywork website I just whipped up one evening on Google Sites for free without any code.

Cenario has a dope article which covers 21 different no-code tools you can use for just about anything (except maybe finding the inherent meaning of life), but if you’ve seen any other cool no-code tools, chuck us a cheeky comment below:

A caveat: no-code platforms ultimately rely on a finite set of templates & building blocks and do not offer the same degree of customisability as building something from scratch.

Depending upon the technical complexity / desired customisability of your product, you may find that down the line, it makes more sense to code something instead.

Still, no-code tools are a fantastic way to get started and test out your ideas in the market (and they’re continuing to get better and better).

Now, knowing what no-code tools are out there is one thing, but using them comes with its own learning curve.

That’s why I spoke to Brent Liang (Co-Founder @ Logieq, an early-stage Aussie startup building tasks & challenges to help fast-growing startups hire better), who was recently featured by Bubble, sharing his experiences on two different startups he’s built entirely using their no-code platform.

Here are Brent’s top 6 tips when it comes to building out a no-code product:

3 Dos for Building Your Own Thing With No Code:

  1. Do it every day. Consistency matters more than anything, even if 1-2 hours.

  2. Do real projects. Try to build a proper app and follow it through to launch, don't see it as an assignment.

  3. Do share around progress. Be visible and active in forums, ask questions and help out; building in public is part of what got me noticed by Bubble.

3 Donts for Building Your Own Thing With No Code:

  1. Don’t drop when things get hard. The learning curve has a flat section for Bubble and it’s easy to get deflated. You just need to keep going; no other way to do it (especially when learning responsiveness).

  2. Don't obsess at a loss of productivity. Healthy obsession is good, but too much obsession = coding anxiety + racing thoughts 24/7. Take a break when this happens and come back later. This is good practice for things later in life too.

  3. Don’t compromise. You can build 100% of Uber on Bubble. It’s possible. Even when you ship a scrappy MVP, never doubt what you can build on the platform. All you need is more hours (but much less than actual coding) and consistency working on it every day.