Sprout Labs

What is “no code” product development?

Stephen Meriwether
By 
Stephen Meriwether
Published on: 
June 23, 2020

Building products, either on the web or on mobile, is hard. Most non-technical founders start by finding someone technical, either by hiring an agency or a technical employee. And if that isn’t hard enough that’s only a prerequisite to what’s usually a long development cycle. The proliferation of LEAN principles, if applied correctly, certainly helps but it doesn’t solve the primary problems of starting software businesses. You need software developers to create software and creating software takes lots of time. Using “no code” tools can solve both of those problems.


“No code” tools use easy-to-use building blocks to form complex solutions

So what are “no code” tools and how do they differ from the tools used by software developers? Traditionally, software developers write “code” in various languages that computers know how to interpret. Software developers start with a blank screen, write custom code, add code built by others (“libraries”), and over time the software is created. Even small- to medium-sized projects can take weeks or months to build. And for a long time this has been the cost to play. The emergence of “no code” tools has significantly reduced that cost.

“No code” tools like Bubble.io or Draftbit use visual building blocks to build software. For example, adding a way for users to upload images is as simple as clicking the “image upload” building block, no code needed. “No code” tools are, in essence, a layer of abstraction on top of the code typically written by software developers. You use building blocks and the tools write the code for you. This empowers and enables more people to create software. Instead of needing to be technical you only need to be technical-enough. And if you’re reading this post I’d bet you are.


Building and iterating using building blocks is faster than writing custom code

“No code” tools give you access to building blocks, components that can be combined to form something larger. There are building blocks for most things: buttons, tables, graphs, maps, and lots of others. Using these building blocks is as simple as clicking and dragging them onto your application. If you need to remove one of the blocks you can click it and hit delete. In contrast, traditional software development requires code for everything. Adding a sign-up page to your “no code” application can take minutes whereas writing the equivalent code can take days. “No code” tools change the time-to-market from months to days.



You can build almost anything using "no code" tools

“No code” tools are more than mature enough to build successful businesses but are at the same time still emerging. Most of your use-cases will have supporting building blocks. To demonstrate just how powerful these tools can be we at Sprout Labs are building case-studies using only existing building blocks. But what do you do when you need some functionality that isn't yet supported? There are a number of paths forward:

  • Reach out for help in community-driven support forums like the Bubble Forum. These forums are filled with people also building products who can help you come up with creative solutions or point you in the right direction.
  • Reach out to the support team of the “no code” tool you’re using. Almost all “no code” tools are backed by companies with dedicated support staff that can help you find a path forward.
  • Reach out to people or agencies that have built products using “no code” tools. I’m partial to Sprout Labs. We’re not salespeople. We’re here to help whether you only need advice or something more.

“No code” is an exciting new technology that’ll enable the next generation of software developers. We want you to launch that product or bring that idea to life and we’re committed to providing the resources to help.

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