Famous app like Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb all started very simple and then evolved into massively complicated pieces of coding requiring 1000’s of developers to run. Yet while they built their tech empires a quiet movement has been growing and improving that significantly reduces the need for code- no-code app development.
If you search templates on Bubble.io, you will find Airbnb, Facebook, Uber, and many other templates that you can purchase for less than $1000. Yes- for the a fraction of the cost of a developer’s wages you can buy an entirely prebuilt version that you can copy yourself. Yes, they are missing a significant amount of features- but the power of no and low-code app development is that a single developer can now get 5-10x the amount of work done.
I experienced this first hand in our tech startup- Airbnb for renting household items- had our third CTO step down in two years. At this point our app development team consisted of the CTO and two developers. They had all worked together for over 3 months to build a barely functioning but useable MVP. We had just been approved for an accelerator when the CTO stepped down- and when he did so, the developers had no direction and as a result had to also step down. We were now in an accelerator with an MVP that was incapable of making money.
This forced me to take a step back and re-assess. How can I build an app if I can’t communicate with or lead an app development team? It was after hearing about low-code on a podcast that I found my answer.
Within a month, while learning, I had rebuilt a superior version of our MVP by myself. That’s 10x the speed of our team before, but now I had full control and understanding of the product. I knew that this was a complete game changer for not just us, but every startup out there.
No-code app development is the future for several reasons:
Speed- it allows you to not only build and release faster but to make changes in response to feedback.
Education- any tech-savvy person can pick up the skills in a few short months with hard work, not years.
Communication- it enables non-technical founders to communicate more clearly with their development team if they can also make edits and see progress in a way they can understand.
Cost- a fraction of the build time means fewer staff and therefore less cost to build, which means companies can survive longer and invest those funds into growth.
If we’re honest, there is no reason why this next step in the evolution of coding languages shouldn’t happen. It’s advantageous in almost every way. Though here are a few of the reasons we’ve heard against it:
It can’t scale
There are too many limitations
It will put too many people out of jobs
These are common misconceptions for a few reasons. First, it can scale. While it does depend on your platform, low code apps built by startups have raised millions of dollars and grown to handle a significant amount of users. While some apps struggle around the 10,000-100,000 user mark, low code platforms are continually getting more powerful. And if you have that many paying users, chances are you can afford to start rebuilding parts of the app custom to make it faster.
Second, the limitations are only there if you don’t know how to overcome them. While we use multiple low code platforms as an agency, our favorite is Bubble because whenever we run into a limitation we can use custom-code to overcome it. It’s like building a car with a bunch of manufactured parts on hand and having a 3D-printer to custom-build whatever you need that you don’t have on hand. It is more expensive and time-consuming for those parts, but you can do anything.
People also thought cars, computers, and robots would put people out of jobs. And while to some extent this is true, they also always create new jobs. As it stands, this means tech can grow rapidly because so many more people can build it. On the other hand, it means software engineers will stick to focusing on increasingly more complicated problems that are beyond the reach of no-code at the time- like AI, blockchain, 3D rendering, and more. And yet many of these tools are finding ways to integrate with low-code app development to function as extensions further improving its power.
We are increasingly moving towards a future of code that is no code. If you’re interested in having a conversation about whether low/no code app development can accelerate your business, let’s connect!
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