Asked

To the coders, have you tried building things with "no code"?

I've gotten some client work in the past which probably could have been done without writing code. 

But, as someone unfamiliar with all the latest and greatest tools, I figured writing the code would be easier for me since I wouldn't need to learn the a bunch of new tools.

I'm wondering if anyone here transitioned from building with code to building things in a no-code way. 

  • What has your experience been like?
  • When do you choose one approach over the other?
  • Does do you feel the quality holds up?
  • How far can you get before you think "coding this would have been better"?
  • Are hosting and platform fees more expensive than just running a VPS?
  • How do you evaluate a tool or platform to use (lots of no-code startups... don't want to build on top of something that may not be around for the long run)

Thanks!


Hi Pete,

I've messed around with several but none of them stuck around. Usually you run into it's limitations or the platform is so quirky and hides abstractions that it's easier to code yourself.

Every year I think there will be a good and popular no-code app, but from what I've seen they all fizzle out after a while.

No-code is way faster to get started, so for prototyping or sketching an idea out it could work (But maybe Figma or Framer is better for this). With code you have to configure all kinds of boilerplate code before doing something, so it takes a while to get going which is a downside.

Where no code really shines I think is for marketing websites. Like a product page or a simple "home, about us, portfolio" website. I've seen agencies charge 50k for those and designing / coding them from scratch while a 50$ template would do the same using Webflow, Framer Sites, Wordpress, Squarespace etc...

Thanks Pieter,

That's been my impression looking in at these tools from the outside.

Just kind of wondering if there have been any leaps or improvements in functionality.

My instinct is that if I can build something quick with code, do that instead... But since I code for a living I may be biased against no-code stuff and I always want to check my biases lol

I always run into problems when I try to get too creative with using a no-code platform. I like to timebox what I do. For example, I need a landing page in 4 hours, just use Carrd instead of launching my own static site somewhere.

No I haven't, because they all have too many limitations that you usually face at the first custom integration you want to do.

Also because I am an experienced dev and building stuff myself is usually faster than for me learning some limiting new tool that I know will cost me and be a pain in the butt whenever I want to customize something.

Are hosting and platform fees more expensive than just running a VPS?

It will never be less expensive than running your own VPS for the single reason that for a no-code tool you pay for more than simply the server performance. You pay for them developing the app, hosting it, configuring it, support etc.

There are tons of tools to build a MVP quickly in many frameworks though, that to me seems like the best alternative.

Always use no-code tools for marketing automation.
Always use done-for-you hosting and deployment systems (at least aws – netlify, vercel, heroku, flightcontrol if they fit)

Never use no-code tools for your core product.

Yeah, that's kind of been my internal framework as well... just didn't know if no-code tools were getting good enough to handle core product work.

Unfortunately, I'm not convinced they ever will be.

I started to use no-code to conceptualise the product, but really regret it now, as I've spent too much time trying to bend it for my use case. Would be much quicker to code it myself.

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