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NoCode: How Execs Will Soon Build Tech at Warp Speed

While many of us were sheltering in place, Brent Summers was trying to do something to support his local businesses and community members. With no direct coding and no development team, he built and launched GiveLocal, a new gift card app, in just three days. This rapid response was made possible thanks to a new, more approachable method of app development: NoCode.

NoCode makes it possible to build and release functionality into the wild without the need for a developer. At Kunai, we've already started empowering our clients to prototype and develop with NoCode and seen first-hand how circumventing coding skills can lead to better tech in less time.

Trading Code for Visual Tools and Beyond

If you’ve ever used MailChimp or ConvertKit to automate your customer email interactions, you’ve used a NoCode app.. The same goes for Zapier, which connects different apps together without manual coding, and Makerpad, which automates workflow and collaboration. Even voice-enabled apps can be built with Voiceflow doing much of the technical lifting. 

While many tasks can be taken on by NoCode services, we’re also starting to see platforms piece some of these services together to build simple web apps. Bubble, for example, enabled Summers to launch GiveLocal, and Webflow offers a visual canvas to build in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Typically, NoCode works by translating code into visual, manipulatable objects that users can drag-and-drop on-screen as desired. Without the need to code, anyone can launch a website or app with just a few clicks.

As we look towards the future, new and exciting language processing tools like GPT-3 may eventually make it possible for site and app builders to skip even the drag-and-drop function. Trained on three trillion words of internet data, GPT-3 uses artificial intelligence to make sense of text prompts and commands. It’s possible that one day, builders will be able to write what they want a site or app to look like and do, and the AI will make those words a reality.

With voice-activated technology like Siri and Alexa already ubiquitous, it’s also easy to imagine how this ability could evolve with time. One day, anyone may be able to build a site with verbal commands such as, “Give me a website with three pages. Title the pages Home, About, and Contact. On the contact page include a web form that sends an email to my company email.”

NoCode Supercharges Companies at Every Level

Not long ago, building websites and products required hiring engineers and working with them through multiple drafts, tweaking things until they were ready to launch. This process could take months.

With practice, NoCode makes it possible to build and launch a very basic app in mere days without coding knowledge or help from a development team. 

In fast-moving industries, this ability to rapidly lay developmental groundwork can make all the difference. In particular, business leaders that enlist their entire organization to build simple products on their own will have a distinct advantage. NoCode makes it possible for team members in every department to create and update functionality on the fly, then work with a development team to add complexity as needed.

Imagine what that could look like across departments. In five to ten years, legal teams will have automated compliance processes and workflows. Marketing departments will create new landing pages and programs on their own. Website updates or new functionalities won’t all require oversight from development. This will increase agility across the board.

Is NoCode the End of Coding?

Cloud technology made it possible to host a website without ever touching a server, but it didn’t put an end to the need for servers. Instead of buying and configuring your own hardware, cloud services today host servers and provide you with tools that make them easier to manage even if you don’t understand how to manipulate the hardware.

NoCode is similar. It adds a layer of abstraction to coding, making it possible for non-developers to create coded products without directly touching the inner workings of code. With a working prototype or MVP, teams can pass the baton to developers to turn a prototype into a full-fledged app.

Like all technological advances, inviting more people into digital development will only increase innovation and the industry’s range of possibilities. In a testament to the technology’s capabilities, even coders and development teams like ours are using NoCode. Why wouldn’t we? Sometimes, NoCode is faster and easier than coding by hand.

NoCode has many benefits for developers and executives. It speeds up app prototyping, making it possible to build more apps in less time. It allows designers and executives to ‘think in app’, using visual cues and interactions to communicate their ideas more efficiently. NoCode also reduces time to market, allowing nimble teams to achieve proof of concept before requiring development resources. This isn’t just something happening at the start-up level. Even large teams like Airbnb and Zappos use prototyping tool InVision to get ideas off the ground. 

Of course, coding still has a place in building how tech gets to the finish line, and I think it’ll continue to have a place in extremely complex programming a decade from now. But what’s so revolutionary about NoCode is that it could enable many businesses to launch and maintain their online presence with much fewer coders on their teams.

Stepping Into the Future with NoCode

NoCode is the natural outcome of a decades-long software development trend. Each year, the interfaces for developing software are further abstracted from the code that flips ones and zeros to what we see on a screen. NoCode finally takes this far enough that you don’t need an engineering team to build sites and apps.

For companies ready to leverage expedited development, NoCode is here. Talk to Kunai about how you can use NoCode to accelerate development at your organization.