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33 Comments

I learned to code in 30 days after every no-code tool failed

  1. 10

    The main drawback for me about no-code tools is that the end result doesn't belong to you. You end up just renting your business to some platform and that can be a huge pain for businesses.

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      Agreed, it's less of a problem it' s just a simple landing page to get started, but an entire web app is dicey

    2. 1

      I've learned that this is the case for everything involved in building a business.

      I don't own my payment processing - Stripe & Gumroad do. It could take just one automated account suspension and I'd lose my income.

      I don't own my distribution - Gmail does. While I own all of my users email addresses, Google could easily start to filter my content into my audiences spam folders.

      No matter what you're building, you're renting from someone. You'll never truly own everything.

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        It’s all about lock in. Email sending services allow you to download your list and you can import it elsewhere, so not locked in. Payment providers have a bit of lock in with the recurring subscriptions but you could move across slowly to another one. Having your site running on a no code platform could have you very locked in. Depends if they let you eject the code or use an open source version. Even if you can you’d need to hire a coder who can work on that stack.

      2. 2

        I understand your point. I get how it is necessary not to reimplement something like a payment processor or an email sending service. However, I like to own my business processes.

        It can be a bit time-consuming to change a payment processor if you feel it doesn't suit your needs anymore, but that's not unmanageable. Rewriting your whole business process which can be years of work at some point can threaten the existence of your business.

        I would use SaaS to fix specific problems, but not for the core of my business process.

  2. 4

    How did you learned to code in 30 days? I've been studying it for years and still don't get it.

    1. 1

      I started with some YouTube tutorials on Django and just coded along wherever they implemented something I wanted. Then did separate Google searches whenever I was stuck. Most of the time, the answer is somewhere on Stack Overflow, Reddit etc. Often takes some trial and error to get the code working

      When I was really really stuck, asked my engineering friends for help

  3. 3

    And that’s how I turned from a designer into a programmer hahaha definitely the right choice though

    Django is a good option. Having a solid framework like that is a great way to learn the overarching concepts and stay organized with convention. Many built-in shortcuts too.

    I liked these tips

    concepts rarely stick until you’ve applied
    download the latest packages
    95% of your time will be consumed by 5% of the problems

    1. 3

      Second for Django/Python as great first framework and languages.

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        are there any 'a-to-z' resources you'd recommend? i.e., from downloading the appropriate tools to launching an actual app?

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          It depends on your programming level... If you are just getting started with writing code then I would recommend a code camp or other free resources out there. I can't recommend a specific one because I've never used them (I used Google and StackOverflow back in the day to learn). The important thing is to not give up. Success is not about how you start, it's about how you finish. Even after 13 years of coding I still have days where I hit a brick wall and feel like I'm not going to be able to fix a problem.

          As for using the actual framework... Django's website/documentation is really good and I'd start there. They have a getting started section that's really helpful.

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            Thanks for the reply - I have intermediate python skills but haven't touched the language in a few years. Use SQL daily however

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              One of the big selling points of Django is it's builtin ORM, which is the best in the business... However, I've talked with a few people that know SQL really well and don't use frameworks like Django because they feel it gets in their way. For me, I prefer to stay away from writing SQL queries so that was a big selling point.

  4. 2

    I’ve been on a bit of a similar journey myself for the last few months building kojito.ai. I’ve spent the majority of my career as a PM (just subscribed to the newsletter btw) and had acquired some code literacy early in my career in html, css, some sql, and later R, but this fell very short of full stack web development. When I started working on kojito I felt like I finally broke through a wall in terms of what I can do. Happy to share more about my journey and lessons would also love to get your feedback on Kojito as a fellow PM if you’re up for it.

    1. 1

      Oh this is very cool! In the "Try writing a user story with AI!" I can't seem to edit the placeholder text - not sure if that's intentional

      Are you building this yourself? Feel free to email me if I can be helpful

      1. 1

        Thanks for checking it out! That’s indeed international and mainly driven by OpenAI’s requirements for products that use their API. If you want to test out the real product you can sign up for a free account and give it a spin.

        Yes, I built this project myself using next.js, vercel, supabase, and the GPT-3 api. These projects / services and the communities around them have really lowered the barrier to get something like this going.

        Thanks for the offer, will reach out over email.

  5. 2

    Love the Josh Comeau style avatar animation at the bottom :D

    1. 1

      Haha love Josh Comeau!

  6. 2

    Congratulations, I taught myself to code at the start of my indie hacking journey and, as you've probably seen now, you can make huge gains within the first 4 weeks if you know how to Google the right questions when you get stuck. I remember those early months of just learning and building as being some of the most joyful (and also frustrating) times.

    1. 1

      Ya the first few days were a nightmare, but after that the progress is so tangible it gets much easier to push through

  7. 2

    Wow! such an inspiring story and I can relate so much with your experience that no-code tools were too limiting for me. I haven't thought about coding myself, but may change my mindset about what you've said. Had to go thorugh so much hassle with bubble, adalo and other stuff. What are your next steps?

    1. 1

      Oh interesting Adalo was also hard. Didn't try that one. I'm collecting customer feedback and will do broader launches on Product Hunt, HN etc. next week!

      Hoping to get some startups to sponsor the site but we'll see where that goes

  8. 2

    Yes!
    I got angry at every no-code tool I've tried because I've invariably got stuck trying to do something the tool was not meant to do. Data handling is a nightmare.

    I'm learning JS, React, Next and it's a much more rewarding experience being able to do everything myself. Good to see others bumping into the same problems.

    1. 1

      Haha you're not alone! How did you pick React and Next?

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        I knew some JS so it made the most sense.
        React is very popular and you can find lots of tutorials everywhere.

        I also talked to devs saying Next is going to be a great framework to use long term. I for one have gotten accustomed to it really easily. It's also ridiculously simple to deploy on Vercel for free.

        I can start working on a new site in 5 minutes, with Tailwind installed, just straight into code. Layout is very important for me as a designer, so not being able to place every element where I want with no code tools was a deal breaker.

  9. 1

    As a Bubble developer, I both agree and disagree. You can definitely build a powerful web app with bubble, with no bugs. Given that the community is growing and the recent fundraise, we have hopefully good reasons to believe that Bubble will fix issues that remain to be fixed.

    Bubble is currently THE tool on the market to build MVPs, and simple web apps fast, and for cheap.

    With that said there are definite limitations and overcomplication for features that would be far easier to manage with simple code.

    On the side, I'm also learning Django as Python was my first programming language (coming from data analytics) and can't wait to be an proficient enough in both, as I believe they provide non-overlapping advantages (and drawbacks)

    In my opinion, No coders should learn to code, but coders should learn to use no-code tools as well.

    You mentioned Retool and Softr that are indeed amazing. Softr is so easy to use it's like playing lego. It would take one or two afternoon to become proficient and you would unlock the ability to build a very cool frontend from an airtable base.

    1. 1

      hey man, i want to create an mvp with bubble and looking for a developer, please dm me

  10. 1

    Cool story!

    I get what you mean about the hype/inflexibility of some no-code tools.

    Maybe I missed it but what did you code in the end?

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      Right now, it's an aggregator of top startups based on who's been funded recently: https://topstartups.io/

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        Nice! Tiny UI tip - I'd make all the cards the same height :)

        1. 1

          Thanks! I've been wondering about that, will add to my list

  11. 1

    Very cool! I'm in the same boat only been learning for much longer.

    1. 1

      Ya Python Django was relatively straightforward, good luck with yours! Happy to answer any questions if you use Django

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