The hard things about No-Code?

Hey IH 👋

I'm a big No-Code fan and I enjoy making supporting tools. 😊 My first wow moment of No-Code was when I worked with an ops team in 2017 that automated classified ads, email parsing and post-sales NPS surveys all with just Zapier, Gmail, Google Sheets, Zoho and Wufoo! The ops team was a team of one.

I'm seeing a lot of exciting projects springing up made without code. Are there still things you can't build without code, or things that take ages? Looking for your expert opinion on what's still hard to do in No-Code in 2020!

  1. 3

    I will say that it's still programming but without code. You need to be able to build workflows, implement algorithms and logic, and sometimes the no-code platform gets in the way and limit what you can do. Often it can be solved with a plugin. But it can also be expensive when you have to buy extra plugins to solve the issues.

    The no-code platform also tends to shape your way of thinking in an unexpected backward way of thinking.

    Complicated workflows and logic tend to slow down no-code platforms so you need to throw extra money on them to solve it.

    They are also harder to debug and document, when everything is in small boxes or forms hidden away in the UI. You can't version control it in a Git repo.

    I have built projects in no-code platforms like Bubble, WordPress (yes I think you can call it that!), and Node-RED. As a programmer, I often feel that abstraction and clever logic and algorithms make the real coding faster than time-consuming no-coding.

    Most can probably be done with no-coding but it's not fun and often a pain in the ass. :-)

    1. 2

      Thank you for sharing this. I am surprised how well you described the problems I'm trying to solve with my new SaaS Flowoid. The platform can be used to create powerful workflow automations with custom logic, addressing the limitations with most NoCode tools. For instance you can connect any operation of any AWS service with your NoCode tools in order to build anything you need without having to code it and maintain it.

      1. 1

        Ah, yes, have been struggling with no-code for a long time!

        I just tried your SaaS and the wizards make it really easy to add tokens and such.

  2. 2

    The first things that come to mind are:

    • limited functionality - have to work within the confines of the no-code platform
    • issues with data safety - since most platforms hide the underlying code that runs them, it can sometimes be hard to audit and ensure security in your app

    Edit: A colleague of mine also outlined more pros and cons of no-code in this article if you're interested: https://lido.app/post/what-is-no-code

  3. 2

    Downside for me, it's the cost.

    If your revenue is low and you need to pay a couple of subscriptions per month it will eat any margins... I would say that coding and hosting might be cheaper sometimes.

    I think Outseta for example is doing something insteresting about it.

    1. 1

      Outseta's value prop is awesome, agreed 😁

  4. 2

    My AppGyver notes also discuss some learning and functionality issues common to other no-code app builders.

    1. 1

      Thanks this is quite insightful. Particularly:

      If a single link is missing from the toolbox, it's a showstopper and the app can't be completed without coding. Or at all.

      1. 2

        Indeed, a single missing feature is a showstopper and can kill a project.

  5. 2

    My biggest problem is that I’ll get excited about a new no-code tool and only think up product ideas within the confines of that tool. I have to be careful to not limit the potential of what a product/service can be by trying to fit ideas only within one tool.

    1. 1

      I can see that yes. 🤔 Would you say it’s a lack of documentation/tutorials/examples or was there a time when you reluctantly passed up on an idea because of a fundamental limitation?

  6. 2

    I saw you post Chrome Extensions aren't straight forward @felix12777. Did you try to make something around it? 🙂

    1. 2

      I come across Extendo and Include AI. They’re pretty close to what I look for. Still in beta process :)

      1. 1

        Interesting thanks! Having made Chrome Extensions before, I can't say it's easy, can take weeks 😅

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