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28 Comments

Why are no-code app builders so hard to use? 😠😭

All of the no-code app builders (eg. Bubble, Webflow) are so difficult to use. Dragging and dropping to create the interface seems easy but I often get stuck on what to do next!
Any suggestions on what I can do to improve?

Do you think Bubble and Webflow are easy to use?
  1. Super easy
  2. A little bit difficult
  3. Very difficult
Vote
  1. 10

    I've played with no-code tools since late 2019. It's not easy. I think the trap I keep falling into is that it's advertised as quick and easy but it's not trivial. One of the problems is that with code, you generally know it's possible and where to look if something is not working .While with no-code, who knows if you're using the correct component or worse if the platform is even capable. It just introduces other questions beyond how to make it work.

    As far as how to improve, you could buy a template and build off their patterns. Other than that, keep trying and building.

    1. 2

      That is why i'm working on https://versoly.com/ anything is possible as you can access the code.

      The code is also exportable and based on open source frameworks so 0 vendor lock in.

      Also working on the no-code UI so anyone can build a world class website without spending weeks doing tutorials.

      1. 1

        Isn't Versoly already no-code?

        1. 2

          Yep but always improving it. So difficult to give flexibility and ease of use.

      2. 1

        Not sure why you're getting downvoted. Versoly looks like a promising product. Love that you highlighted the disastrous performance of most no-code tools.

        1. 2

          Thanks!

          Self-promo maybe haha

          I think there are a ton of problems in the no-code space that is why im working full time on a solution.

          1. 1

            Just got my upvote! :D will check out versoly haha

  2. 5

    No code tools are great until you want to do something even slightly off the standard use-case :(

    1. 1

      I have experienced this too. I ended up getting a no-code coach to help me through it. I meet with him regularly. Otherwise I would just end up confused and frustrated.

  3. 2

    Yes, saying bubble is drag and drop is like saying marriage is about ling walks on the beach. Sometimes it is, but the real work gets done in the data making it sving it updating it and making it show up in the right places with complex logical expressions. I really got bogged down in this. It is a programming language. If your app is going to do something really useful you are going to have some real struggles and very complex workbooks.

  4. 2

    It is not all - Bubble has terrible UX. WebFlow has many possibilities so it must be complicated. But there are easy to use nocode apps: FlutterFlow, Carrd, Adalo

  5. 2

    Totally get you. I think we were all advertised into thinking that we can build ANYTHING super easy with no code tools, only to discover that it's still hard to build for some niche cases. It isn't entirely their fault, but a misalignment in our expectations due to their marketing slogan.

    TBH, I'm not sure this is a solvable problem since no code tools can't imagine every single use case. One adjacent solution might be to seek no code service partner or consultant? You build out 90% of the app on your own, and hire someone to build or guide you for the 10% niche case

  6. 1

    I agree that no-code builders aren’t as easy to use as advertised. I’ve played around with Bubble, Adalo, and Webflow and they all make some things super easy but make other parts very complicated. I think having a general understanding of the language they are deploying the apps in helps but that kind of misses the point of “no-code”.

  7. 1

    A no-code app is tricky to build, especially as a coder. I've made my share of apps, some that were meant to be no-code apps and let me tell you, it's not easy. Sometimes you are constrained to things you can do for "ease-of-use", be it because it might not work on some browsers, or mainly because I chose the "easy" way out, not thinking that someone new and unexperienced might find it tricky to use. I guess my point is a coder might feel like their app is easy to use because he designed it and he has some experience with how things work, but the best way is to let people that don't know anything about it to test its UI and see if its that "easy" to use and understand. Give your thought/review to the developer and he might fix it.

  8. 1

    I often think that reason being even if they are no-code tools, they are mostly used by people who know how to code (read developers). Now as a developer, I want everything to be in control and moldable to however I want. And that's where it gets irritating. We want to do something but can't do because we can't.

  9. 1

    I put "super easy" because I have used them both and learned them.

    On that note, using Webflow will be harder if you don't know how to build a website. There are many keywords that will mean nothing to something without experience. Same goes with Bubble but Bubble has a horrible UX flow

  10. 1

    Those tools are built for designers. There are many details that will be familiar to designers only. If you don't have experience using things like Photoshop, it will be tough.

    You should look for no-code tools built for non-tech and non-designer.

    p/s: That's what I'm trying to achieve at Inverr Builder

  11. 1

    For non-technical people, it's actually easy than trying to code it themselves.

    Most of them including Bubble scale only for a few dozen users (say 100 users) on the starter plans. At that range, you can pretty much tell if an MVP has traction or not. If traction, then you'd move to custom code things yourself, learn code, find a tech partner, or use any money your raised through MVP's to scale further.

    I don't know how Webflow is hard for you. It's not an app builder, just a CMS.

  12. 1

    Instead of all the selling points - Like it's quick to build the product. I feel it's totally bluff. Because when you build the actual product for your startup, you end up spending a good time fixing all the bugs and touch up the product.

    But the good part of No-code Tools is to Not learning the programming language to build anything.

  13. 1

    I am creating a no-code tool using Notion which is https://blogic.so (shameless plug). This solely helps to set up your blogs. I never liked the drag and drop builders, even though you don't have to code, it's still involved in so much decision-making in choosing the right block for the right content. That is why I created blogic.so to help create blogs easily in less than a minute while having Notion comfort.

  14. 1

    I feel the same way sometimes. Been using Webflow for a while now, and some things are still very cumbersome and limiting. No-code tools helps you to do things really fast for 70% of cases, but in the last 30% cases you really struggle with their very custom UI and functional limitations.

    That’s one of the reasons I started learning to code again, to have more flexibility and speed in many cases. This way I have a choice if I want to use some low-code or code tools instead of going only no-code.

    Webflow is great when starting from a template though and if you need a marketing/landing type of page with some dynamic content.

    1. 2

      No-code is great in concept, it's just not there yet. Stringing together a bunch of third-party systems with IFTTT workflows or webhooks to add in functionality gets nasty pretty quick... which is when code actually becomes faster, easier, cheaper, and more reliable.

      Also, have you ever run Lighthouse or GTMetrix on a no-code app? Yikes. Right now no-code is fine for a quick proto, not for production.

    2. 1

      Would a low-code course be something you're interested in?

      So you would start with no-code and learn to code when you needed it (also you wouldn't be learning a platform but actually learning to code).

  15. 1

    What would you do differently and what benchmark would you apply to define easy and hard?

  16. 1

    Because they can't think of infinite number of possibilities of features and product.

  17. 1

    I feel your pain... 😵

    I'm also dipping my toes into the No Code space.

    I think that for a lot of ideas No Code actually translates into 'less code than normal coding' (not as snappy). 🤷‍♀️

    Bit cliche, but when I'm learning a platform, I find that learning by building something I'm super into (e.g., a website for checking carbon emissions ) is a great way to get semi-competent.

    It's slow progress and frustrating at the start... and it involves a lot of Googling... but if you stick at it, you'll be surprised what you can make 🤞

    1. 1

      Do you have ideas on what could make them better/easier to use?

      I'd love to make no code easier for non-developers. I'm a software engineer, but I work a lot with founders in the no-code space integrating Stripe/Plaid into their applications.

      1. 1

        One thing that would definitely help is better documentation and examples of coding on top of these no code tools.

        For Bubble in particular, I get really frustrated by the lack of documentation/videos for how to do things.

        Postman is a company that does a great job at creating resources to on-board users with quite code-y stuff (check out their YouTube). 📮🎉

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