The rise of no code platforms (or no code solutions)
The rise of no code platforms is about to change the face of ecommerce.
By using drag and drop interfaces, no code solutions are helping online merchants, who otherwise lack coding skills, build and customize their own ecommerce stores.
Leading no code platforms such as Shopify, Squarespace, WordPress, Weebly, and Wix have made it possible for merchants to create their own online stores without writing a single line of code. This has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs who previously had little choice but to rely on expensive developers.
But while they have already made a lot of waves in the ecommerce industry, no code solutions are still in their infancy, and there is plenty of room for them to grow. They will play an even greater role in the future as they help more merchants create custom stores with ease.
In the last year or so, there has been a rise in the number of coding platforms that have become available to non-coders. In particular, drag and drop style tools like Justinmind have risen in popularity as they make it possible for anyone to create a fully functioning prototype without learning how to code.
Facebook’s Paper and Medium’s tool are two such examples of “no code” platforms. Both allow users to drag and drop their way through the process of creating an app from scratch.
So why would you want to consider using a “no code” platform? There are many reasons for this, including:
Drag-and-drop allows you to skip the learning curve
If you are not a developer but want to be involved in the process of creating an app, then using a drag-and-drop style platform will allow you to skip the steep learning curve that is often associated with coding. If you can use Microsoft Word, you can use a “no code” platform.
With no code platforms, you don’t need to write server-side code to create an app. You simply use tools provided by the platform to build your app with a drag-and-drop interface.
In exchange for giving up some control, you get benefits like:
Your app is online 24/7, which means you can use it immediately after building it. You don’t have to wait for your local machine to be available or worry about setting up an internet connection.
Your app scales automatically as additional users come online, instead of you having to purchase expensive server capacity upfront. If nobody’s using your app, you don’t pay for extra capacity that sits idle.
It is easy – If you have ever tried designing an app or website before, you will know that it can be painful if things don’t go right the first time around.
Most no code web development platforms are based on software called a “platform as a service” (or PaaS). This is software that does most of the heavy lifting for you, so you don’t have to write any programs yourself. They work by providing templates that give you drag-and-drop features for creating different types of sites or app – things like ecommerce sites or blogs. You can get started quickly and easily without knowing any programming.
Why would you want to do this?
No code platforms are great if you’re not that experienced coding and want to launch something quickly. They’re also really useful when you’re not sure what exactly your site should look like and how it should work – maybe you just have an idea for something but not much else. Betty Blocks is a great example of this kind of platform. You can simply drag and drop elements from the app’s interface in order to create a fully-functional ecommerce site. Taken collectively, these tools have been called “no-code platforms” (NCP), as they empower users who are not programmers to make changes to existing software or create new systems without having to write a single line of code.
This trend has caught the attention of major players in the tech sector, including Uber, GE, and Comcast. A recent report from CB Insights predicts that NCP companies will receive more than $500 million in funding over the next year, tripling 2015 investment levels.
Squarespace vs. Wix
The most important question is whether you have the time and patience to learn new skills—because both Squarespace and Wix require coding knowledge, albeit at differing levels of difficulty. With Squarespace, it’s not necessary to know HTML or CSS, but it helps if you have some familiarity with web design programs such as Dreamweaver or PowerPoint.
While it’s unlikely that this new wave of platforms will replace entire IT departments, their growing popularity means that developers need to look to the future for a viable source of non-developer tasks. These platforms are only getting more powerful, and it’s likely that there is plenty of room for improvement in the coming years and thus more business value for larger companies. As more businesses take notice of these platforms’ potential, it’s possible that these “no code” platforms could even surpass mainstream application development further down the line.