How did you stumble upon no-code?

In a way, I stumbled upon no-code a long time ago—through WordPress. Then Squarespace and Wix. And then Shopify. But I never thought of them as no-code tools, per se. They were just tools that allowed me to build what I set out to build. And I think that's the core essence of no-code: Democratizing building, and allowing non-traditional developers to build what they want.

Did you have any coding knowledge/experience before learning about no-code?

When I first discovered WordPress, no. But I did learn to code in college. As an Informatics & Computing major, I took a high level intro class where I learned the basics of Python, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and SQL. Later on in my major is when I got really good with Python and SQL, eventually building apps and writing scripts. I even used Bootstrap to build an end-to-end CRM for a real estate company.

I never formally learned HTML/CSS, only Python and SQL. The expectation was that if you knew Python, by default you knew HTML/CSS. Which makes sense, but I had already also had a little bit of experience in elementary school as I tried developing some websites from scratch using Dreamweaver. I couldn't tell you every single HTML tag that exists right off the top of my head, but it was reasonably familiar to the point where it was just sort of coming back to me on the go.

What is your no-code tool stack?

I don't have a specific "stack" per se, but I use/have used the following (in no particular order):

  • Shopify
  • Glide
  • Zapier
  • Airtable
  • Adalo
  • Typeform
  • JotForm
  • WordPress
  • Webflow
  • Squarespace

I've also used Bubble, but have never gotten too far with it.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I'm sure there are also a few tools that are considered no-code (or even low-code), but generally speaking, these are some of the ones that come to mind when discussing no-code.

WordPress homepage.
WordPress remains one of the first (and perhaps the longest-standing) no-code CMS system thanks to its open source nature.

I'm looking to do a deeper dive into Bubble, as well as explore Integromat and Parabola which I've yet to play around with. I've toyed around with Fliplet, Boundless, and AppSpotr. And I'm looking forward to getting into the playground with Draftbit.

What product are you most proud of having built?

I'd probably say Tee Tweets. It's the culmination of a lot of hard work with zero prior experience. Building it from scratch has been one of the most difficult, yet satisfying things I've ever done. The website, the physical product, the marketing, have all been huge points of growth for me.

Tee Tweets homepage.
I launched Tee Tweets with zero prior experience in anything.

Also have to give credit to The TXT Hub (which I'm actually selling) to accelerate my learning. I was part of a no-code community that had a no-code contest, so I thought it'd be a great opportunity to jump in head first and try to build something with tools I had never used before. That's exactly what I did, and it ended up winning the competition along with a lifetime pro membership to Makerpad.

What has been your biggest challenge so far with no-code?

Becoming an expert in absolutely everything. With so many tools available now, I find myself hopping into a ton of different ones and being a  jack-of-all-trades in all of them as opposed to specializing in just one or two. I do have more proficient knowledge in some over the others, but in general, I know what I'm doing pretty well across most of them.

What is currently missing or could be improved in the community?

This is a pretty loaded question. I don't know if there's anything really "missing" per se, but something I think could be improved is collaboration. Given how quickly things are heating up in the no-code space, there are quite a few people doing some of the same things. Don't get me wrong, competition is great in the long run. But I think that some communities would greatly benefit from collaborating/merging as opposed to having so many fragmented communities.

I think there are some tools out there that are also stepping on other tools' toes, so I'm guessing there will be some talks of mergers or acquisitions at some point. I think eventually it's inevitable, at least once it makes sense from a synergy standpoint.

How do you want to see the no-code movement develop in the next few years?

Related to the question above—I'm hoping to see an increase in synergy and collaboration. Rather than having dispersed communities, I'd love to see a little more cohesiveness start to form. Inevitably, we'll get communities within the community (i.e. those who specialize in only one or two no-code platforms, as opposed to a lot), but decentralizing the mediums upon which we communicate would be sweet.

Another thing I think we should try to build out is standardization and having open source protocols to prevent vendor lock-in. This is something that's been mentioned briefly already, and it'll be increasingly important as the no-code tools we use to build scale.

Switching costs already can be quite high, so making sure that we have integrations and finding other ways to decrease switching costs will be integral to no code's mission to democratize building. Everyone benefits from this.

Any advice for upcoming no-code makers?

Jump in. It's the best way to learn. Don't get me wrong—tutorials are great, and courses and alternative resources can be really valuable. But until you actually use the platform, you won't truly understand how to build it.

I'd recommend playing around with a few different tools, even if just for a bit so you can see what's out there. Webflow, for example, is becoming the new standard for building websites. Bubble is virtually limitless in terms of being a web app builder. Adalo will get you published on both app stores simultaneously using a single code base. Zapier, Parabola, and Integromat will help you create workflows as necessary.

The TXT Hub homepage.
The TXT Hub is a product of a no-code competition I participated in where I challenged myself to build something from scratch with tools I had never used.

Messing around with different tools will likely spark some thoughts into what can be built, and what the most optimal tools are for building your next project. When I built The TXT Hub, I built it specifically for a no-code competition. Winning the competition was nice, but ultimately, I built it in order to force myself into learning tools I had never used before, let alone used together. I highly recommend this approach—you'll accelerate your learning by more than you think.

Are you building without code as well? Or are you interested in learning more about no-code, but not sure where to start? Let's connect: