No-code explained for beginners incl. basics

From zero to no-code: A journey through the world of application development without programming skills

The first part of my journey into the no-code world. Find out how I took my first steps without in-depth programming knowledge and why no-code wasn’t just created for technology experts. Discover the origins of this revolution and understand why no-code is a democratic shift in software development.

In the following multi-part article, I would like to take you on my no-code journey and show you how I approached the topic and gained my first experiences. Although I have an affinity for technology, my programming skills are limited. This article is therefore aimed at people without much prior technical knowledge or in-depth programming skills – no-code was created precisely for this target group.

Where does no-code development come from?

In recent years, no-code development has fundamentally changed the way we create software and develop automated processes. To understand what no-code is and how it works, let’s take a look at the beginnings of this exciting trend.

The roots of the no-code movement can be found in the challenges of traditional software development. In the past, creating software applications was a complex process that required the collaboration of programmers. This often led to high costs, long development times and the need for programming skills. People who had great ideas but no extensive programming knowledge were unable to implement their ideas without the help of a programmer. This was a barrier to innovation.

To address this problem, technology companies and developers began looking for ways to democratize the development process in the 2010s. The idea was to create tools and platforms that would allow non-programmers to create software and automate processes. This led to the emergence of no-code platforms, which developed rapidly and have now become an important resource for companies, start-ups and individual creatives.

But what exactly does no-code mean?

For the uninitiated, this term may seem confusing at first glance, but it’s actually quite simple to understand. No-code refers to a type of software development where you can create applications without writing traditional code. “No-code” is a term for a technology or platform that allows people to create software applications or websites without the ability or need to code. Instead of diving into complicated programming languages, you can use no-code platforms to create visually designed apps that are tailored to your needs. Instead of using effective code, visual elements and pre-built components are used to create applications. You can think of it a bit like a building block or Lego system where pre-built elements already exist, so building a playhouse becomes much easier.

A very simple example of a no-code application is a form generator. With such a generator, users can create a form without any programming knowledge by simply creating the desired fields and inputs and building the question tree (logic). Other examples are website builders or e-commerce platforms that enable companies to create their own online stores without programming knowledge. These are just a few simple examples of the use of no-code applications. No-code platforms can now also be used to create complex applications such as accounting, CRM or marketing solutions.

No-code platforms are suitable for a wide range of applications. For example, they are used by companies to develop internal applications, by educational institutions to create learning materials and by individuals to realize personal projects.

So what is low code?

Low-code platforms offer more flexibility and customization options than no-code platforms. The main difference between no-code and low-code is the need to write code. No-code applications require no programming knowledge, while low-code applications usually require some basic programming knowledge. They allow developers to write code to extend the functionality of their applications.

To stick with the analogy above: In addition to the pre-built building blocks, low-code allows building blocks to be customized or even new building blocks to be created to build more complex houses. In many platforms, the transition is seamless and writing your own code is often allowed to a certain extent. This can be particularly useful, for example, if the new software is to be used with existing infrastructure and an API needs to be added to enable data exchange.

Do I need any prior knowledge?

No, as a rule you do not need extensive prior knowledge to use no-code platforms. This is one of the main advantages of this technology. No-code platforms have been developed and are designed to be used by people without specific technical knowledge. No code needs to be written; rather, it works with drag-and-drop. Elements can be added and arranged at the click of a mouse.

As a result, no-code democratizes software development. With no-code, software development is no longer reserved for developers, but is accessible to anyone who has an idea and wants to turn it into reality.

In the next part, I will explain why no-code is interesting for companies.

Yves Gogniat ist Experte für Informations- und Technologierecht mit den Schwerpunkten Datenschutz und IT-, Vertrags- und Gesellschaftsrecht. Er verfügt über ein breites Wissen in den Bereichen Blockchain-Technologie, Krypto-Währungen und hat seine Erfahrungen in verschiedenen Kanzleien sowie in der öffentlichen Verwaltung gesammelt.

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