No Code Platforms: Worth it?

No Code solutions have come a long way in the past few years. But there is still a lot to consider before committing to one of these solutions.

Pros

No Code platforms allow business development, operations, and product managers to build product directly. Most don’t require any software or coding experience at all. They grant functionality to your app that has been built by the platform in a generic enough way that it can be customized to your app. Things like checking out / buying products, marketplaces, map searches, data acquisition and visualization, simple workflows, collecting emails, integration with google drive and cloud services, among other new features still being built. This allows you to move quickly to get something out and test the waters of your value proposition. It also keeps cost down, since you, the CEO or a product designer can do the work, and not a higher cost engineer. 

Cons

There are a number of significant cons, however. Firstly, the thing that makes your company valuable is its technical defensibility. The very thing that makes it hard to do it what keeps you in business. If Bing could recreate Google’s quality, Google wouldn’t be a trillion dollar company. They’ve spent decades building technical defensibility. And you need to start now. The second biggest downside, is after your first two features, you will get to a place where you must ask the question, “what can I build”, not “what should I build”. When you get there, you’ve lost. You need to solve a business need for customers, and you don’t want to be a technical solution looking for a problem. You need to be a solution to an identified problem. A turing complete language can do anything not limited by the laws of physics. A no code platform is limited by what’s available today. And it may not be available tomorrow — if the platform you’ve chosen goes out of favor, features can be deprecated or the whole platform may be shut down. You have little control over your system. Thirdly, the no code solution is almost always a 100% throw away when more advanced features need to come into play. You don’t get access to the underlying code that could be modified by a capable developer, you have to start from scratch. Attack surface is also increased and out of your control, producing more security threats. 

Conclusion

In my experience, it is not worth building a first version on a no code platform. If it’s that easy to do, your competitors can come after you. But here are a few resources to check out if you’re looking to see if some features fit your MVP. Bubble, Airtable, AppSheet, Wix, and here’s a Dev Shop that specializes in no code development MVP Dev. Reach out here, if you want to build a technically defensible MVP from the start that is nimble enough to test the market quickly.