Low Code block diagram showing directional flow

What is NoCode?

NoCode is a term used to describe the manner in which non-programmers can assemble targeted blocks of hidden Code to perform the same tasks that a programmer would use, without having to understand how the underlying programming Code is written. Everything that can change in these blocks is available in a form attached to each block. All you do is customize the parameters inside the form: this sets the conditions under which the block executes.

LowCode is another closely-related term which builds on the principles of NoCode but adds back in the ability to write Javascript in limited places according to the vendor's design.

LowCode occupies the gap between NoCode and traditional software developed (Coded) apps, but does not fill the gap.

Both NoCode and LowCode require planning so that the constraints that such systems place on you do not paint you into a corner from which you cannot continue.

NoCode First

I've been writing software for clients for a very long time. One of the things that always nagged at me was that most of the Code I write is infrastructure and not visible to the client. Only a small percentage of the Code is business logic and UI/UX. It's like building a pyramid for cloud-dwellers: all of your early activities are building out the base so that your application rises stably into visibiity. The things the client will see have to wait until the infrastructure is built.

Interactive Figma mockups are nice, but they are not the final product and somehow they leave clients antsy: "why can't I see the app you've built so far?"

When NoCode was introduced to me in early 2021, I saw a chance to remedy this: I could put together the base of an app from pre-tested building blocks - and quickly. In almost no time I was building out the UI and the UX as well! I got to involve my client very quickly indeed!

Wham! I was hooked!

It took some time to find the best combination of tools for the client side of apps and longer still to fill the server side. Not all tools are created equal, and when you develop solutions for clients, you don't have the luxury of not delivering a feature. So, I had to be very careful indeed.

It took me the rest of 2021, but I now have a set of tools (and backup tools as well!) for all the web apps, and mobile apps client needs I have come across in the last 7-10 years.

That is why I am confident that, for new projects, I will ALWAYS suggest we begin development with NoCode tools: thus NoCode-First.

If for any reason we need to switch to a different LowCode tool, or even switch to a fully Coded app instead of a LowCode one, then I can do that as well (see below).

Stack, Tools

Many NoCode tools operate on more than one of the layers of typical Coded apps: (i.e. front-end browser, business layer, and back-end database). I prefer to pick from each tool just those pieces that best suit the project at hand.

I use Bildr and AppGyver for front-end, Node-red and XANO for middle layer. and AirTable, MongoDB and PostgreSQL

But the NoCode area is a rapidly developing space with more that 500 tools! And so I keep an eye on this evolving group and when time allows, I investigate their utility for specific projects.

Software stack, tools I use

Have a project in mind?

- a challenge that custom software might fix?

- an opportunity that custom software might make bloom?

- a SaaS idea that NoCode would work splendidly for?

  • Send me a DM on Twitter @frasergorrie
  • Send me an email

Converting to NoCode


Here are a few reasons you might think about converting your already-Coded application into a NoCode application:

  • you have a legacy system that you'd like to convert, then add more features to
  • you commissioned your current internal site but the developer/language is no longer available to be changed
  • your current site is open source, and you've taken it as far as you can via requests for changes, but you really need it to do more, in your very particular way, and right now

If you have the source Code, I can re-develop your app in a LowCode tool (or likely in a combination of NoCode tools). When I am done, you will be able to take over the site yourself, if you are willing.

If you don't have the source code, then we'll work together to investigate and infer what is actually happening in the current app. Then I'll put together the same functionality with NoCode tools (as close as we can).

Converting to Code


You have already developed (or had developed) a NoCode app and it has started to get a lot of success/traction.

To prepare for its upcoming success and the traffic it will generate, you will need to identify whether the NoCode in itself will cause bottlenecks, lags and server costs that will prevent it from efficiently (and profitably) scaling to thousands or more users.

At this point, it's a good idea to review your tools and your infrastructure and determine if you need to take your lessons learned and rewrite the app in traditional Code.

I can help you with the analysis of whether your NoCode app would benefit from a conversion to Code. I can also write the full app in Code, with all the optimizations you need to scale your app to handle a very large user base.

Converting between NoCode Tools


One of the real tragedies, in my opinion, is deciding upon a NoCode tool, spending weeks making your new app look and work exactly the way you want, only to find that some needed aspect simply cannot be done with this NoCode tool. You're stopped completely.

At this point you only have a few choices: 1) make do with the inability to add that feature, 2) start over in another tool and hope it doesn't have any blocks, or 3) have someone like me redevelop your app in a NoCode tool that will do the full set of features, and then pass it back to you to continue.

If you are in this situation, please get in touch and maybe we can see a path ahead that will make sense to you. You have already done a great deal of UI work. We can use that.

I have tried a few (by no means many as ther are hundreds on NoCode tools around) and being a senior Coder, I have investigated each with the eye of what each tool can't do, rather than what each tool can do. I may have assessed a tool you are interested in, either in my blog or in the newsletter. Please get in touch if you'd like to know more.

How I Work

Whether I am developing a fully-coded app or a NoCode / LowCode app, I work very closely with you to set our goals. But one thing we are going to discuss very early in the process is my approach of NoCode-First. I explain a little more here.

... more on how I work

There's a newsletter ...

... there always is, sigh

I occasionally write a newsletter with insights into Coding and NoCoding, including tool reviews, and case studies. No filler. That's why it's occasional. Sign up here logo