Low-code and no-code tools are a way to visually approach software development without the need to rely on lines of custom code. They are a way to automate and simplify steps in the app-building process and help to accelerate the delivery of applications to the market.
Just as Canva made graphic design easier and simpler for anyone to pick up, low-code and no-code tools open the door to app development. With these tools, app and website development are not just for software engineers. They are increasingly a collaborative tool used across organizations thanks to greater accessibility and usability.
To talk more about the future of low-no-code tools, Vikas Bhagat, Director and Head of Product Marketing at Webflow, and Netguru’s: Jacek Pietsch, No-code Practice Expert, and Marcin Rzymek, Product Designer and Webflow Expert, joined us for this live stream discussion.
Filip Sobiecki: What is low-code/no-code?
Jacek Pietsch: In general, low-code or no-code allows you to build mobile and web applications without writing code or with very minimal code. Some tools fall in the middle, like Webflow, which calls itself no-code but still has some custom code capabilities.
The no-code movement opens the opportunity for many different people to access and build web and mobile apps.
We’re seeing entire companies investing in no-code and low-code tools, which decentralizes who within an organization can build these solutions.
Vikas, what are people expecting from no-code tools today?
Vikas Bhagat: What we’re seeing from a lot of our users today is that they’re expecting even more superpowers and the ability to build more complex, and differentiated experiences with no-code tools.
One of the biggest trends that we’re seeing is that organizations want collaborative workflows. It’s not just about a single designer using Webflow. They’re working with teammates on the development side and on the marketing team as well.
What do you predict will happen in the competitive world of no-code and low-code tools?
Vikas Bhagat: The competitive market is accelerating. We’re seeing no-code landing page creation tools every day and new companies getting funded all the time. There’s always going to be a need for custom code, but many organizations prefer a faster speed-to-market approach, and one of the most efficient ways to do that is through no-code tools.
Five years from now, the predominant way that people are going to build landing pages, more complex websites is going to be through no-code tools.
With more competition, this is a good thing for the end-user because we’ll see better product development.
Do you think anyone could pick up a tool like Webflow and build a landing page?
Marcin Rzymek: For some people, that learning process is really short, especially when you see everything visually rather than learning lines of code. Take me as an example, I’m a product designer. When I saw code some time ago, I thought "no, that’s not for me". But I learned reallly quickly and now I’m building websites in Webflow easily.
Vikas Bhagat: I started learning code back in college but never really stuck with it. I got introduced to Webflow over a year ago, and it made much more sense because you can see everything visually.
What do you need to start building with low-code tools?
Marcin Rzymek: You need to have some basic knowledge about how to write code and the syntax of the code. For example, you should know that CSS is responsible for styling and how those elements are connected with each other.
If you go with the flow and don’t learn these things, you’ll be able to build some things, but it’ll be challenging to add new pages or additional functionality without messing things up.
Webflow is great for start-ups and individuals, but is Webflow for enterprise a thing?
Vikas Bhagat: We’ve seen an evolution of Webflow over the past couple of years and a huge increase in enterprise adoption of it.
Enterprise organizations are opening their doors to the value of speedier development. Getting a product to market faster is really important to remain competitive.
Jacek Pietsch: With no-code tools or low-code tools, you can implement any type of business logic you want. As a last resort, you can use custom code if you hit the wall with low-code or no-code. It's much more powerful than many companies realize.
Can you shine some light on what Webflow University is for?
Vikas Bhagat: When I joined Webflow about a year ago, I had no idea how strong the community around it was. The Webflow University team is really focused on creating educational content to help people learn the basics of building in Webflow and also more advanced lessons around building for the web.
The team has a close partnership with me on the product marketing side so when we release a new feature, we’ll create educational tutorials and documentation for it to help the community.
If Webflow and other no-code tools are so good, does it mean that software engineers are going to be replaced?
Marcin Rzymek: No-code tools aren’t building the logic itself, they’re only the tool. You can learn the tools, but if you don’t appreciate the principles of software development, it can all go wrong. Software engineers and web developers can provide the core logic that you need.
No-code and low-code will bring a different set of challenges to professional programmers and will help them focus on more creative work and other responsibilities instead.
Vikas Bhagat: This idea of decentralizing the workload within large organizations is happening naturally across companies of all sizes. The reason for that is that we're seeing a much bigger emphasis on business activity and getting products and features to market faster for more business acceleration.
Are there any disadvantages to using low or no-code tools?
Vikas Bhagat: You're investing in a tool, so if you don't take into consideration how the team is structured, who's working on what, what collaboration looks like between your internal stakeholders or even the experts that you work with, that can lead to a lot of challenges.
Whenever you're investing in a no-code or low code tool, you need to think about things like compliance scalability and performance. One of the things we see is that the market’s growing so quickly but not all of these tools are what I call enterprise-grade. They're ready to go, but they still need to have compliance and data protection in mind as well.
Any closing thoughts?
Vikas Bhagat: I would encourage everyone to check out Webflow University. We launch new educational videos almost daily, so if you want a deeper dive into no-code and low-code, and what we have planned on our roadmap, you can learn more there.