No-code app builders: What you need to know

Consider this a primer on using a no-code app builder to create professional apps of all kinds: What it is, how it compares to other solutions, and if it’s right for your business.

What is a no-code app builder?

A no-code app builder is as straightforward as the name implies—it’s development software that allows users to create apps without needing to know how to write code. Originally crafted for teammates without coding experience, this type of development helps anyone create fully functional apps via a simple visual editor.

How does no-code development work?

It’s almost as simple as taking pen to paper and drawing exactly how an application or webpage should look.

With a no-code app builders’ declarative interface, you can drag and drop pre-coded elements exactly where you want them and the code follows suit. It’s not that code isn’t there—it’s that the elements have already been built behind the scenes, and you’re just telling them where to go. With a combination of cloud-based spreadsheets like Excel, Google Sheets, or Airtable housing your data and an idea of how you want to display that information, it’s surprisingly simple. You’ll be deploying apps in no time.

Benefits of using a no-code app builder

The low barrier to entry is just one of the many enticing things about turning to no-code app development. Here are some other upsides when you build apps without coding:

  • Faster innovation. Imagine how quickly you could hit growing targets, expand to new markets, or finish the massive project by giving any teammate the ability to take control and build the apps they need to get the work done.
  • Reduced cost. Traditional application programming is expensive, including custom builds and the time it takes professional developers to hammer them out.
  • Stronger collaboration. Instead of technical and non-technical departments working in silos, no-code app development brings disjointed teams together and lays the groundwork for common goals and language.
  • Growing capabilities. Businesses in every industry are looking for ways to stay agile and build quickly. And no-code app builders can help you keep up. Not only are no-code app builders fast to implement, but they’re also growing in resources and capabilities by the day. This means that, over time, no-code app builders will be capable of even more than they are today.
  • Increased ROI. When teammates are given new tools that allow them to expand their contribution to the organization, they collectively make more impact. Duplicate this over time—teammates making more impact with less input and time—and you’ll see meaningful results.

What kinds of apps can no-code software build?

If you’re wondering if this is the part where there’s a catch, there’s not. No-code app builders can build a variety of applications spanning every industry.

No-code mobile apps

With the world on the go, mobile applications are more important than ever. No-code software gives builders the tools to create professional mobile applications that meet your customers wherever they are.

No-code web apps

Non-technical developers can use no-code software to easily create dynamic websites, landing pages, forms, and other customer-facing web-based applications.

No-code internal business apps

Sometimes the most powerful applications you make are ones that help your teams get their work done. Whether it’s an app for data organization, technical support, or sales funnels, no-code software equips your teammates with the tools they need to be successful.

No-code application development vs. low-code application development

Low-code development is similar to no-code development, but slightly more involved. It has the same drag-and-drop, “what you see is what you get” builder but requires someone with at least a basic understanding of code to finish the building and deploying process.

While both methods give more people tools to create applications, there are some differences to keep in mind when choosing which one is right for you.

No-code app development

  • Built for everyone. Create apps with no coding. Users need no prior coding experience to build and deploy apps.
  • Less customization than low-code. Since no-code development tools use prebuilt blocks, users cannot input unique code, connect to custom data sources or create integrations with other systems. This limits the users’ ability to fully customize blocks or make specific edits or tweaks.
  • Launches apps faster than low-code. No-code development is both quicker and simpler than traditional and low-code development. In addition, no-code apps usually don’t need review from various stakeholders, such as your security team, in order to launch.
  • Cheaper than traditional programming and low-code options. Because of affordable software and no additional development costs, it’s one of the lowest cost options available.

Low-code app development

  • Built for most people. Because of its expanded functionality and capabilities, low-code builders with basic coding knowledge and affinity, as well as trained developers can use the low-code app development platforms to build solutions.
  • More customization than no-code. Low-code outshines no-code when it comes to more complex cases and trickier builds, as it allows for unique code input and even enables more skilled developers to do the work using traditional coding.
  • Launches apps slower than no-code. Although far quicker than traditional, code-first programming, low-code development takes slightly longer than no-code because it may require a more seasoned programmer to customize or complete the final product.
  • Cheaper than traditional programming, slightly more expensive than no-code. Because of its increased capabilities, low-code software tends to cost slightly more than no-code, in addition to taking more team hours to get an app off the ground.

Choosing a no-code platform vs. low-code app platform

No-code and low-code app builders are both strong options and will help you innovate faster and at a lower cost than traditional programming would. But there’s an easy way to help you decide which one to go with:

  • Choose a no-code platform if you have limited resources and need to build simple applications as quickly as possible and if you’re content with functional limitations of no-code.
  • Choose a low-code platform if your applications are simple in nature but have complexities that might require work from additional developers, or if you want to accelerate both professional developers and business users.

Build apps with low-code using Microsoft Power Apps

Empower teammates with all levels of experience to create the high-productivity apps your business needs with a rich set of tools.

Frequently asked questions

Can you build apps without coding?

Yes, a no-code platform makes it possible to build apps without coding. No-code app builders use prebuilt blocks and a declarative interface to make app building simple. Just drag and drop the prebuilt blocks into place to build mobile, web, and internal business apps. With no-code development platforms, even people without any coding experience can build simple apps quickly, easily, and more affordably than they could using traditional coding methods.

What are examples of no-code apps?

A no-code app is any app that’s built without traditional coding by a developer, whether it’s a mobile app, web app, or a simple internal business app. Some examples of no-code apps that are in use by businesses today include apps for onboarding employees, tracking production, automating workflows, and engaging event attendees. Since no-code apps are simple and easy to build, businesses often use many no-code apps at once and each one solves a single problem.

What is the disadvantage of a no-code app builder?

The primary disadvantage of a no-code app builder is that you’re usually limited to whatever prebuilt blocks and features are included in the platform, so customization is limited. Also, most no-code apps are narrow in focus and solve just one business challenge. That means you may have to build more apps using no-code techniques rather than one robust, traditionally or low-code built app that could solve a few problems at a time. Since all no-code apps are built on platforms, your experience depends completely upon the organization that built the platform, and any changes could negatively impact your apps or process.

Is no-code going to replace developers?

No-code tools have become both useful and popular, but they won’t replace developers. No-code apps are built using templated components and thus have limited customization options. Any organization that needs or wants complex apps will need developers to build them using custom code. Introducing a no-code development platform to your business makes it faster and easier to build and deploy apps across the business, freeing up developers’ time for more complex work.