No-code app builders: What you need to know

Consider this a crash course in 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 actually 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 when you’ve taken pen to paper and drawn out exactly what you wanted a webpage to have—“An image goes here, a video would go there, a form should be inserted below…”.

With a no-code app builders’ declarative interface, you’re drag-and-dropping pre-coded elements exactly where you want them, and the code follows suit. It’s not that coding isn’t happening—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. Some estimates say that no-code app builders can reduce the cost by up to 74 percent.

  • 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, they’re 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 in less time. 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 a method similar to no-code, 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. Users need no prior coding experience to build and deploy apps.

  • Less customization than low-code. Since no-code development tools use pre-built blocks, users cannot input unique code. 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 quicker in nature since it doesn’t require handoff in the build phase, but their simplicity also means they don’t tend to 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 often need trained developers to customize options and finish the work.

  • More customization than no-code. Low-code outshines no-code when it comes to special-use cases and trickier builds, as it allows for unique code input and has more skilled developers doing the work.

  • Launches apps slower than no-code. Although far quicker than traditional, fully custom programming, low-code development takes slightly longer than no-code because it requires a more seasoned programmer to complete the job.

  • Cheaper than traditional programming, slightly more 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 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 but powerful applications as quickly as possible.

  • Choose a low-code platform if your applications are simple in nature but have complexities that might require work from additional developers.

Build apps without coding 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.