No-code development has been instrumental in helping non-technical small business owners build technology and software. No-code tools have enabled the average citizen to build mobile apps, websites, and systems, without having to write a single line of code.
But what about software developers? Or those that do know how to code? Is no-code software building irrelevant for them?
Some may think so, but we've a story that proves otherwise. We hope it provides a valuable perspective on using no-code tools regardless of your level of programming skills.
Hi, I’m Arnaud! I’m a full-time creative service manager for a footwear brand based in France.
My job involves a lot of graphic design execution, planning, brand strategy, and asset creation with agencies.
A crucial aspect of my job is providing marketing assets for clients based all over the globe to promote their products. This doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a huge task that requires a lot of updates, uploading tons of files, and making sure it’s easy enough to find them.
When I first joined the company, I implemented a few systems. I quickly created a simple WordPress platform to display all those assets, along with a Dropbox folder, but it was still a bit of a messy browsing experience. Keeping content up to date manually became time-consuming. We also didn't have — but wanted — a dedicated search field to browse assets by name.
Getting the hang of coding
At that time, in 2019, I knew nothing about no-code, despite the availability of tools like Bubble and Retool.
My New Year's resolution was to learn how to code. I wanted my first project to be a digital asset management platform that would automatically aggregate all marketing assets shared on Dropbox.
Fast forward to today, and I now have 15 years of graphic design experience, and I can code full stack.
Speaking of my own projects, I launched an online service named Crea.Guide.
It’s a subscription-based graphic design service, giving clients unlimited monthly graphic design and web development for a much lower price compared to freelancers or agencies.
From a technical point of view, it's been quite straightforward to start a service like this. I created a landing page, added Stripe to take payments, and a contact link that redirects to Calendly. To communicate projects and deliverables with my customers, I simply use a shared Trello board. I also recommend Loom to any clients who want to send a brief via video.
Some of the bigger players in the design-on-demand space have their own custom-built platforms. But I don't need it; I have a collection of tools that do the job perfectly. Plus it would take forever to build a platform from scratch!
Initially trying to build things from scratch
Everyone raves about Webflow and says you're at a huge advantage if you already know CSS. I also wanted to offer Webflow website development as a service, as it's growing in demand.
So I tried using Webflow — twice! — but I just couldn't get into it! I threw everything away after just 5 minutes and started coding from scratch.
I guess as a developer, it was hard to imagine spending $12/month for Webflow and $12/month for Weglot (since I need French and English), for something I could create and host for free!
I also felt it would be a waste of all those long hours spent learning front-end development to just end up using a no-code tool. What If I started to forget those skills while using no-code?
So I built my landing page manually, but was dissatisfied with the design.
I spent many days working on it, only to realize I needed to change everything because it was not attractive enough, and, needless to say –– for a design service, the design must be great!
So I crafted a new design from scratch on Figma, but I didn’t have the time to code it all from scratch, nor did I have the motivation to do so.
For a final time, I forced myself to try Webflow.
I needed to learn how to use Webflow first!
I watched a quick YouTube tutorial before diving in, to help me grasp the concept. This was a great idea. I didn't cut and run this time!
After a few hours integrating my design I was astonished at how far I got compared to the progress I would have made coding it by hand.
Then came the need for translation. I tried Weglot and it automatically translated my whole website, with barely any need for correction. It was so easy. There are so many tutorials online too, so it's virtually impossible to get stuck with this tool.
I’m truly amazed by how much time I ultimately saved with Webflow. Paying $24/month for 2 tools was actually totally worth every penny!
Uncovering a love for no-code tools
This experience has made me want to try other no-code tools to make MVPs for other side projects.
I’m already planning to test Bubble for an idea I’ve been sitting on for a while. The app idea would be simple in its usage, but will require lot of testing to get the UX right. No-code would be perfect place to build, do, and undo — while keeping my mental health intact!
One final note to other developers who are scared of losing their time and money with no-code tools: stop being stubborn like me and just start using them. At the very least, use them for simple projects, MVPs, and landing pages.
It won't devalue the programming skills you've worked hard to learn. Nobody will judge you for being a developer who uses no-code! It's not cheating; it’s spending your time where it matters the most.
Visit my page https://crea.guide and follow me on Twitter @arnauddsj!