Looking to dive into the world of no-code but don’t know where to begin? We get it
No-code (and low-code) is a new software trend, spanning from website-builders, application-designers, databases, and more. But what's all the hype about?
What is a no-code platform?
A no-code platform is any software that allows users to create software through a graphical user interface, without the need to write any programming.
No-code platforms vary slightly depending on their functionality, although the core, no-code aspect of them remains the same.
A no-code application builder works much the same way. Instead of having to build an application from scratch—whether internal or external—users of no-code app builders can connect their data to the development workspace and then select pre-made modules with their own built-in logic to create an application without doing any programming.
In Internal's case, (because it's ultra-versatile), there is also the ability for advanced technical users to write their own code within the application, allowing for complete customization of any Internal applications.
So, as mentioned before, we've amassed the top no-code solutions across different industries and compiled them all here, with our own insights as well. Please enjoy!
No-Code Website Builders
Webflow is a big name in the no-code space—and for good reason. Its dual-layered approach means anyone can build websites using templates and the visual designer without code, while also allowing those with the technical know-how to go under the hood and add custom code and functionality.
Webflow is a no code platform truly allows you to do anything, but with this flexibility comes a steeper learning curve than other such platforms, which is why so many Webflow design companies are emerging.
Luckily, Webflow has some of the best educational resources to help assist. Ultimately, we think Webflow is a great choice for any businesses who may need the added freedom and customization that it provides, and have some technical or developer resources to fully take advantage of its power.
For small businesses, personal brands, and organizations that don't need anything too fancy, there may be easier options out there.
Squarespace stands out for its huge library of beautifully-designed website templates. We liked that they had a variety of options for all kinds of sites (blogs, portfolios, ecommerce) and every template is responsive.
Squarespace’s biggest advantage is that it's geared towards the less-technical audience—using pre-designed templates means it’s lightning-quick and easy to set up, and customization options are simple.
However, this also means it’s a bit more limited in functionality. While you can add your own code, the implementation is not as flexible as what you’d find in Webflow. In the end, we recommend Squarespace for businesses that want to build truly no-code websites and don’t necessarily have (or want to hire) technical resources.
Pro Lite: $9/year
Pro Plus: $49/year
Summary: One-page websites are all about simplicity, and that’s what Carrd offers. Carrd uses templates, like Squarespace, but it's even faster to set up, as the 1-page format practically ensures simplicity.
While it doesn’t have as many templates as Squarespace (yet?), it does boast responsive design and the ability to embed services like Stripe and Paypal.
Perhaps the thing we like the best is the pricing: You can build up to 3 sites for free and the pro plan is just $19/year. All of these features make Carrd a great no-code website builder for businesses with simple website needs, or whoare just looking for a starting point for something more full-fledged later on.
No-Code Internal Tools & Apps
Allow us to re-introduce ourselves: Internal is a robust and easy-to-use platform to build the internal tools your business needs—no matter how niche they may be.
Internal is great for nontechnical teams who want a no-code solution, as you can build on top of spreadsheet data and connect easily to business apps like Stripe and Salesforce.
You can also build on top of an existing database, even if you don’t know how to write SQL. And Internal is also great for engineering teams, as users can write code to interface with read/write APIs, SQL databases, and MongoDB databases.
We built Internal for businesses that want the ease of no-code but with the option to get technical. If data security and controls are a priority for you, Internal’s also a great choice, as it comes with built-in roles, permissions, and logging—so you don’t have to spend time adding it yourself.
Also, if you're curious, we'd love to chat with you more.
We included Retool in the no-code list because it’s possible to use it with enough SQL knowledge, even if you don’t know how to code.
With Retool, engineering teams can skip a lot of the repetitive work of building front-ends by dragging in pre-built components and hooking them up to data. The experience is akin to a traditional IDE for UI development and can be quite flexible. It does have a fairly significant learning curve so that’s something for teams to keep in mind.
Compare head-to-head: Retool versus Internal
No-Code Mobile & Web App Builders
Bubble is a popular choice for those who want to build their own web app, it has a simple visual drag-and-drop builder and enough capabilities that you can build just about anything.
Bubble can handle and host the infrastructure for your web application, which can make things a lot easier if you’re operating without devs. It also features a great set of educational resources and a large library of integrations.
One thing to note: Bubble doesn’t do native mobile apps, so if you’re looking to get into an app store, you might want to check out a different platform.
While you can use Adalo to build websites, it’s definitely a platform that focuses on being mobile-first.
Like other no-code app builders, it provides a visual way to build an interface, add logic, and connect data. What we like most about it is how it uses “spreadsheet databases,” providing an easy and familiar structure to work with your data, and how you can start from a template to save time. It also lets you publish your app on iOS, Android and mobile web easily.
We recommend Adalo to any business that needs to create a mobile app quickly.
Personal: $0 - $38/mo
Business: $2000 yearly and up
Thunkable lets users build a mobile app that’ll work across iOS, Android and mobile web.
Compared to other no code mobile app-builders, Thunkable has some unique capabilities (such as offering a speech-to-text component) and visual animations that you can use. One standout feature is the way Thunkable lets users build logic in visual “blocks,” making it much easier to see and manage the flow of how things work in the app.
All in all, Thunkable is a great choice for businesses who need a mobile app with a lot of logic or unique capabilities.
No-Code Automation / Connector Tools
For a connector platform, the number of integrations is key, and Zapier has over 3000 integrations across most popular B2B and B2C software!
“Zaps” can be set up to interact with multiple systems, have multiple triggers, and do multiple actions. Zapier has a lot of options, which can make it a little trickier to learn for some folks.
We recommend Zapier to businesses that have more complex needs for automation and are operating primarily with B2B systems.
IFTTT (if this, then that) has fewer integrations than Zapier (~600), but it caters to a different crowd entirely.
IFTTT has no code integrations that are mainly within the B2C space, and works a bit better with social media & consumer apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Spotify. It's also a bit simpler to use but doesn’t provide the ability to do multiple triggers or complex actions.
Also, IFTTT is priced more affordably, making it a great choice for businesses with simpler needs or who want to connect consumer platforms.
No-Code Spreadsheets / Databases
Airtable blends the ease-of-use and familiarity of spreadsheets with the powerful functionality of a relational database.
For the no-code audience, this means Airtable can serve as a data source on which users can build. Airtable’s automation means users can trigger actions from Airtable, which can help build a lot more functionality on it.
We like how we can set up different views of data in Airtable as well as the many pre-built apps and starter templates they offer. For those who aren’t familiar with databases, there can be a slight learning curve to making the most out of Airtable, but overall its mix of functionality and usability make it a great choice for almost any business.
Free for everyone, although paid Google users have 2TB of storage.
Excel’s cloud-based, more collaborative cousin (or competitor), Google Sheets has been ubiquitous in the business world for over a decade.
Used for everything from tracking inventory, charting sales, or recording customer issues, Sheets can do a lot, and its collaborative features can let you edit and share as a team.
If there’s any strike against it, it’s that Sheets is still just a spreadsheet, and it doesn’t serve well as a database. However, it’s free and it’s incredibly useful, making it something we recommend for small and mid-sized businesses who aren’t working with enormous amounts of data.
Tadabase is a unique take on the no-code database, essentially letting you create your own business database custom to your needs.
You start by defining your data and relationships, and then you can build simple pages to interact with your data. We like its unique components, like calendars and kanban boards, which can give your users a much different database view than usual.
However, the page builder is a bit limited currently in design flexibility, and there aren’t many integrations as yet. We recommend Tadabase if you want to build your own powerful, relational database for your business but don’t need many integrations.
No-Code Notes / Documents
Notion is a powered-up note-taking app with a lot of great features, like a kanban board, customizable layouts, and team collaboration tools.
It can be everything from a personal notebook to an employee handbook to a team wiki / knowledge base. One of our favorite things about Notion is that you can embed just about anything in your notes, and create subpages and structure throughout your Notion workspace.
One downside is that we found the way Notion groups text into blocks was a little clunky and took some getting used to. Notion is also a complex product with some learning curve, but we think it’s best-in-class if you need a note-taking app that can wear a lot of different hats.
Coda presents a unique mixture of documents, spreadsheets and connected apps within a single place.
We love its flexibility and how you can freely customize the size and position of the elements you’re placing within Coda. It’s very easy to create something that matches closely to your team’s workflow.
Coda alleviates the bouncing back and forth from a spreadsheet to a document to a presentation that’s typical for many workers, and makes collaboration extremely easy as well. Because it’s such an open canvas, Coda does have a learning curve and figuring out how to fully incorporate its functionality can take some planning ahead.
Coda’s tables also don’t exactly behave like spreadsheets, and you might miss features like cell-based formulas. On the whole though, Coda is a very useful no-code tool, especially if you have many scattered documents and spreadsheets in your typical workflow.
No-Code E-commerce / Payments
If your business needs a website and an online store and a payments solution, Shopify is a great all-in-one solution.
We think it’s great on the design end, with a number of pre-built templates or the option to code your own. It also works with almost any payment option you can think of and comes with an inventory management system for your shop.
On the downside, all of its features mean it can be less intuitive than simpler platforms, and Shopify charges transaction fees on payment channels, unless you use Shopify Payments.
For these reasons, we think Shopify is a great pick for any business that wants to quickly get both a website and store online, and especially those with physical inventory.
Although Weebly started out as a no-code website builder, its acquisition by payments giant Square and its subsequent focus on e-commerce have made it a strong alternative to Shopify.
Weebly has modern templates, is super easy to get started with, and lets you sell digital goods easily. What we like best though, is Weebly’s lower costs—they don’t charge any additional fees on transactions, and its overall pricing is more affordable.
On the downside, we found customer support to be less responsive than Shopify, and the platform’s simplicity also means there are fewer customization features available.
Overall, we recommend Weebly for businesses who want to get an online shop running quickly and easily and at low cost.
Since this primer can only cover so much, we wanted to share some additional sites for you to continue learning more about no-code. Both of these sites feature a list of no-code tools, as well as educational resources and a helpful community of builders. Check them out!
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