My inbox has been flooded with news about startups offering ways to create apps with no-code. Most of them aren't much more than API connected spreadsheets on steroids, and that's not an insult. Some are much more than that, offering complex data integrations and sophisticated functionality.
Services like BettyBlocks, Appery, and many others are changing the way we think about getting to MVP for certain types of products, and that's a major shift from the old days of spinning up a team of coders to hammer out something simple as fast as possible.
Services like Coda, Sheetsu, and others make it simple to create websites and other resources based on spreadsheets. Which, if you think about it, is the simplest type of database you can have.
This makes app development and testing ideas much easier for a large group of people. Now it's possible for product mangers and even weekend tinkerers to create something that captures their ideas without having to invest in development time. That could be the difference between something getting off the ground and failing to launch in the first place.
What's it all mean?
I've said for years that development is now a commodity and dev shops are essentially in a race to the bottom when it comes to rates. Many offshore companies are able to deliver the same quality at a much lower rate, so on-shore development talent is under significant price pressure. These no-code services will only increase that price pressure, but only for basic app development.
While the services might make it easier to build and test basic ideas, they will–for the near future–have limited functionality, and tend to all look the same. Any time you build something from prefab blocks you'll be limited in some way. Even the most elaborate LEGO sculptures still look like LEGO.
All this means there will still be strong demand for custom application design and development, especially for teams that care about great user experiences. The no-code apps are promising, but still have a long way to go.
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