Developing an application using no-code tools is a great way to create a functional and effective application without needing to have extensive programming knowledge. No-code tools are user-friendly and often come with various pre-built templates and features that can be easily customized to suit your needs.
To get started with no-code application development, follow these steps:
- Plan your app: Identify the problem you want to solve with your application and determine the key features and functionality it will need. This part should include two critical sections:
- Flow and Actions: The desired experience in the form of screen flows and the actions taken as part of the flow (i.e., User List Screen and “add Name to list” operation)
- Data structure: what are the key data structures involved and the relation between them (i.e., list of companies, list of employees, the link between employee details and the hiring company)
- Choose a no-code platform with the features and capabilities you need to build your application. Some popular no-code platforms include Bubble, Webflow, and FlutterFlow.
- Use the platform’s visual editor to create the structure and layout of your application. This may involve dragging and dropping pre-built elements onto the page and customizing them to fit your needs.
- Add the necessary data and content to your application. This may involve connecting to external data sources or manually entering information into the platform’s database.
- Test your application to ensure that it is functioning properly and make any necessary tweaks or adjustments.
- Publish your application and share it with others. No-code platforms often provide options for hosting your application and making it available to users. One-click publish to App Stores is also available for apps implemented as an installable mobile app.
Let’s dive into each of these steps.
Plan your app
Planning the structure and the flow of your app is an important step to ensure smooth, consistent development, while taking the “let’s start and will see how to continue” approach is sure to run into obstacles and introduce delays.
The Flow part plans the user experience and data flow in your app, typically starting with the registration step and ending with the achieved result.
Here is a sample plan, as an overview diagram, of the Flow part:
By drafting your user’s experience and flow of actions, you create a clear understanding of the screens involved, actions that need to be taken, and a draft-level understanding of the data involved.
Data structure plan associated with the above:
Select a Platform
Based on the developed plan, an implementation platform should be picked, one that supports the key features involved. Typical considerations are:
- As a mobile app development platform, does it supports native actions such as camera usage needed in the app?
- Data source and size: Characteristics of the database part of No Code platforms vary widely, and one should take into account the specific needs of this app. Supported size, for example, is an important factor as many tools limit the size to a few thousand items – if your data source is 5,000 items and up, you may need a more robust data source.
Additional considerations may be cost (for platforms requiring hosting plans, such as Bubble.io), support (based on plan or reviews), and so on. A list of tools and selection guidelines are available in my resources page.
Design the UI, Data Structure, and Flow
Once you pick a platform, you are ready to create the app using mostly a visual editor (for the UI part), data structures (using table-form editors), and App Flow (by defining actions attached to screens, buttons, and fields).
A typical environment is replicated here for the FlutterFlow platform:
Creating the Data Part
At this stage, you are ready to upload pre-set data or connect external data sources, a frequent feature in many modern apps. This step is achieved using either the database management tools or by implementing an API, which is the shorthand for a group of actions connecting the app to an external data source.
Testing the App
No app is ready as you finish defining and programming its core functionality. By testing the various features, missing steps and wrong assumptions are discovered and must be corrected. It is also extremely wise to let people who are not familiar with eth app and most parts f its development use the app and watch how they adapt to its usage pattern. Often you find that certain simplification is needed in order to make the app easy to use.
Publishing the App
Mobile apps need to be uploaded to App Stores, while Web sites need to be exposed to the public by assigning a public address or domain name. At this stage, the app becomes accessible to a wider audience (depending on your registration policy – you may start with a restricted beta and only then move to wide availability). This important step usually involves marketing steps as well to create public awareness, which is critical to the success of any new app or service.