Discover more from No-code Analysis
Community building and resource sharing, accelerated by technology
How no-code solutions are helping creative communities emerge during challenging times
Welcome to issue #1 of the No-code Analysis newsletter, a weekly newsletter about no-code, product development, user experience, and technology.
Each week, this newsletter will feature some of the most helpful and insightful recent articles. We’ll highlight and contextualize the innovative ways creators are using new technologies to build their ideas, iterate quickly, and create new solutions.
If you enjoy this issue, please like it above or leave a comment below. Have suggestions to make this newsletter better? We’re listening here and on Twitter @nocodemethod!
No-code tools empowering communities
We often think of no-code as the domain of product people, startup founders, creators, and the like. It can be very easy to focus on their stories and the latest technology innovation as it streams forth in a thrilling march of technical breakthroughs and expanded capabilities.
Many of the most interesting undiscussed stories are about the magic that occurs when a community emerges around a product or solution. Or–even better–when a creative solution emerges from a community.
This week, the United States is once again experiencing traumatic events in heartland cities such as Kenosha, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Injustices and unresolved issues remain, and there is an immediate need to provide resources for those affected and help rebuild scarred communities. Ordinary citizens and existing community organizations will work together to respond in inspiring ways, setting aside other priorities while finding a way to help.
We’ve learned so much in these past six months about the power of technology to accelerate community response in the wake of traumatic events such as the murder of George Floyd (and Breonna Taylor and countless others whose names will not be forgotten) amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. New tools are playing a critical role in enabling local communities to provide support at an accelerated pace.
No programming experience required
No-code tools are now so accessible and simple that they accelerate community response. Powerful visual development tools in the hands of anyone–young or old–help to amplify their mission and speed up the impact of their efforts.
Many pundits have theorized that online commerce has taken a great leap forward during 2020, accelerating adoption in ways that were not anticipated prior to the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19. No-code tools are also undergoing a similar evolution into the mainstream as the result of broader global events.
Here’s a small sampling of the ways that previously lesser-known tools have been enlisted on a broad scale:
Collection of donations and support for non-profits
Organization and coordination of social justice activism
Offline to online transition for local businesses
Distribution of emergency aid and resources
Mapping wildfires and shelters
There are just a few examples, and the list grows each day. The growing use of simpler tools has benefitted community responses time and time again, enabling communities to spend more of their time achieving their goals and helping those they’re serving.
(Please share your stories in the comments or send us a message to let us know what we missed.)
Code or culture?
Perhaps one of the most important discoveries from this period of rapid response is that new tools allow a resourceful person to single-handedly create a production-ready, scalable solution in a matter of hours instead of days or weeks. Does it matter, then, how the solution was created or what underlying technology powers the solution? Sure, we’re always interested in the details of how technology was created, but why do no-code tools receive such frequent criticism from some corners of the developer community?
Paul Ford’s recent article in Wired magazine explores this angle of critique through the lens of his partner’s work with a local mutual aid group. He describes how important it is for the entire team to have easy access to data as they collaboratively organize food delivery, and how a basic interface is sufficient to enable them to feed and serve their local community.
…they've divided the neighborhood into zones, to cluster deliveries. They write notes in the notes field in Airtable, and people read and respond to those notes. Community happens that way. The community creates the data, and the data represents the community. Beats doing nothing.
Using or re-purposing existing templates, they can focus their efforts on the underlying mission and message rather than spending days or weeks thinking about complicated issues such as code, servers, certificates, and deployment methods.
Similarly, data administration can be done in a simple, portable, and sharable spreadsheet format. Creative and collaborative work happens in a familiar medium, with no dependency on busy developers to provision infrastructure, write queries, or provide a method for data entry.
As Paul and his partner learned, the societal impact of no-code tools is significant, enabling culture and community to evolve in ways that were unimaginable a few short years ago. Debates about tools and methodologies aside, that’s the real innovation story.
New product features from Webflow: the Webflow World Tour continued this week and wraps up next week. Those attending received a preview of upcoming features that promise to significantly expand Webflow’s capabilities. These features are reminiscent of comments @callmevlad made on a podcast not long ago, so it is probably safe to say this is part of a long-term vision. Worth watching.
Zero Code Conference: if you have not yet registered for Zero Code Conference (October 7-8, 2020), what are you waiting for? It’s an online conference with an impressive lineup of speakers and even more to be announced. And tickets are currently free until September 6, 2020. Register now before prices increase.
Makerpad Challenge T30: Makerpad announced a 30-day challenge for the month of September. The rules? “Create an online product/website/service in 30 days”. The prizes? An iPad Pro, Makerpad swag, and more. The judges? A pretty interesting group of founders, creators, and investors. If you decide to participate, we would love to hear what you’re building. Send a DM on Twitter @nocodemethod if you want to discuss your concept.
No-code tools represent a massive opportunity for creative and resourceful thinkers to operate more nimbly inside enterprise organizations. Is the technology ready, and what are the opportunities and challenges for large organizations as they test adoption and potentially embrace this technology?
That’s all for this issue. Thanks for reading. We hope it gave you some things to think about and inspires you to get out there and build!
Please let us know what you liked, what you didn’t like, and point out anything we missed. You can drop a comment below, and we’re always listening on Twitter @nocodemethod.
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