Introduction to NoCode Tools
“A No-code development platform allows programmers and non-programmers to create application software through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming1.” Various software tools and applications are being used all around us each day. You might be asking yourself, “How do they do it?”.
You may be visualizing a developing studio where multiple developers write endless lines of code every day. In some cases, that might be true, but did you know that development tools do not require us to have any programming knowledge whatsoever? It's true.
We can use NoCode tools to develop web-based or mobile applications and software on your own. In this article, we will cover some of these top tools. We will explain what they are, their purpose, and the best way to utilize them. You don’t have to be a senior developer anymore to put your ideas into a real-world application!
How NoCode Tools Work
The basic fact that makes NoCode tools popular is that we do not have to stare at a dull, black screen with many signs, letters, and numbers on it. The whole concept around NoCode tools is that you are creating your application in a graphical interface environment. We are using a simple drag and drop system to make your application usable. Even the CEO of GitHub once stated: “The future of coding is no coding at all.”
So, with NoCode tools, you do not have to write the code. The key is that every time you use the NoCode platform, you are using objects that were previously created by the developers behind the platform you are using. Developers already create every object that you drag and drop or attach to your project. You are using a code, but it’s hidden, and you didn’t have to write it.
To put it simply, with NoCode tools, you are visually manipulating the source code. The majority of these tools have thousands of extensions that can be used. This way, you can develop backend and frontend software for web and mobile applications. We believe that it’s pretty obvious how you can benefit from NoCode tools. But we will cover some pros and cons of these tools anyway.
Pros of NoCode Tools
- Creating mobile applications with very little to no coding experience.
- Creating a web application with very little to no coding experience.
- Obtaining a better grasp of coding principles.
- Huge diversity and ability to change your applications with a simple drag and drop.
- Save on resources because developers may not be needed.
Cons Of NoCode Tools
- No matter how useful and advanced NoCode tools are, there is a possibility that you won’t be able to create your application in the exact way that you want.
- Potential security risks in using code that someone else wrote. Suppose someone with malicious intent on their mind injects pieces of code. The chances are good that a problem could develop.
Open Source Nocode Tools
N8n is a workflow automation tool that allows us to connect our applications with any API. It’s easy to use because of its user-friendly interface, so we do not have to know a single line of code! This NoCode tool has over 170 different nodes which can automate our workflow. The thing about n8n is that it is not cloud-based. You can host it on your server and keep all the data in a local database. This increases security and the fact that we have complete control over the environment. We have three options on how to use n8n. We can run it as a docker container, install it with npm, or start it with a tunnel. N8n is composed of four key components: Connection, Node, Trigger Node, and finally, Workflow.
- The Connection component is very straightforward. It connects our nodes. Because the nodes are not limited to a single connection, we can have any number of them.
- The Node component is simply an entry point where our data is processed. Our web or mobile apps can have several nodes that can be connected in multiple ways.
- The Trigger Node component is a node that gives a signal to your workflow to start. A Time, Webhook, or Event from an external service can create the workflow. For example, if someone clicks on the search button in your web app, the Trigger Node gets a signal to start the Workflow, executing the given search in the end.
- The Workflow component is the main feature of n8n. It is a simple process that occurs once our Trigger Node activation begins and the data processing between our nodes transpires.
Saltcorn is another open-source tool that is very popular. This software is a bit trickier to use because it relies on databases to build applications. Saltcorn uses PostgreSQL and node.js, among other software, which is necessary to run it. N8n can be used to develop the complete backend, frontend, and database of your application. It also uses a highly intuitive user interface controlled by a simple click and drag technique.
On saltcorn.com, a multi-tenant instance of this tool is running. You are free to create your environment and database under a subdomain, but there are limited security guarantees, which can open vulnerabilities. If you choose to utilize this tool, we suggest you host this on a server to have complete control. We are currently offering a special introductory offer on several of our Dedicated server plans from which you can begin setting up your development platform.
Saltcorn is installed via packages using node and npm or installed from source. We suggest that you check the page on GitHub for installation processes and some useful coding tips.
Rintagi was among the first open-source low code development tools on the market. With Rintagi, you can build beautiful, easy to use applications that leave the impression that a team of highly skilled developers made it. What makes Rintagi so unique is that once a piece of code that your application uses gets outdated or completely deprecated, it is updated automatically. That happens because Rintagi uses all of its build information directly from the metadata to update the software. Rintagi uses a simple drag and drop interface, similar to other NoCode tools when building the application itself. The Rintagi NoCode tool’s key features are high productivity, future proof platform due to the automatic updates, the tremendous ability to scale your projects, and increased control of your projects. Another critical capability that Rintagi possesses is its production-ready applications. These are pre-configured templates that you can modify for your HR management applications, payroll applications, or expense reporting.
At the time, Rintagi is available only on the following Windows operating systems.
- Microsoft Windows 7, 8.0, 8.1, or 10 with the latest Service Pack
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008(32 or 64 bit) /2008 R2 (32 or 64 bit) 2012 (64 bit) /2012 R2 (64 bit) All Edition with the latest Service Pack
- IIS 6.0/7.0/7.5/8.5
When it comes to software requirements for the proper use of Rintagi, you will need:
- Google Chrome Browser / IE browser 9.0 or later / Firefox browser 40.0 or later
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express or higher (Development System only)
- Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 or 4.5.2 with SP1 or higher
- Microsoft SQL Server® 2012 Feature Pack (Search for Microsoft® System CLR Types for Microsoft® SQL Server® 2012 and download the x64 package)
- Microsoft Report Viewer Redistribution 2012 (32bit or 64bit)
- Crystal Report Runtime 13 Package
- Microsoft Access Database Engine 2013 (32bit or 64bit)
- Microsoft SQL Server Express 2008/2008 R2/2014 (32 or 64 bit) with the latest Service Pack, or Microsoft SQL 2008/2008/2014 Express Edition, with the latest Service Pack (usually for development only)
- SQL Server Management Studio
A complete list of requirements is noted in the Rintagi documentation. Rintagi has professional licenses and enterprise licenses available, but the free version of Rintagi is the “community version.” The installation instructions for the community version are found in the GitHub installation guide.
OSBP stands for the Open Standard Business Platform. It is a community-driven version of the highly regarded OS.bee. OS.bee is a platform for software engineering combing a lowcode/nocode environment for automated application development. It is based on Domain-Specific Languages, which designates OSBP as a full-stack nocode/lowcode development tool.
One of the features that OSBP delivers is that it is effortless to learn. It uses the Java programming language to develop apps for multiple devices like tablets, mobile phones, and desktop computers. It also has a large community support base with over 10,000 users. The primary tool that OSBP uses is called “OSBP Software Factory.” To take advantage of it, we need to have Java and Eclipse Neon installed. The installation guide, along with recommended software versions, is found on the website.
Generally, the installation process is composed of five steps:
- Install Java
- Install Eclipse
- Download repository link
- Install OSBP itself
- Set target platform
Some examples where OSBP is useful are creating organizational charts, configuring business analytics software, creating point of sale solutions (POS), and creating user interfaces.
As its name suggests, Manychat is a NoCode tool that allows us to create Facebook Messenger bots. With Manychat, we can quickly create automated message responses that increase audience interactions and develops more potential buyers. We can create automated messages about products, take reservations, send coupon codes, or share additional information about your business. The main focus of the Manychat tool is primarily in Sales and Marketing. Predefined templates allow us to build our first bot in a matter of minutes. The fact that over 1.3 billion people are using Manychat speaks for itself! The free version of Manychat comes with several options, including a visual flow builder, landing page options, basic templates, segmentation of potential buyers, and more. Users can integrate Manychat into other popular software tools such as Zapier, Shopify, Mailchimp, and PayPal. It does not require any installation. You simply create an account, and you are good to go.
The bottom line is that there are multiple NoCode tools used for business apps, chatbots, analytics, automation, databases, or eCommerce. The options are almost limitless. We must agree with GitHub's CEO, who stated that “NoCode is the future of coding.”
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