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April 19, 2021
Blog post

Beyond no-code: the coding languages every no-coder needs

We’re on a bit of a mission here at Makerpad to make it known that code and no-code are not necessarily as different as people assume.

Makerpad’s founder Ben talks a LOT about no-code and code being two rungs of the same ladder of ‘software development’. 

We’re not making this up. He said it here, for example. And here.

Here too.

Oh and here.

You get the idea.

Joking aside, he preaches it because it’s true.

No code is not an anti-code movement. In fact, the whole no-code movement is built on the lines of code that have created the tools we have come to love. It’s these lines of code that allow us to build and automate without having to learn to code ourselves.

The spectrum of no-code, low-code, and code

Let’s look at this idea of a spectrum.

There are many entry points to an idea, and lots of ways to approach a problem. For some, like those in the no-code community, that entry point is no-code and the approach is through visual development.

Many who start their journey with no-code tend to become more familiar and comfortable with the world of code. As you use Zapier more, you may become more curious about APIs. Or maybe when you discover the power of Airtable’s scripting block you start to wonder how to write your own script. Or you might tinker with low-code to help refine your no-code-based project, and realize there’s a world of opportunity on the other side of the coding knowledge barrier.

So, you feel ready to dive into coding.

How do you continue your learning once you’ve pushed the boundaries of no-code? Where do you start?

The answer, in short, is to know what it is you want to get done, and go from there.

We’ve partnered with Codecademy to get advice on where to start if you feel ready to start transitioning from no-code to code. Codecademy is a leading interactive online educational platform, and is the perfect jumping off point for anyone looking to graduate beyond no-code.

Building mobile apps

No matter where you’re at on your no-code journey, you’ve probably already experienced the joy of creating an app powered by a spreadsheet. Maybe you’ve even published one or more apps to the app store using a tool like Adalo.

If you want to take your mobile app skills further, Codecademy say there are a few coding languages to choose from. For iOS mobile apps, check out Swift. If you’re interested in developing apps for Android, then you may want to look into Java or Kotlin.

If you’re more keen on creating an app that spans different operating systems, then you could start by learning JavaScript with the React Native framework.

Relevant Codecademy courses

Learn JavaScript

Learn Kotlin

Build iOS Apps with SwiftUI (this course just launched)

Build Basic Android Apps with Java

Building web apps

In the no-code world, Bubble is often a go-to platform for creating web apps. Its powerful integrations open up a multitude of possibilities, like building your own SaaS, or the next AirBnB.

With code, there are many ways to start building a web app and you have several different coding languages at your disposal: JavaScript, Python, and Ruby, to name just a few.

If you’re just starting out, JavaScript is a robust and very adaptable language that can be used to create the front-end or back-end of your web app.

Relevant Codecademy courses

Learn JavaScript

Create a Front-End App with React

Create a Back-End App with JavaScript

Building websites

Thanks to tools like Webflow, Vev, and Squarespace, designing a beautiful website has never been easier!

But what if you want to explore building your own website from the ground up?

Learning HTML — and specifically CSS — will allow you to create a responsive website.

If you want your website to be interactive, then JavaScript is your friend. With JavaScript, you can create event listeners that respond to various actions, e.g. when someone clicks on a form, or scrolls down a page, presses on a key, and so on.

Relevant Codecademy courses

Learn HTML

Learn CSS

Learn Responsive Design

Using code in databases

Airtable is arguably the most common ‘database’ used in no-code. And in 2020, Airtable launched a scripting block.

Yes, they bridged the gap between no-code and code, allowing users to use pre-made scripts or write their own to customize their tables.

If you want to write your own scripts for the Airtable scripting block, then you need to learn JavaScript! If you are interested in querying databases, however, SQL is a great language to learn.

Relevant Codecademy courses

Learn SQL 

Developing your own API

Perhaps your no-code stack thrives off APIs and you’re wondering where else you could take your stack by developing your own API. Or maybe you’re feeling limited by the APIs available and need to code your own.

Whatever your reason, if you’re looking to develop your own API, you’ll want to learn a back-end language to interact with the API. This could be something like JavaScript, Java, C-related languages, Go, or Python.

Relevant Codecademy courses

Learn Java

Learn Python

Other specific use cases

In both the Makerpad community and the wider no-code community in general, there are several use-cases people commonly try to use no-code for. For example, Chrome extensions, online course platforms, or content delivery systems for live-streaming.

We asked Codecademy what coding languages people should turn to if they’re trying to build projects like these.

Building a Chrome extension? You’ll want to learn JavaScript syntax.

Online course platform? You have a whole bunch of languages to choose from, including JavaScript, the React framework, Ruby on Rails, Go, and MongoDB.

What about streaming live content? For that, the Codecademy team suggested exploring JavaScript with WebSockets.

Relevant Codecademy courses

Learn Ruby

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