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Tools used: Zapier, Glide, Webflow, Google Sheets
Hi! I've been building companies, apps and websites for myself and clients for 15 years. Back in the day I used PHP/Wordpress, and Titanium/Appcelerator (wow that's old) to build out solutions, now I'm using no code/low code solutions like webflow and glideapps. I want to illustrate a few examples of how no/low code solutions are changing the development landscape and are enabling the rapid transformation from idea to actual product in hours rather than days or months.
Recently I ran across Glide and oh how the heavens shook! Glide is an amazing no code tool that lets me build a web apps (non-native code) that look and feel like a native apps on my phone. Glide had the genius idea to use Google Sheets as its backend/database and build apps based on what’s in those sheets and how they are organized. (Now if only Glide and Webflow could get together. (heart emoji) That would be quite cool!)
I’m going to show you three Glide Apps I built. I’ve had the ideas for these apps for a while. But haven’t wanted to invest resources in the programming to build an MVP.
Surfaced (An app to help indie musicians get their music exposed).
This idea was based on a conversation that Joe Rogan had with the Black Keys on Joe’s podcast a few weeks ago. (Yo, dudes. Let’s build this!) Basically they were discussing how there is so much good music out there but there’s no way for it to surface above the noise and machine that is Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora. There needs to be some curated effort for this good music to, well, Surface. So I build a SIMPLE app in about an hour.
One basic limitation (and this applies across my efforts to date) with no code / low code is that no code/low can get us about 90% of the way to a fully functional app. I believe this will change over the next few months as communities of no coders demand more complete and functional workflows and systems. But for now let’s just say that that dog don’t quite hunt.
The Surfaced App Allows anyone to sign up and post an artist picture, song (mp4), and notes. Note that you have to have a link to an actual mp4 for it to work (I can’t post a Spotify or Soundcloud link and have it work…the limitation) ((This may be a feature rather than a bug given my purpose for the app.)) What gets submitted could be curated either by the crowd and/or by Dan and Patrick. Users of the app can favorite and comment on the Song/Post.
Verify (An app that allows people who need something verified to post it and pay for a verifier to perform the task)
Verify is a bit more complicated and gets about 80% to what it needs to be with no code.
The idea is to allow someone (the client) to post something that needs verification: “Please check my home for storm damage” and offers payment to perform the service. The verifier can pick what they want to verify, follow the instructions left by the client, take a picture and provide an explanation and then, if the client is satisfied, they’ll release the payment to the Verifier.
I was able to build everything using Glide, and Google Sheets (with some fancy match, index, and lookup formulas on different sheets to get this working). I Haven’t set up the payment process yet, since there needs to be some additional workflow built into the process. i.e. the Client needs to verify that the work has been done and is acceptable prior to payment release. Sort of a second derivative action which may involve some additional “low code!”.
Help A Mom (An app that allows moms in need to ask for help)
This app was more a test for me than my idea. Last Sunday I saw this Tweet:
Could I make #2 happen? Yes. You Betcha!
Help A Mom allows any Mom to post a request for help. And the app then shows others what’s requested and helpers can then respond. It’s like a super Simple “Be My Eyes” (which is a super cool app!). It uses Google Sheets, like the others, and I built it so the sheet will auto add and do a little work to create a “helper” when a new helper signs up. It took me about 30 minutes to create this app.
Each of these MVP Apps took less than a couple hours to build. Something that would have been inconceivable, for me, just a year ago. Tools like Webflow, Glide, Zapier, Google Sheets and Twilio really have enabled me to go from idea to a Minimally Viable Product in incredible record time with no code/low code. Not sure what tools to use? Using a platform like makerpad will can help you. Lots of information and tutorials on different solutions.
No-code is here and it's most definitely the future and the evolution of coding and development of products and companies. As I said above, the current limitations, in my experience, are building complex workflows. But I believe this will change very quickly and we will be able to build what ever we want. So jump in. The water is excellent!