My favourite nocode stack

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

One of the things that are gaining traction in 2020 is the #nocode / #lowcode movement. There is an ever higher number of people that are looking to build new and sustainable businesses online. That even intensified with all the lockdown measures worldwide, forcing people to choose between Netflix and brainstorming about online potential. In the vast options out there some stand out to me and consitude my favourite nocode stack.

nocode stack google trends

TLDR; The ideal nocode stack

- Landing/Blog: Stackbit (free)

- Frontend: Code Sandbox + Netlify* ($120/yr)

- Backend: Diagram + MongoDB ($240/yr)

- Mobile: Webview** ($100/yr + $25)

- Marketing: OneSignal (free)

Notes:

* Here I used grapes.js to create the html UI and manually add any API requests and routes in React

** Here I use my Frontend stack (Code Sandbox + Netlify) in a webview

# Integrations

For mobile apps there has to be a push notifications system that will be trigger on certain events (eg. a new date match or rider is approaching, someone comments). A similar system has to exist for web apps and landing pages. That marketing service has to be able to send marketing emails / push notifications on demand. This is often used inform users about new features, offers or product announcements.

My prefer system of web analytics is Google Analytics. What is lesser known about it is their reporting API that can be used to send automated reported in a custom manner. Moreover, a great nocode stack has to include a way to track traffic sources and provide insights to double down on great acquisition sources.

Another aspect of integrations that needs is backups. Database access services would make all maintenance jobs easy and allow for outsourcing.

# Flexibility

Makes sense to question whether something can be done in a nocode stack since its a common trade-off. I general ask this question in two flavours. First I'm looking at the flexibility in UI level. Would I be able to design any kind of tools with multiple screens interactive with each other and subcomponents that are I can construct on my own? Another great #nocode tool in this sense would give me access to the code (usually the html) to make some customisations or hire someone else to do them for me off Upwork. Then I looking at the flexibility at the server level where I'm not usually look to edit the code directly. Instead, I rather have a tool that gives me access at a database level directly or through an API where I can hook my own Cloud Functions and perform the operations I want myself.

# Pricing

The first thing I'm always looking for is freehttps://www.stackbit.com/ (and preferably open source) alternatives for any product I use. A great example here is grape.js who have an amazing open source HTML/CSS editor. Nocode software price is sometimes tricky since most tools have some kind of learning curve and try to charge users at a later stage of the service. This is generally good as they give you breathing room until you get your first users. But sometimes they don't scale well. For example Mailchimp charges almost linearly as your audience grows that makes it a pick I'm always trying to avoid.

# Control

At last I'm looking at the stack as a whole. I evaluate what happens if any particular part of the nocode stack become annoyingly expensive or goes offline permanently. For example if Stackbit goes out I can still use Wordpress or Carrd to build my landing page. If on the other hand I used Zapier as a connector to my backend and wanted to move them out it would be really hard for me since their competitor automate.io has much fewer integrations than Zapier which could possibly break my app.

I write about inbound traffic, growth hacking and #nocode.