How to Build An App Without A Programmer

You can’t deny it: Software is a part of everyday life whether you like it or not.  Until now, most of us have been slaves to software limitations and software developers.  

However, as coding grows, actually knowing a coding language is getting less and less important.  Think back to the absolute core of computers: Binary code. 1’s and 0’s.  (Which, interestingly, relates to the physical on/off function of transistors. You can think of transistors like tiny light-switches which either let electricity pass through or block it.)

Working with the very first computers made binary an essential language.  Then, from 1951 to 1967 various programming languages started being developed.  Instead of writing the same sequence of Binary over and over, it was saved as a block of code and given a unique name.  Then instead of rewriting the same code, all the next programmer had to do was write a code that called out the name of the block he wanted. Then they could start piecing together code like they were building Lego’s.  It was still incredibly complex, however, and putting all those blocks together in the right order, and in combinations that did useful things, was as much an art as a skill. 

And for a while, the development of coding continued on in pretty much the same way.  For example, there is the C programming language, and then C+ and C++.   They just keep building on top of each other in layers.  Each time becoming a little more user-friendly or expanding the capability of the code.  

The downside, though, was you still needed to be able to go in there and recognize all these strange arrangements of the alphabet, understand how they all work together, all the names of the blocks of code and on and on.

Then visual programming languages started to appear. Visual programming languages take all these little blocks of code and display them as little squares with names.  It was a game changer.

Instead of writing a program in big blocks of text, you can drag and drop these boxes onto your screen and draw connections to them.  Imagine a bunch of blocks with a piece of string running through them.  That’s kind of what it looks like and it was quick to be adopted into computer graphics programs. Visually artistic people loved it because they could code in a way that mapped out everything instead of forcing the user to read thousands of lines of code.

Visual programming languages are having a big impact everywhere, though.  It’s just easier for the average person to pick up because most people are predominantly visual thinkers.  It’s the same reason why TV took over the radio, or why magazines include high-rez pictures with their articles.

It’s gotten to the point now where anyone can start developing their own apps, without knowing a lick of code.   Bubble is one of the leaders paving the way into the code-less future.  They made it possible to develop web-based software and apps for a fraction of what would otherwise be required

And most recently, companies like Zeroqode are taking it even further.  Their entire business model is using Bubble to build templates so that you don’t even need to know how to work Bubble to build your own personalized phone or web-based application.  All you need to do now is open a template, change the name, fuss with the colours and add in some personalized pictures and writing.

It’s exactly like what WordPress did for websites.  As of today, there are over 75,000,000 million websites that use WordPress which equals about 19% of all websites on the internet.  A large majority of them don’t know any code and can have a fully functioning website in days or even hours.

What does this mean for small businesses?  

Let’s say you own a pizza parlour with 3 locations in adjacent cities and you want to make a unique, branded app for your customers to order pizza with.  By having your own app, you could customize it so the orders are made simple for the customer, and it shows up on your end in a specific way that increases workflow.  And you know what? Why don’t you give customers a chance to create a profile and get reward points for every pizza they purchase?

Or maybe you just want your own cloud-based shift-scheduling app that employees can log into and check hours, book time off, ask coworkers to exchange shifts, etc.

If you had taken either of those ideas to a software company a few years ago it would have cost you tens of thousands of dollars and require a swath of developers.

Now, because of companies like Bubble and Zeroqode, it might take one person a week. Or maybe even a day.

Which is great news for savvy business owners? The low cost and elimination of technical barriers mean there has never been a better time to start thinking about how you could use a custom app to increase the efficiency of your business.

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