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Ognjen Regoje
But you can call me Oggy

I make things that run on the web (mostly).
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NoCode doesn't abstract code away enough

#chatgpt #gherkin #nocode

While writing about software that abstracts away a skill it dawned on me that NoCode solutions fall in that category too. They try to abstract away writing code.

NoCode tools want to be to programming what Canva is to graphic design or MozSEO is to SEO.

The very attractive-sounding value proposition is that it’s easier to learn to use a tool that creates code, rather than learning how to actually code. Just imagine how much money you could save if you didn’t have to pay for those expensive software engineers.

But why has no solution been successful yet? What will it take for one to fully replace writing code?

The code hasn’t been abstracted away enough

I think it’s because no solution abstracts the code away sufficiently. The more complicated the underlying skill, the more abstracted away the implementation needs to be. And coding is complicated.

Take Canva as an example. You don’t need to know anything at all about graphic design. You get a few placeholders that you change and immediately see what the final product will look like.

Barrier to entry is higher

A coder could easily pick up a NoCode tool, but there’s little point in that. Conversely, someone not familiar with code would have to learn many new concepts. Learning to use a NoCode tool might even get them halfway towards being able to code.

No immediate feedback

When you change a placeholder in Canva, you immediately see the result. NoCode often requires you to run through what you’ve made in your head and imagine what would happen. Being able to do that is a skill in itself.

Generic use-cases

NoCode doesn’t specialize in a particular domain. They would like to be a generic one-size-fits-all solution. But the more generic the use case the more difficult it is to come up with intuitive abstractions.

But what about ChatGPT

I’ve seen screencaps showing ChatGPT writing this function or that.

But, a coder asked ChatGPT for a QuickSort. A non-coder not only doesn’t know what QuickSort is but likely never thought about the existence of sorting algorithms at all.

The implementation, as it is, would be most useful for coders.

What should a NoCode solution look like?

  1. Lots of dragging and dropping

    From different pieces of software and websites. If you want to put the content of an email into Google Sheets, you just drag the content from Gmail to a new row in Sheets.

    That then generates a script with…

  2. Gherkin-like language

    Screenshot of Gherkin

  3. And the script supports contextual language such as “I see…” and “My customer…” and “My company…” etc.

    The tool must have contextual information (but at the same time not be too troublesome to get started with)