No-code, Coronavirus, Call for Code 2020, innovation

maxkatz profile image Max Katz Originally published at maxkatz.org on ・4 min read

In November 2019 I attended No Code Conf in San Francisco. The main theme of the conference was that there are millions of people who want to create and build solutions but they don’t know how to code. No-code will allow these folks to build applications without code.

No-code will democratize software development.

Today there about 24-25 millions developers in the world which means only about 0.3% of people today know how to create software, invent new things.

Imagine if millions more people, who are not coders, could create and build software, invent new things. We would have awesome new services, products and markets that we probably don’t even imagine today.

Innovation would accelerate.

The main point is that once people gained tools they didn’t have before, they started creating, building and inventing new things that were not possible or imaginable before. It would also enable to build tools that might have been possible before but would simply take too long.

Promise of no-code

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has locked most of the world. Economic activity has come to a virtual standstill with everything closed except groceries stores, pharmacies and a few other essential places. Restaurants are closed and only allow pickup or delivery (in the United States).

While the situation is grim (but we will get over it ✊), no-code developers are innovating, building and sharing solutions that probably wouldn’t be possible using traditional tools (or would much longer to build). Here are a few examples.

Mark Smillie built an app using Glide called hyperlocal. The app helps people during Covid-19 by connecting people that have extra stuff to people that need extra stuff (and vice versa).

Restaurant owners can use this Glide template built by Ben Tossell to create a menu for takeout/delivery and sell gift cards. The app was built with no-code and allows restaurants owners to customize the app also with no-code.

Could such app be built with coding using a framework such as React or Vue? Of course. But, it would simply take longer. It would also be more difficult for restaurant owners to customize the app for their needs. The fact that the app was built using no-code tool allows other folks (in this case restaurant owners) to customize the app easily. Again, no-code tools allow a lot more people with wonderful ideas to build solutions.

Here are two more examples:

It took only about two hours to build this app:

All these apps could have been created with code-based tools and frameworks. No-code simply allows to build faster and enables a lot more people to build.

This is just a very small sample of apps. I’m sure there are hundreds more.

Call for Code 2020 is a global code challenge that asks developers to build solutions to help with natural disasters. Now in year three out of five, Call for Code challenge is part of a 5-year Code and Response initiative where IBM is one of the founding members.

When Call for Code 2020 was launched at the end of February, the main theme was climate change. As Coronavirus spread accelerated in March, IBM decided to expand the challenge to take on Coronavirus. In addition to climate change, the challenge is asking developers to build solutions to help fight Coronavirus and keep the world safe.

To make it easier for developers to build solutions, IBM has created starter kits, ready-to-use solutions, that enable you to jump start you solution. For example, the chatbot starter kit allows you to understand how to create chatbots that can help people cope with a pandemic like COVID-19. There are numerous starter kits in four categories: AI, Data Science, Internet of Things and Platform Development.

Although there is official no-code track in Call for Code 2020 I believe no-code can allow a lot more people to build solutions to help with natural disasters, climate change and help fight Coronavirus. Image if first responders (paramedics, police officers, firefighters, rescuers, military personnel, public works, and other trained members) and anyone else who doesn’t have a traditional developer background could build solutions.

First responders know first hand what problems there are, many probably have ideas on how to solve them. What they don’t have are skills to build solutions using code. No-code will enable them to build these solutions.

We need to include everyone, not just first responders. Imagine if millions more people, who are not coders, could create and build software, invent new things. We would have new solutions that we probably don’t even imagine today.

But, I also believe that traditional developers and coders should consider using no-code tools. Just image how fast they would be able to build solutions (without needing to worry about underlying code, servers and infrastructure).

Many IBM Cloud services have APIs and many no-code solutions allow easy integration with external APIs. For example, the Watson Language Translatorservice allows translating translating text, documents, apps, and webpages. Watson Tone Analyzer service helps understand emotions and communication style in text. Such service might be used to analyze if people are in distress.

I’d encourage anyone who is ready to accept the challenge to look at no-code tools, integrate with IBM Cloud APIs and build new and innovative solutions.

Stay safe and healthy 🙌🏻

Posted on Apr 30 '19 by:


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