We’re in the code management business. Our customers are agencies that rely on us to fix complex coding problems and code-related issues. So why are we sold on the “No Code Movement”? Because we don’t love code problems, code conflicts, bugs, security issues and upgrade issues and everything else that can go wrong. We deal with, grapple with those issues and have a system for solving problems involving code. That doesn’t mean we want to invite those issues to occur on either our own projects or yours.
Websites obviously are made of code. This hasn’t changed, this will never change unless in some far off future there is some form of internet that doesn’t use current technologies at all. So when you do a “no code solution” it means no additional code, no custom code. And this has both advantages and drawbacks. The obvious drawback is if you want to do something that the tools available can’t do, then you are SOL (Shit out of Luck)!
Here is the good news, and the reason we changed our views on in the last couple of years since the rise of Elementor and related technologies. What you can do today, using WordPress, WooCommerce, Elementor, JetPlugins and other leading technologies, is unprecedented. Elementor page builder is so good it convinced us that in most cases writing custom templates is pointless. Elementor is a faster way to create page templates, it allows focus on design, it’s just plain more efficient and enables reuse of designs elements via JSON template exports, which actually results in elements being reused. Whereas we know that although custom code templates can be reused, they almost never are in practice.
Today no code solutions can produce websites that have dynamic features by using plugins such as ACF (Advanced Custom Fields), JetEngine and other related technologies. Items can be shown or hidden based on user status and roles so that you can show public visitors one view and logged in members another. Many websites driven entirely by 3rd party plugins are now being crafted with features that make look as if they were engineered with custom code.
We’re still at the relatively early stages of what can be done without writing custom code. Elementor is not alone despite being overwhelmingly the top product in it’s category today. Oxygen page builder and others are also competing for this lucrative market. We think of these as “modern page builders”. Then there is Gutenberg, which is striving forward with rapid releases of new features, and already has it’s own ecosystem of integration plugins that might someday rival the capabilities of the page builder market.
The future is bright for all these directions. Will there still be a place for custom coding? Of course, because websites will still be invented that cannot fit into the mold of off-shelf solutions. Sites that have specific feature sets that cannot be found through any combination of plugins available. That scenario though becomes less common as new features emerge. Take for instance JetEngine, one of our favorite no-code plugins that provides a turnkey approach to making custom post types, taxonomies, option pages, fields and listing grids. In other words it’s a toolkit that provides tools for building. It doesn’t on it’s own provide anything, instead it gives the user the tools to craft content types and display them using Elementor. These kind of versatile tools bridge the gap between coded and no-code solutions, allowing developers and non-developers to work toward unique features.