No-Code Technology: Is it the Future of Blockchain?

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Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”

Table of contents:

  1. What is no-code technology?
  2. What’s the difference between no-code and low-code?
  3. How did no-code technology start?
  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of no-code?
    - Advantages
    - Disadvantages
  5. Are there no-code tools for blockchain?

In every field, innovators strive to create simpler, cheaper, and easier-to-use technology. Blockchain is no exception. As the blockchain space expands and grows, people are looking to expand its user base and implement blockchain in more varied use cases. For this to happen, developing blockchain tools needs to be accessible and affordable. That’s why more and more no-code platforms are being created for blockchain. So what is no-code and how can it benefit you? Let’s find out.

What is no-code technology?

No-code or “zero-code” platforms are tools for building apps without coding knowledge or other hard technical skills. It is also sometimes referred to as “visual programming.”

With no-code, you don’t need any special knowledge or skills to create an app. A no-code development platform allows you to simply select what you want your program to do; the backend coding required is done automatically. In this way, no-code allows everyone to make software, and not just highly skilled developers. Some no-code technologies are known as What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) because you can see the outcome of your work in real time.

A number of no-code and low-code platforms are widely available and quite popular, because they simplify complex tasks. You’ve probably heard of website constructors like Squarespace, Wix, or Universe. These applications allow you to create and customize your own website, a task which once required a great deal of specialized expertise. Other popular no-code platforms are the email marketing service Mailchimp, workflow manager Notion, and Airtable, an app development tool.

What’s the difference between no-code and low-code?

No-code (or zero-code) and low-code refer to the amount of programming required to create an application on a given platform. (You may even see these terms used interchangeably.) Low-code platforms might mean the platform requires a bare minimum of coding knowledge or that it offers the option to manually code more advanced features. Low-code is intended for both regular users and professional developers.

No-code tools give predefined templates with no coding required whatsoever. For that reason, no-code tools are more likely to use visual programming. This is sometimes called What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) tools, because you monitor your work in real time instead of executing textual code. No-code tools are more suitable for ordinary users as they require very little training.

How did no-code technology start?

The first no-code services were launched back in the 1990s. As personal computers became exponentially more popular, there was huge demand for tools that could be used by everyone, regardless of your background. Many of these early no-code tools pioneered visual programming, in which programming is done with graphical objects, rather than textual code.

One of the most popular early no-code platforms was Dreamweaver, developed by Macromedia in 1997 and later acquired by Adobe. Dreamweaver gave everyone the chance to easily create custom websites, without needing proficiency in CSS or HTML. More than 20 years later, Dreamweaver is still available and in use!

A screengrab from Dreamweaver 1997

Another popular early no-code website creator was Microsoft’s FrontPage, available from 1997 to 2003.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of no-code?

Advantages

  • Simplification: No-code or low-code platforms allow anyone to create software, regardless of their background or skill level.
  • Affordability: Launching a product with no-code is far cheaper than managing a dedicated team of developers.
  • Less tedious backend work: Since a no-code platform handles the backend (behind the scenes) programming, developers are freed up to work on more exciting, forward-thinking, or customer-facing elements.
  • Low stakes: Since no-code platforms are cheaper, easier, and less time-consuming, users have more freedom to experiment and take risks. They also often have built-in guidelines and structures to avoid common pitfalls, especially with security.

Disadvantages

  • Limited versatility: It’s difficult to create truly custom features without third-party plugins or writing your own code. Apps created on no-code platforms may be overly simplified or similar to other, competing programs.
  • Reduced scalability: Many no-code tools are not equipped to handle very large applications, so a no-code platform may struggle to meet demand If your product takes off and acquires many new users.
  • Centralization: Relying on a single external service to create and run your platform can create vulnerabilities. If your development platform experiences an outage, raises its prices, or shuts down altogether, you will need to deal with those issues.
  • Licensing fees: While you may save on the cost of dedicated coders and developers, no-code platforms can still be pricey. For example, at Mendix, a low-code app development platform, a single application license starts at $1,875 per month. Licensing fees can also increase as your application attracts more users.

Are there no-code tools for blockchain?

No-code technology can be used to create new tools in just about every industry, and blockchain is no exception. That’s why we at Pontem Network created Pontem Blocks, a visual programming platform for Diem.

Facebook is currently developing their own permissioned blockchain using a proprietary token called Diem. This has the potential to revolutionize the blockchain space by bringing Facebook’s 2.8 billion users into the fold. This represents a huge opportunity to create new blockchain applications. Pontem Network is an incentivized testnet for Diem (similar to Kusama for PolkaDot) where developers can start experimenting and creating applications.

Chris Wanstrath, the CEO of Github, has said, “The future of coding is no coding at all.

That’s why we made Pontem Blocks, the first dedicated low-code development tool for Diem. This is a tool for easily creating blockchain apps on the decentralized Pontem Network that can be easily adapted to the Diem blockchain in the future. These apps are coded with the new Move programming language to maintain compatibility. Pontem Blocks affords users all the benefits of low-code that we’ve discussed here: simplicity, affordability, and ease-of-use. You can check out our Pontem Blocks prototype here.

We believe low-code and no-code platforms are the future of blockchain. Lowering barriers to entry for new users is essential to utilizing this revolutionary technology to its full potential.

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The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

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  1. Blockchain fees. Most NFTs are issued on the Ethereum blockchain, where you have to pay for gas. NFT minting involves a complex smart contract and thus requires a lot more gas than simply sending crypto. Plus, the gas has been very expensive in the past few months, so you can expect to pay at least $50–100 in gas fees per NFT collection.
  2. Marketplace fees. While you can issue an NFT on your own, it will be hard to promote it and find buyers. That’s why most creators work with NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible. And while minting NFTs on OpenSea is technically gasless and free, there is a gas fee to initialize a seller account and accept a bid from a buyer — expect to pay around $150 in total. On Rarible, the costs can exceed $600.
  • Facebook has almost 3 billion monthly active users, giving Diem the largest potential audience of any blockchain project on earth;
  • The stablecoin will probably get integrated into transactions on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Whatsapp (shopping, paying for ads, sending money to friends etc.);
  • Facebook can afford to hire the best developers and marketers, so the execution and promotion will be top-notch;
  • Diem’s programming language, Move, is safe, flexible, and well-suited for writing smart contracts;
  • It should be possible to add third-party dApps to the Diem ecosystem — think of WeChat with its thousands of mini programs, but on blockchain.

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