Our favorite no-code development platforms for startups & businesses

Our favorite no-code development platforms for startups & businesses

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of no-code development platforms floating out in the market today. It seems like every other week there’s a new no-code tool popping up which claims to make some process or another easier and faster.

Given the number of options, it can be pretty overwhelming to make sense of them all. But what we’ve learned is that there’s no singular “best” no-code tool. That’s because it really depends upon your unique use case and needs. 

Over the years, we’ve tested and used many no-code development tools. We’ve chosen Bubble as our preferred building platform for our clients’ products, however, there are several other tools we really like and would recommend. 

Below, we’ll go through a high-level overview of some of our favorite tools, highlighting different use cases in which each tool would be more applicable. Hopefully, this will help simplify a few things so you can make a decision and move forward with building your app. 

Our 4 favorite no-code development platforms 

(1) Airtable

Airtable is a no-code tool that combines the functionality of a spreadsheet with the power of a database. It's designed to help users organize and manage various types of data in a flexible and customizable way. With Airtable, you can create custom fields, design your own views, and collaborate with others in real-time.

Here are some common use cases for Airtable:

  • Project management: Airtable can be used to track tasks, deadlines, and progress across different projects.
  • Content planning: you can use Airtable to plan and organize content for blogs, social media, or other marketing campaigns.
  • Event planning: Airtable can be used to manage guest lists, schedules, and other details for events of all sizes.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM): Airtable can be used to keep track of customer information and order history
  • Inventory management: you can use Airtable to track inventory levels, orders, and shipments for businesses of all sizes.

Here are some limitations of Airtable:

  • Limited UX capabilities: while Airtable does have the ability to build various interfaces, those interfaces need to follow a particular structure and they have a lot of limitations.
  • Limited reporting: Airtable doesn't have advanced reporting capabilities, which can make it difficult to generate complex reports or analytics.
  • Limited automation: Airtable does have some automation options, but they may not be as robust as some other tools on the market.
  • Cost: Airtable charges a per-user fee, which may end up being cost prohibitive when lots of users need to use a particular tool.

(2) Zapier

Zapier is an automation tool that connects various web applications and allows users to automate workflows between them. It's designed to help users streamline repetitive tasks and improve productivity by automating manual processes. With Zapier, you can very quickly create custom workflows, or "Zaps", that trigger actions between different apps, without requiring any coding knowledge. Think of it as a connective tissue for the internet – when one thing happens somewhere, it can do something else somewhere else. It’s also commonly paired with Airtable.

Here are some common use cases for Zapier:

  • Lead generation and management: Zapier can be used to automate lead capture from various sources, such as forms, landing pages, or chatbots, and route them to the appropriate sales or marketing teams.
  • Social media management: Zapier can be used to automate social media posting, scheduling, or monitoring, by connecting various social media platforms with other tools such as Google Sheets, Trello, or Slack.
  • E-commerce management: Zapier can be used to automate various e-commerce tasks, such as order processing, inventory management, or shipping notifications, by connecting e-commerce platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce with other tools like Gmail or Zapier's own built-in tools.
  • Productivity and collaboration: Zapier can be used to automate various productivity and collaboration tasks, such as task management, file sharing, or team communication, by connecting tools such as Asana, Google Drive, or Slack.

Here are some limitations of Zapier:

  • Limited integration customization: while Zapier provides a wide range of integrations, some may have limited functionality.
  • Lack of advanced data processing: Zapier allows you to do basic data manipulation but you’ll quickly run into limitations if you need to do anything more complex.
  • No interfaces: Zapier is purely a backend tool and you’d need to connect it to other tools in order to expose data to users in an interface.

(3) Webflow

Webflow is a website builder and design tool that allows users to create responsive websites without code. It's designed to help users create professional-looking websites with a drag-and-drop interface and a range of pre-designed templates and components. With Webflow, users can also customize their websites using CSS and HTML and integrate with various third-party tools.

Here are some common use cases for Webflow:

  • Website creation: Webflow can be used to create custom websites for businesses, portfolios, or personal blogs, with a wide range of pre-designed templates and components.
  • Landing pages: Webflow can be used to create custom landing pages for marketing campaigns, with features such as A/B testing, form submissions, and analytics.
  • Content management: Webflow can be used to manage and publish website content, with features such as CMS collections, dynamic lists, and multi-language support.

Here are some limitations of Webflow:

  • Learning curve: while Webflow is designed to be user-friendly, it can still take some time to learn the more advanced features and customization options, especially if you have no prior experience with website design or development.
  • Limited customization: while Webflow provides a range of customization options, some may require coding knowledge or advanced design skills.
  • Limited integrations: while Webflow does have some integrations with other tools, it may not work with all of the apps or services that your organization uses.
  • Limited backend functionality: Webflow does allow you to have a simple CMS for building blogs, etc. but anything with more complex backend functionality (e.g. full web apps) aren’t possible.

(4) Bubble

Last, but very much not least, is our favorite platform, Bubble, which is a tool for building custom web applications. The reason why we love Bubble is because of how flexible the platform is. There are very few limitations when it comes to the kind of a web application that you want to build – almost any UI, functionality, and integrations are feasible.

Here are some common use cases for Bubble:

  • Startups: Bubble is very commonly used by startups, for either just their initial product MVP or for their production version, depending on the product requirements.
  • Two-sided marketplaces: marketplaces are one of the most commonly built applications on Bubble. That’s because it’s easy to build common marketplace features like browsing, search, messaging, payments, and more.
  • SaaS tools: Bubble is a great tool for building subscription-based software, in both B2B and B2C markets.
  • Internal tooling: companies from SMBs to enterprises use Bubble to build tools to support their various internal processes, integrate with their existing systems, and process/analyze data.

Here are some limitations of Bubble:

  • Learning curve: because Bubble is such a flexible tool it also takes a while to master it to the point where you’re able to build production-grade applications.
  • Mobile: Bubble allows you to build mobile-responsive apps but not native mobile apps, so if you’re looking to build something that needs native features (e.g. Uber with real-time location), it’s not going to be the best fit.

How to decide which no-code development platform to use

While still important, choosing a no-code tool to build your app on is more than just doing a feature breakdown and comparing specs. It’s first and foremost about identifying your specific use case, defining your project requirements, and understanding how that might apply to your own immediate and long-term goals. 

Get The Quick Guide to No-Code: The startup & business guide to building apps faster & leaner without code for more tips on how to analyze no-code development platforms and choose the right tool for your goals and needs.