My “No-Code” Experience.
My “No-Code” experience, will be different from the posts I normally post. It was something new to me and just want to share my experience.
What is No-Code/Low-Code?
No-code development platforms (NCDPs) allow programmers and non-programmers to create application software through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming. No-code development platforms are closely related to low-code development platforms as both are designed to expedite the application development process.(According to Wikipedia)
What This Has To Do With Me?
For many years I have had the itch to do something again with programming. But things had changed. Not only in the world of programming, but also in my world/life.
My mind is not so quick anymore. I cannot stay focused for long and it takes a lot of time before I understand some things, or before I get the “click”. This is very demotivating for me and several times after trying different programming languages, I gave up. But the itch was/is still there.
Then one day when I was just browsing the internet, I came across a website called MIT App Inventor. The first look was nice. On this website, you could build your app by using blocks. The blocks you could connect to each other or place conditions in between, so you would get different results. The only “disadvantage” I could see in it, was that it only was possible for Android phones/tablets. For some strange reason, in my mind, I wanted something that could work on Android and iOs. Why? I have no idea. Maybe I was looking too far into the future?
So, I started to look for alternatives. And there was a lot. But every time I found something that I did not like.
Then I discovered No-Code/Low-Code platforms. There are so many. Each has its pros and cons.
Some are free to start but after maybe two weeks, you need to pay for it. Others only have the front-end but no backend. That means you can make your design, but for the storage of your data, you need to find that somewhere else.
After reading many reviews and watching many comparisons videos, I had narrowed my platform of choice, down to two sites. Appgyver and Glide. Still, each one had its pros and cons.
Appgyver was free to use. For life! The downside was that it had no database connected to it. So you need to get something different for the backend. And there are again different options and again different prices. But for the backend, my choice would be Backendless. They also have a free plan and I think, for the time being, that would be okay for me. The only remark that I heard every time about Appgyver, was that the learning curve was a bit steep.
And after watching more reviews, I went for Glide. With Glide you could create your app for Android or iOs. And it also had its own database/backend. They also have a free plan and looking at it, again, for the time being, this would be enough for me. It also looked a bit easier to learn than Appgyver. The thing that made me also go for Glide was, that after a short communication with someone on Youtube, who made several videos about Appgyver and Glide, he also advised me to start with Glide first. Just to get the hang of it and once I know how it worked, then go for Appgyver. Just because with Appgyver you could do a little bit more.
My First App.
After reading a lot about Glide and watching many tutorials on Youtube about Glide, this week I made the first step and gave it a go. No matter how much you read or watch videos, you only learn from doing it. And for sure, in the beginning, you would make many mistakes or things don’t work the way you would like to, but that is how you learn. By making mistakes and learning from them.
So, what would be my first project/challenge? That was a good question. I had several ideas, but I thought I would go for the “easiest” one. An app for keeping track of my scale models. For now, I had this in an Excel sheet. Just something simple. Like the model name, brand, scale, when I got it, from who I got it, when I started building it, and when it was finished.
So, I thought it would be nice to have it in an app. Just to see how Glide works and learn something new.
And as expected, things did not went smoothly. I had to learn a different way of thinking. Approaching things and how to solve things. My idea was still that making rules, conditions, and calculations, was done in the program itself. But with Glide, most of it is done inside your database or Glide table. In there you would do your calculations, make condition columns, and place your results. Then in the app itself, you “only” had to display the results. Only with some filters and sorting options in the app, you could change the results in the app.
The Finished Result.
After “struggling” for two/three days, posting my questions in the community forum, and changing my layout, I ended up with something I could live with. There were some limitations but in the end, I am very happy with the result.
This is how the opening screen of the app looks right now.
By clicking on the image, it will go to the next screen and I can see more details. Like the scale of the model, how many parts, the size, etc. I also then can switch it from being In Stock, to Being Built. to Done.
There are still some small things that I would like to change, but there is no hurry for it. I can change it whenever I want and it is very easy to install on my phone again.
It was very nice to make and create something myself. I felt like I had accomplished something again. Maybe it was something small, but it felt really good to me. It was a morale boost.
So what will be my next step? I still have some ideas that I would like to make. But I also would like to learn more about Glide.
Maybe an app to keep track of all the tv shows/series, I am watching. So I can see what I already had watched and what could be the next thing to watch. And which series I did not watch for some time. Or maybe give it a go at something like an address book.
When I feel more comfortable with Glide or have some more feel about how No-Code/Low-Code works, then I am thinking of making the move/switch towards Appgyver and Backendless.
And maybe once I got the hang of that, then I think it will be time that I start thinking about making my own app for my medication and reminders.
But that is something for the future.
For now, I will continue with building my scale models, work on both of my blogs/websites, and see how it will go with creating the next app.
I hope you liked this kind of post. As I already mentioned, it would be something different for a change.
Please, you all take care and stay safe.
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