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No-Code Stack

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There's a huge trend for no-code nowadays. But don't trust every marketing website that says that you can build everything without code. As with any tool, no-code tools are great for their own area but don't rely on them to solve non-typical problem. Trust only those people/sites who built something decent (but not just the generic list of items fetched from some API) and shown how they built it.

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Webflow β€” website builder

It became a leader, and it's well-deserved.

It changed the way how we build sites. It allows us to iterate blazingly fast and easily. It educates designers on how HTML layout works so product designs become better. It brings together designers and developers to solve issues. It teaches product-led culture. It gives awesome templates to start from. It integrates with everything you want.

Complete MVPs of products or features can be built thanks to Webflow and its friends (zapier, airtable, typeform, sendgrid). Check how fun it is to use when you know some design and development understanding.

Other notable website builders:

  • Tilda. It's much simpler than WebFlow and allows you to build nice dynamic websites. It has a tone of great-looking optimized building blocks (ex. footers, testimonials, signup forms, effects). You can build creative things with zero-blocks and step-by-step animations. BUT: it's a Russian product and they target their marketing towards the Russian-language sector. What's a pity. But I still strongly recommend you try it out for your small project β€” see what you can build here (btw I built this small Accelerator announcement page in Tilda and Spline).
  • Readymag. It's more about crazy animated websites to get you noticed at awwwards. Check what you can build with it here. They provide a pretty weird set of tools and primitives, that shape sites built on it. This design becomes trendy today and I see it more often in big products landing pages.
  • πŸ‘ΆπŸ» Siter.io β€” just found out this tool recently. Haven't tried it yet but looks lightweight and powerful.

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Retool β€” no-code app builder

I don't have a decent live experience with no-code app builders. Frankly, from my experience β€” most of the people who scream how no-code won the game didn't build anything significant on these tools or even tried them out.

However, out of the rising number of no-code app builders, Retool got my attention and respect β€” I think they're moving in the right direction. I like how detailed their training videos are. The ease of use of their interface. The number of pre-built components and awesome docs. The ways to connect to data sources such as databases and APIs. Smart architecture which shortens the gap between developers and a no-code audience.

That's probably the reason why Retool is used by a number of big and agile modern companies (check their main page). If I was going to build the app of this category I'd likely follow after them.

Alternatives

  • Bubble.io β€” the most trending one but it wasn't as exciting as Retool for me. Good vision though.
  • UiBakery β€” not yet a popular tool, but I like their architecture too
  • Choose your alternative at MakerPad
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TypeForm β€” surveys, interviews, feedback & more

Yet another leader.

An easy-to-use product, applicable for a bunch of use-cases. Shoot a link to the clients for their feedback and make it friendly and interactive, replace apply form on your careers page, integrate a form into the product to collect feedback, build and design nice onboarding. Integrate with Slack, email, or anything else via Zapier to build your workflow.

Use it with their sub-product, VideoAsk to make your message personal, build async relation and increase conversion.

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I've been interviewing product managers for Paralect for 7 months. We started with classic local job boards and get low and badly qualified applications. I've moved a vacancy to Notion page hosted on Super with TypeForm+VideoAsk message and we started to get traffic to our website, more relevant applications and our applicants met me before the interview because of VideoAsk. You can use my vacancy for your company β€” it converts.

Alternatives

  • πŸ”₯ Tally β€” fresh product built on the intersection of TypeForm and Notion. Their functionality and UX look very promising
  • SurveyMonkey β€” leader
  • Google Forms β€” don't forget about the oldies
  • JotForm β€” lots of templates

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SendGrid β€” transactional & marketing emails

SendGrid's power is in the tools it gives to manage email workflows. Custom events, CRM, automation, built-in design builder, marketing and transactional email support, integrations, good API make it really easy to use, experiment, and evolve.

There are some limitations there: I think UX could be better; there are no A/B tests on marketing emails. But I don't know a better alternative for SendGrid's functionality. SendGrid was acquired by Twilio, so it's not clear where it goes now in terms of functionality and pricing.

Alternatives

  • Customer.io β€” closest to SendGrid, growing popularity, analytics, A/B tests
  • Mailgun β€” cheap, good simple API, mature
  • Mailchimp β€” marketing emails and automation leader

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Airtable β€” database, sheets & CRM

You probably heard and used it already.

If not β€” on the very top it's the visual database. You can refer to different tables, create aggregations (like Sum, Average etc.), store media format, filter your data conveniently. You can display your database as cards β€” and suddenly it looks like Trello, so you can use it as a simple CRM, or display it as a Roadmap. Airtable uses integration and opens API extensively, that what separates it from Google Sheets β€” you can use it as the functional backend for your MVP. And collect early users (I'll repeat it again and again).

Airtable evolves further, adds forms (think TypeForm), and adds application builder (think Webflow) upon the data it stores. I'd recommend using their app builder with caution, it doesn't look like it mature enough and likely we'll see other single-purpose apps that will do it much better.

Alternatives

  • Google Sheets β€” it's not that boring; it's functional and you can even build the application there; we manage a lot there in Paralect and add some fun to tables
  • Strapi β€” couldn't see a better alternative, so at least check them; Strapi is a headless CRM

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Zapier β€” automation & integration

Just browse through this doc to find how it used. Zapier is so big today that you better check it yourself.

It deserves its own category because I believe it changed the industry and add informal requirements for your product to stay alive β€” it needs to integrate with other tools and expose the data. It reduced vendor lock-in and built an ecosystem to migrate easily.

Competition drives innovation.

Alternatives

  • Integromat β€” funky UI to visualize workflow and conditions, more integrations and better pricing
  • Automate.io β€” leader
  • πŸ‘ΆπŸ» Autocode β€” it's small and distinguishable. It's targeted more on developers (was named stdlib before). It's a library and online editor to subscribe to events, process data, and send them to other services/APIs. As a developer, I'd like to see such a tool going popular and mature.