How To Build A Web App With No Code In 2023: The Ultimate Guide
Last updated: 09/06/2023
So you’re a business owner or entrepreneur looking to create a web app. You’re sold on the benefits of the no-code web app development approach but you don’t know where to get started.
You’ve come to the right place! We’ve made this article to act as a guide to walk you through the different stages of building a web app without writing any code.
Reading this should give you a birds eyes view on the entire process and sharpen your awareness around what to watch out for. So that you don’t start this process blind and end up wasting time, money or energy.
- It will take about 5-6 weeks (our estimate) to launch your new web app
- To save time, start planning what tools you will use and the problem your web app solves before doing anything else
- There will be lots more competition in the web app space. You need to find a way to stand out.
- Do your homework on the platform you choose to use. This could be a make or break factor
- Testing becomes more important as you need to test the website itself & the web app functionality
The 8 stages we’ll cover
- Define your idea (2 days)
- Requirements and scope (2 days)
- Design the User Interface (1.5 weeks)
- Choose Your tech stack (2 days)
- No code Development (2 weeks)
- Testing (1 week)
- Deployment/Launching (1 day)
Step 1: Define your idea
The first step is to identify the problem or need your web app will solve.
Web apps are becoming easier to build so there’s lot’s more competition. You need to figure out how you’re going to be better than others
Set some clear goals you want to achieve with the app and objectives in terms of timeline & functionality
At this stage you will also want to draw out your marketing plan for how to promote the launch of the app and how to grow & scale things after the launch.
If the idea for your app isn’t an entirely new concept, you should look into researching existing solutions (competitors) to see how their app functions and ways you can better it
Step 2: Requirements and scope
The next step is to outline the technical requirements for you app. The best way to do this is by answering questions like these:
Do you need login functionality?
What type of authentication?: Via email & password? Password-less? Google log in? Social login (Facebook)?
Are you going to need payments? Stripe?
What pages do you need?
How complex is your idea?
Are you going to need any other APIs? e.g. Chat GPT
Where are you going to store your data? Airtable, Xano?
How many users do you plan to have visiting the site monthly?
Are you going to design/build/test yourself? Start exploring your options for no-code developers
Once you’ve answered these questions (or questions similar), you will have a much deeper understanding on how your idea will manifest functionally.
Step 3: Design the User Interface
As we keep on saying, there’s a lot of competition out there. So having a better design than your competitors can give you the edge on them because users will opt for your site
Using the scope/requirements, you can start by wireframing the web app. Make sure to design the user flow/journey in a way that makes sense.
On the login page (or modal) make sure to include the error messages if a user isn’t signed in, forget password links and “Sign Up instead” links.
Our no-code design tool of choice is Figma. You can design all the pages you need on there easily. We estimate the design stage will take 1.5 - 4weeks depending on how ready you are to go.
Once this stage is coming nearer to the end, you should aim to gather feedback and improve the initial designs. Quality User Interface can really be a break or make factor. Don’t forget mobile designs too!
Step 4: Choose your tech stack
Step 4 is to choose your tech stack (the right No Code Development Platform(s)).
Basic requirements you will need:
- A frontend tool - to build out the website visual part of the website
- A backend tool - to build the actions on the site & set up requests
- A database tool - to store user & other data
There’s some platforms which do all 3 in one, and other which can do 2 in one.
In fact there’s a ton of great no-code platforms you have to choose from so this where you need to start researching.
For each platform you should be:
- Looking at their pricing plans
- Seeing what features they have to offer
- Finding out where it supports your requirements/scope
- Reading reviews/testimonials on people who have tried it
- Watching at least 1 video on how to use it
- Ensuring they have solid platform security
- Finding out what platforms they integrate with
- Find out the complimentary platforms they work well with too
- Speak with people/no-code developers on what platforms they recommend
We’d highly recommend to take at the least a couple days to complete this. You don’t want to be halfway through development and realise there was a much better option for your web app
Step 5: No code Development
Okay well done for making it this far! So by now you should have:
- a clear idea on your web app idea
- a high quality design of the pages on your app (mobile too)
- a decision on which no-code platforms are right for you
- a team or freelancer to help
Development should take around 2 weeks. We’re going to use the example of build out a course platform.
Building the frontend
Our tool of choice here is Webflow! This should be a fairly easy stage. Here you will build out the login, signup & forget password, dashboard, landing page, about, contact pages…
As this will be an extensive build make sure to follow best practices when it comes to building. This will save you time later on!
Configuring Data and Integrations
Here you want to setup the tools that you will be using to get data from and send data to. The tools we have tried and enjoyed using personally are Wized, Airtable, Xano and Memberstack.
In order to create a new user, we need to check whether one exists already.
Check what? Your Users database.
How do we get access to that database? Via a GET list request (triggered on page load or so)
Okay got it. So how do we create a new user? You need to add the user to your database.
How do we do that? Via a POST request (triggered when the users presses sign up)
To explain a little, a GET request gets data and a POST request sends data. Requests will then receive responses.
Most web apps will require users to signup in some way. In order to protect your users you need to make sure proper authentication is set up, especially if you’re dealing with sensitive info.
With no-code tools you will usually get a bunch of prebuilt functions for authentication so choose the one which works best for you.
Next stage is to build the flows and functions. For example here’s what a login could look like:
- Getting the user email from the email input
- Check if the users exists
- If not, create a new user
- Send a one-time link to the email
- Redirect them to the dashboard page when confirmed)
You’ll need to hook up to the frontend buttons to these actions & flows. This is how you build up interactivity with your app. For this to work well you frontend and back end will start communicating with each other
Step 6: Testing
The next stage to building your no-code web app is to test it. A lot. As much as you can.
Testing because even more important if you are:
- dealing with sensitive user info
- expecting to get lots of traffic to the site (more than 250 daily visits)
- taking payment from the website
Things don’t work the way they should perfectly the first time round. That’s normal.
After the first build iteration is highly likely you will come across bugs, dysfunctional aspects of the platform, requests not happening or failing etc.
Debugging is the process of first identifying the cause of those problems and attempting to resolve them. It’s a key part in any type of web development
Some no-code tools provide debugging functions which can help with the debugging process. It’s also critical to get some users to test your product too & give feedback.
If you have an enterprise level budget - you may even want to look at working with specialist QA agencies who will undergo rigorous testing of your platform & give detailed reports
Remember you’re not just testing the web app functionality alone! You need to test the other static parts of the website as you normally would with web development too.
Lucky for you we wrote an article on Website Quality Assurance
Step 7: Deployment/Launching
Once you’ve implemented all the the feedback from testing & finalised bits of copy. You’re ready to launch
The next steps are to:
- purchase the plan from your web app platform (if you haven’t already)
- hook up your custom domain
- remove any debugging tools
- clean up any test users from your database
- turn off Beta/testing mode on any other platforms you were using
Yes you should go out to celebrate the launch of your platform! But over the first few hours, days and weeks keep a close eye out for any hiccups or things that don’t look right.
Also stay in close communication with your dev team and make sure you’re taking onboard user feedback
Step 8: Maintaining
The maintenance of no-code web apps is a much more easy, straightforward and quicker than traditional development. Most no-code tools will give you built in reports on your page traffic (still would recommend setting up Google Analytics and Hotjar)
Making design changes can be done with the visual editor which makes things straightforward.
You should also get an email notification making you aware of any security threats or risks with the app.
At this point the plan you made in step 1 when defining the idea for your web app will become relevant yet again and will need to be revisited to plan your strategy from here
It is possible to build no-code web apps at the same quality as traditional development in way less time.
The numbers (in terms of timeline) we have given are just estimates taken from our own experience. If you wanted to and were able to, you can complete this entire process in 1 week or less. But if you’re app is super complex or you don’t have a team working on it, it can take over 10 weeks.
Feel free to read out article on the benefits of using no code web app development. And for a balanced argument you can read our subsequent article on the 10 disadvantages of no code web app development.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is no-code web app development?
No-code web app development is a new way of building web apps without requiring an extensive knowledge of how to code or any programming skills. It used pre-built components and the visual drag-and-drop editors/interfaces write out the code for you. The No-code approach is often significantly faster and cheaper than traditional web app development.
Do I need coding skills to build web apps with no code?
No, you do not need coding skills to build web apps using no-code platforms. There is a visual editor which is designed to empower people with no knowledge of programming to create web apps as it writes out code for you. However having an understanding of how coding, requests and back-end development work will give you an advantage.
Can complex web applications be built with no code?
It depends on the type of web app but Yes complex web apps can & have been built with no code tools. For example complex Property Booking Web Apps and advanced course platforms which all support features like social log in.
How can I learn no-code web app development?
YouTube is a great place to start when learning no-code web app development. Depending on which no-code platform you opt for, there will be video tutorials on how to navigate the platform walkthroughs on building a simple application. There will also be Forums and Discord servers which you can turn to for support if you get stuck.
We hope this article was useful!
We are Step Labs - a Webflow & Shopify web design & development agency! We'd love to be the team that works with you on your next project. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written By: Victor @ Step Labs