How No-code speeds up product development

Hello! I am a computer programmer. I love writing code and I want to share how the No-code approach allows me to do it better and more efficiently.

What is no-code
This is the solution of problems that programmers usually solve, without programming itself. In a narrow sense, this is just a set of services, in a broad sense, it is an approach to development that allows you to save time and money, while getting results.

The beauty of the new approach is that it is compatible with the old one, they can be easily combined with good results in a short time. This is what I want to demonstrate.

What was my problem
I’m developing a Creatium website builder and we have a free trial period which unfortunately attracts scammers.

Bad people register, create websites and place malicious scripts on them, or impersonate others and fraudulently obtain customer data.

Further, bad people use a link to our test subdomain (* with a good reputation and thus set us up.

Several times we were blocked by VK and Google, showing visitors of test sites the following message:

It may take up to a week for the lock to be lifted. Fortunately, this did not affect the working second-level domains, they continued to work normally.

How we solved the problem before
The approach to solving the problem is simple – you need to detect and block malicious sites before they are detected by Google.

To do this, we compiled a list of suspicious phrases from sites that we blocked, and every time someone published a page in the editor, we looked for matches. This was done automatically, the results of the check came to a special channel in Slack.

Phrase examples: giveaway, viagra, location.href, password, etc.

The first version of the site verification system was developed for two weeks, and it had significant drawbacks:

Lack of analytics. Over several years, we collected about 6,000 suspicious phrases, many of which later never led to the discovery of new malicious sites. We had no idea which phrases were effective and which were just wasting our time.
Repeated triggers. If the page is re-published a day later, another notification will come to the Slack channel, although we have already checked this page.
Weak check. We tracked only phrases, often missed redirects to other sites and connection of suspicious scripts.
At one point, it became clear that a new system was needed to correct these shortcomings.

A new approach to problem solving
The list of suspicious phrases from the admin panel was moved to Google Sheets, columns were added to track performance. It immediately became more convenient to work.

It was

And so it became
Redesigned the way to check pages. They now open in a virtual browser that keeps track of all external scripts, redirects, frames, and links. This part is made by code, since No-code does not yet know how to do this. Anything that seems suspicious is sent to the Slack channel.
If the “False Alarm” button is pressed in Slack, the script adds a flag to the database that we trust this page and should not be reported again on reposts.

The Blocked or Fixed button triggers another script branch that increments the block count in Google Sheets so we can track performance.

In addition, both buttons remove the notification in Slack so that you can work with the channel in the Inbox Zero method.

Saving time and money
If we programmed all this, it would take 2 weeks. And so I spent 3 days alone.

We saved time on creating interfaces – for this we use the Slack channel and Google Sheets. We saved time on writing integrations between individual parts of the system – for this we use Integromat. However, now we pay for it 30 dollars a month.

The most valuable thing is that I can spend the saved time on the most important part of the system – the mechanism for checking suspicious sites, and make it high quality.

Future for No-code?
Developing something with the help of programmers is long and expensive, sometimes unpredictable. But you can do almost anything, if the budget allows.

No-code development is cheaper, takes less time, but has many limitations.

By combining these approaches, you can achieve better results than using each approach separately.
Does no-code threaten classical development?
I believe that in the future the no-code approach will be used more often, and more and more business tasks will be solved without code. But does this mean that programmers will no longer be in demand, and in the end they will be replaced by designers and neural networks? Let’s figure it out.

My name is Vyacheslav Grimalsky, I am the founder of the Creatium website builder. Obviously, I am an interested party, but I will try to be objective.

Briefly about No-code
No-code (no-code, zero-code) is a solution to problems that programmers usually solve without programming itself, that is, development without code, using constructors.

There are two extremes
As a no-code advocate, I can’t help but debate this topic, and I often see two opposite extremes.

In one, people say that No-code is good for nothing, the hype will subside, and people will continue to quietly program for themselves, as they have always done.

At the other extreme, people say that programmers will soon have a very hard time, because soon there will be no work left. Here is an example of such an opinion.

Only the Sith make everything absolute, so I want to put everything in its place.

Why is No-code becoming popular?
There are many reasons, here are a few.

The first reason is modern business education.

It says that hypotheses need to be tested, and get feedback from potential customers as early as possible.

You may be right a thousand times over, but what’s the point if your product doesn’t sell? It’s a nightmare to spend a lot of money and time developing a product that ends up being useless. I have been through this myself, and I know many who have been in the same situation.

Therefore, if you have an idea, you need to build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and test it on real customers. Make sure they are willing to pay for it, and only then start full development in code, knowing that you are on the right track.

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