Do you think that it’s only coders who get to have all the fun? Do you think the only way to build cool tools is to slog through computer science MOOCs and learn-to-code classes? Are you afraid that you’ll never be able to create something awesome without camping out on Stack Overflow?
I don’t know about you, but this means nothing to me: “Failed to build after upgrade to flutter 1.2.” (That’s an actual question on Stack Overflow.) I don’t think I care what flutter 1.2 is, or why the earlier version wasn’t good enough.
So far, that has been a problem for me. I have burned my way through plenty of Codecademy, Treehouse, freeCodeCamp.org, and Learn Python the Hard Way classes, and I still can’t build an app from scratch. I’m also a drop-out of the Harvard CompSci MOOC, although I liked the first few lessons.
One day I said: Enough is enough. I love tech. I want to make something cool. There’s got to be a way, right? Here’s what I found.
Make Your Own Mobile App
One way to make something tech-y and cool is through platforms such as appypie appmakr (that’s really how they spell it), Adalo, buildfire, Andromo, and so on. As far as I can tell, you want to look for an app builder with a name that is not a real word. If you’re really lucky, the capitalization will be strange. My automatic spell check went crazy when I wrote this paragraph.
These oddly-spelled tools are called no-code development platforms. You probably won’t be able to create the next best selling app in the iTunes store with one of these, but you can definitely have some fun over a weekend. (I guess that depends on your idea of fun. But since you’re reading this, I gather you think building tech stuff is cool.)
It seems that no-code platforms are getting a little better over time, especially when you want to make a virtual presentation. I don’t know if you remember early WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors for websites, but they were pretty terrible once. They weren’t as easy to use as advertised, they generated a bazillion lines of junk code, and your website usually ended up looking like you didn’t know what you were doing. Now we have the Gutenberg editor from WordPress, and it’s insane how easy to use it is.
Speaking of websites, that brings me to my next point:
Build a Cool Website
That’s right. You can make cool websites now, even if you don’t know how to code.
There used to be two ways to make a website: The cool way or the easy way. But you couldn’t have both.
(Actually, you could make ugly, boring websites the hard way, too. Ignore that fact for now. My point is: It was pretty much impossible to build a beautiful website without knowing a lot about programming.)
Now you can sign up for an account with Wix or Squarespace and make your own website fast. No coding knowledge is required, and chances are, it will look terrific, too. Take that, MySQL sysadmins and PHP hackers.
Make Your Own Messenger Bot
If you have any kind of online business where people contact you through a Facebook page, you might love this one. You can build a bot to handle most customer inquiries—no coding knowledge required here, either.
A well-made bot responds to customers faster than you could even if you were sitting at your computer. You know how much customers love instant gratification. Try this tutorial if you’re interested; it’s called How to Build a Facebook Chat Bot.
Use Raspberry Pi Without Coding
If you love tech, you probably know what the Raspberry Pi is. Typically, projects for this tiny piece of nerd heaven were geared towards people who could handle some light coding as a minimum. But, like everything else I’ve mentioned in this article, time marches on. The people who know how to code are making it easier for the rest of us wanna-be geeks.