4 Best No Code Backend Development Tools
“Backends are generally where many no coders start struggling. Traditionally, sever side logic and databases have left no-coders scratching their heads. However, in today’s tutorial I’m going to show you some easy to use no code backends that will help you develop your apps.”
What are the Best No Code Backend & Server Tools? Here Are My Favs
In today’s tutorial, we’re going to talk about the best backend tools for no-coders. This is an important topic because backends are where no-coders traditionally struggle. The result is that many no-coders create oversimplified apps, not because they want to, but because they don’t know how to do otherwise.
After today’s video all of that is going to change. I’m going to share with you some of the backend tools that we’ve used to grow our portfolio of 12 sites to a value of over 1 million dollars. If you’d like to learn how to build digital SaaS products without having to know how to code, head over to kibi.one to learn about our no-code incubator program. I’ll include a link in the description as well as a coupon code for $100 off enrollment.
Okay, so let’s jump in.
First, I want to talk about Xano. Xano is one of my favorite no-code backends. The thing that I like most about Xano is that they’ve abstracted the backend away from to a large extent, but that abstraction doesn’t come at the cost of performance or power.
So essentially, with Xano, you have the power of a traditional database without the complexity. I’ll create a dedicated tutorial about Xano soon. But let me show you a couple of examples.
First, notice here that I have a database table and it’s laid out as an easy to understand spreadsheet. I can add a new column, select this column’s data type and my table is updated. Now I can manually populate this information right now. However, more likely is that I’ll have my users manipulate this data through some sort of front-end interface that links back to this specific database, or I might decide to populate this database with information pulled in from some third party API. All of these scenarios are easy with Xano.
So now that I have this table ready, Xano will automatically create API endpoints for this specific table. If I navigate over to my API section, Here, you’ll notice my endpoints. So for example, if I grab this endpoint and paste it into my browser, you’ll see the database information that I previously posted here.
Now, if you don’t know what APIs are, and you feel a bit lost, just think of them like a communication channel that allows disparate systems to communicate with each other. Essentially, APIs allow you to take otherwise disconnected systems and then mash them up together into one cohesive system.
So in this case, we take data from xano and then we can use this Api endpoint to expose data in our database for any other application that wants to interact with it. For example, we could link to a front-end to display this data to front-end users, and the api would be the glue that binds these otherwise disparate systems together.
For example, imagine that NASA is publishing the velocity of the international space station and updating their speedin real time. If they expose that data to the public, which they do. I can use Xano to go and fetch that data and store it in my database. So now that the data is in my database, I can organize, filter or slice and dice the data in any way I want and then visualize it anyway I want in my front-end, or give my data to others to visualize in their front-end.
So that’s an oversimplified version of APIs.
But Xano isn’t just databases to store data and it’s not just about APIs to expose that data. If we drill down and look at the anatomy of a Xano API we’ll see that we have this “function stack” section here.
Now this is a powerful feature because now I can manipulate the data that I’m storing in my database. Now traditionally, writing functions require that you get your hands dirty in code. And to date, not many no-code tools have excelled in this area. But Xano changes all of that by making this function stack feature no code as well.
For example, imagine you were building a social media app and you wanted to show the number of followers each of your users had. You would need to have a function that would be able to iterate through a list and count the number of user connections. With Xano, you can do that without writing a line code. I can simply add a new function to my stack here and then it’s pretty much just a matter of clicking buttons and understanding your application’s logic.
The same is true when adding filters to variables. You can easily do things like make conversions, round numbers, concatenate text and much more… all without writing a line of code.
So that’s Xano and how Xano handle’s data, APIs and functions. But so far, all of this data is still stuck in a backend somewhere. This doesn’t mean much for no-coders unless we can inject this data into a front-end somehow. So how do we do that?
Well, all we need to do is simply plug any of your API endpoints, which contain dynamic data that you could manipulate through your function stack, and then you can inject that data output into most no-code front-ends for your users to consume.
For example, Bubble, AppGyver, Bravo Studio and Wappler to name only a handful of examples could all easily connect to your Xano database and display the data in a front-end.
So rather than speaking in abstractions let me show you how this works. For example, imagine we wanted to create an automated task to track the velocity of the international space station every 1 minute.
In Xano, this would be easy to do using their tasks feature. And here, you’ll see I have a task setup. In my function stack, I’m simply fetching data from this API. Extracting the data I want, and then storing that data within my database. Now that this data is stored in my own database, I can use the automatically generated Xano API endpoints to view that data. Now I have this data updating every 1 minute within my database.
If I wanted to constantly add new entries, rather than updating a single entry every one minute I could do that and my API endpoint would look like this.
So let me show you how this works with Wappler, a great no-code front-end editing tool, but keep in mind, the logic is the same for most no-code front-ends. Again, I just want you to realize that I’m not writing a line of code either in the front-end or backend to do any of this.
So here, in Wappler, under “api data source” I could simply enter my Xano API endpoint. Here, I’ll grab the Xano endpoint with many different table entries. Then I’ll click on “define API schema” and then to the right, I’ll see the different columns of my Xano database. Now, for example, let’s imagine I want to display all of this data, so I’ll just click on “data” here and everything within the data object will be accessible to my front-end.
So now our front-end has made a successful connection to our backend, but we’re currently not showing that data anywhere yet, so let’s do that now.
In this row I’ll add a responsive table. And where it says “populate” I’ll select a dynamic data source, using this lighting bolt icon. Now we can see our API data here. So I’ll just select the root data object again and then click “select”. Now, here you’ll see my headers and values and it looks like everything is mapping properly. So I’ll select “okay” and now you’ll see the data being pulled into our front-end from our Xano backend.
And as you saw, I didn’t have to write one line of code to make any of this happen. Using this approach you can create really complex platforms. Best of all, using a front-end tool like Wappler, you’ll have granular control over how your data displays in the front-end, because unlike most front-end editors, Wappler gives you full control over your source code. Here, you’ll see I can use these easy drag and drop no-code page elements, but if I need access to my source code at any time for more granular control, I can simply click on these buttons to access my platform’s source code.
Now I’m using wappler here, but as I mentioned the logic is similar if you’re using Bubble or AppGyver or Bravo studio.
So that’s the xano backend in a nutshell. They have a very generous free plan, so I’ll leave a link to their platform below so you can go check them out.
I personally think they are one of the most exciting no code platforms out there right now. So if you’re looking for a backend solution, I highly recommend you check them out.
So the Xano backend with a Wappler front-end pairing gave us a huge amount of control over our application.
But what if our application didn’t require that level of access or control? What if what we wanted to build was simpler. For a simple application, you could use tools which haven’t been traditionally designed to be web backends.
For example, Google sheets can be used as a backend by linking the data contained within a google sheet to appsheet as your front-end. Let me show you how this works.
Here, in appsheet, you can see once I’ve made that data connection. My Google sheet data is automatically being fed into my front-end. Here, you’ll see I can easily edit my user permissions. For instance, here I can set if I want app users to be able to edit my data, or “here” I can select read only if I want to remove privileged access to the data.
And in fact, it’s not only appsheet that can use Google sheets as a backend. Today, many front-ends and data visualization tools integrate with Google sheets. For example, if you had a wordPress installation and you wanted to visualize Google sheets data for your users, you could simply link a Google sheet to a Google data studio project and then embed that google data studio document into your website. This is one of the applications we run at Kibi.One, and this application uses Google sheets as the no-code database, Google data studio as the no-code visualization tool, and WordPress as the nocode front-end website.
So I personally think this is a great setup for those who want to use easy to use and familiar tools and don’t care too much about having full manual control.
That’s not to say you can’t do powerful things using Google sheets and applications like appsheete for example, because you can. You could create a complex shipping app that tracks in real time the position of a package using the built in barcode scanning feature. So you can build complex apps. That said, This appsheet and Google sheets pairing abstracts both front-end and backend complexity away from you. The priority with this setup is helping you develop your app as quickly and painlessly as possible using familiar tools. And while you will have some control over the design, for example, here notice if I click on “ux” and then “brand”. I can change my theme from light to dark. And there are more advanced design features here as well, but you’re not going to get full control over the design of your app. And for many that’s fine. The basic, out of the box templates work fine. And many users don’t care to edit their CSS code, or don’t know how to. So a tool like Appsheet paired with Google sheets would be perfect for this demographic of builder.
However, for those who need more control over their application’s design, you might be interested in the next backend no-code tool option.
Similar to Google Sheets, you can use airtable as a backend database. Now like Google sheets, airtable wasn’t designed to be a traditional database. It’s not something that’s trying to directly compete with MySQL for example. That said, for some use-cases a no-code tool like airtable could be used as a backend database as well if linked to the appropriate front-end tool. For example, Bravo studio is a front-end tool that allows you to link to your fima designs. This gives you total control over the look and feel of your application. Then, once you have the front-end looking the way you want, you can simply click on “data library” and then add a new collection. Here, you’ll notice that I already set up a Xano connection. Here for instance, you’ll see that I just pasted my Xano API endpoint here. Now if I click on “send” you’ll see under “received data” the data that his API endpoint has access to. So if I wanted to, I could simply link to my Xano database to my bravo studio account too.
But let’s say I want to use airtable instead. For this, all I would need to do is click on “airtable wizard and then simply copy and paste my airtable URL into my my application which will allow me to populate my app with my airtable data.
So this is a great option for those of you who want to place a heavier focus on design and don’t mind going through the learning curve to learn how to use Figma’s design tool.
Next, on the list we bubble. Now Bubble is actually an all in one platform, in that it handles both your backend an front-end for you.
For example, if you’re logged into your bubble account, you’ll see you’ll have a section here for design. This gives you control over the look of your application. And if you look at this tab, you’ll see an option for “workflows”, which handles your application logic… and then you’ll see your data tab just below that which handles your application’s “data”. Now this is an interesting option because now you have everything under one roof. Design,app logic and data.
And again, this entire backend is 100% no-code. For example, if I wanted to sign a new user up I could double click on this button. Then click on “start /edit workflow” and then I could simply click on “add action”. For example, if there was a form associated with this element, I could simply hover over users and then click on “sign user up”.
Then once a user signs up, I could head over to my data tab, click on “app data” then click on my users table and then here you can see, my database data is displayed to me in a very easy to understand spreadsheet format. So here I’m getting the ease of use of a spreadsheet, but the power of a more traditional database.
And what I like about Bubble as well is that they have an API plugin. And what this plugin allows you to do is to link your Bubble account to any third party backend service that you want. So for example, you might want to use Bubble for your front-end, but you might want to use Xano for your backend. Using Bubble’s API connector you could easily do that.
So I hope you found this list helpful. Again, if you’re a non-technical person and you’d like to learn how to build software platforms, using some of the tools I discussed in this list, head over to Kibi.One to learn more about our no-code incubator program. I’ll leave a coupon code for $100 off below.
Also, if you learnt something today, don’t forget to like this video and subscribe to our channel. We’re always publishing new content for the no-code community.
Thanks for stopping by today!
Build SaaS Platforms Without Code
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