If you’re planning to build an app, a no-code platform can save you thousands of dollars in cash and months of your time spent in coding, testing, and debugging.
The general opinion around no-code platforms used to be that they are good for building static websites and landing pages but not so much when it comes to building a full-fledged app.
But things are changing and there are many no-code platforms allowing you to build mobile apps and web-based SaaS products.
If you decide to build your app with no code, you are going to have to think long and hard about the database part. Unlike a static website, a fast, reliable, and easily maintainable database is going to be at the heart of your app.
1. The Importance of Databases
Before we start talking about no code database builders, let’s first understand the important role of databases for any kind of app. They are the heart of information management, enabling you to store, retrieve, and organize vast amounts of data efficiently.
Without databases, chaos would reign, and data would be virtually impossible to manage.
Having a fast, reliable, and scalable database in the back end of your no-code app can be the make-or-break difference between your app and competitors.
So what different database options do we have today when it comes to no-code app builders? Let’s check.
2. Possible Databases in a No-Code App
No code tools were traditionally used for building static pages and websites, where you did not need to deal with back-end data and databases.
But today’s no-code platform allows us to build full-fledged apps by integrating with backend databases.
Depending on our use case, skill level, and app complexity, we can choose to work with different kinds of databases in the back end.
Let’s explore some popular alternatives for no-code databases.
2.1 Google Sheets
Google Sheets is a familiar and versatile spreadsheet tool. While it might not seem like a conventional database, it can effectively serve as one for simpler projects.
Google Sheets are completely free, they are very simple to use and very well documented. In terms of cost and simplicity, full marks!
Also, for someone who is a beginner no-code developer, Google Sheets provides a very visual way to set up the data structure of your app.
Using Google sheets in the back end is advisable for use cases where you are dealing with small amount of data. When your data size starts to swell, you will encounter serious scalability issues on the Google sheets. So this is best to be used for prototyping and internal automation.
If you’re building a prototype of your app, Google sheet is the easiest way to get started.
Airtable takes the concept of a spreadsheet and elevates it to a new level. It combines the flexibility of a database with the simplicity of a spreadsheet, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of applications.
Airtable supports features like attachments, linked records, and customizable views, making it suitable for more complex data management.
Airtable is basically a spreadsheet on steroids, where it gets full marks for visually building our data structure.
The features also add to complexity, so Airtable is not as simple as using Google Sheets and it’s not free either.
So Airtable runs into the same problems of scalability, as Google Sheets. But because it’s a paid no-code platform in itself, there is a significant cost structure involved with using Airtable as a database – making it very difficult to scale
Airtable is best used for internal automation use cases involving limited number of users, where your priority is to simplify the automation part
2.3 Conventional Database
Many no code database builders offer their own database to be used for the app backend. For example, Fuzen offers two database alternatives – Google Sheets and Fuzen’s conventional database.
The conventional database can be a SQL or No SQL database. However, No SQL is more likely considering the flexibility required for building a no-code app.
Conventional (SQL or NoSQL) databases provide robust scalability and customization but may require some technical knowledge. However, modern no-code platforms are closing the gap between complexity and ease of use, making conventional databases more accessible.
The biggest drawback of using a conventional database is that they are not as visual as using a spreadsheet. So if you are a beginner, you will need a little bit of time to get used to a conventional database builder.
If you are looking to build a full fledged app or SaaS product, you will need to use a conventional database sooner or later.
3. What You Should Look for in a No-Code Database Builder
When choosing a no code database builder, consider these essential factors:
3.1 Manage Visually
A great no code database builder should allow you to design and manage your database visually. Spreadsheets are generally a great choice for this reason.
Look for drag-and-drop interfaces, intuitive design tools, and a user-friendly dashboard. These features enable even those without a technical background to create and modify databases effortlessly.
Visual interfaces are important if you are a beginner prioritizing simplicity over scalability.
The biggest advantage of using a no-code platform is its flexibility in building UI. The same flexibility must also be carried over to the back-end database part.
Google Sheets are very simple and flexible. NoSQL databases are also greatly flexible. For example, using MongoDB in the backend gives you even better flexibility than spreadsheets.
The flexibility of your database builder is crucial, as it should adapt to your project’s specific requirements. Customization of fields, tables, and relationships is vital.
Ensure that your chosen platform allows you to define data types, create linked records, and set up formulas to meet your unique needs.
If you are building a market-ready app, scalability is a key consideration.
As your project grows, so should your database. Ensure that the platform can handle a growing dataset without the need for significant data migration or restructuring.
This scalability is essential for businesses and projects that aim to expand.
If scalability is your concern, then you may want to choose a conventional database over spreadsheets.
Databases thrive on relationships between data. Your no code database builder should facilitate the creation of complex relationships and associations.
This feature is especially important for applications that involve multiple entities or data categories. Airtable and Google Sheets give you a visual way of creating these associations.
But in conventional databases, you would be able to create more complex associations, that work more efficiently in your app.
Merely storing the data in a backend storage is not enough for making an app. You also need to query the data on different pages of your app in a fast and efficient way.
A robust no code database builder should offer powerful querying capabilities, allowing you to filter, sort, and analyze data easily. This feature helps you derive meaningful insights from your dataset.
For example, Fuzen offers a very simple but powerful query builder to filter and import data on your app pages.
You can also save the queried data on a page to be used elsewhere on that page.
Data portability is a fundamental aspect of any database system. Choose a platform that allows you to export your data effortlessly.
This ensures that you’re not locked into one system forever and can move your data to other platforms or tools when needed.
This is especially important if you expect your app to scale up beyond the capabilities of a no-code platform.
Q: Can I use a no-code database builder for complex projects?
A: Yes, many modern no-code platforms offer advanced features that can handle complex applications. While they may not match the full capabilities of traditional databases, they can meet the needs of most projects.
Q: What’s the learning curve for using no-code database builders?
A: No-code platforms are designed to be user-friendly, with shallow learning curves. You can get started with minimal effort, and many platforms offer comprehensive tutorials and documentation.
Q: Are no-code databases secure?
A: Security is a top priority for these platforms. They often come with built-in security features and compliance standards. However, as with any technology, it’s essential to follow best practices and maintain good security hygiene.
Q. What database options are available on Fuzen?
A: Fuzen allows you to work with Google Sheets and our own conventional database in the backend. While Google Sheets are great for prototyping, we recommend using the standard database to build your final market-ready apps.
In conclusion, no code database builders have democratized data management, enabling individuals and small businesses to harness the power of databases without the need for extensive technical skills. Whether you’re tracking customer information, managing inventory, or organizing project data, a visual and easy-to-use no code database builder can simplify the process and supercharge your productivity.
As you evaluate your options, remember that the choice of database builder depends on the unique requirements of your project. So, embrace the no-code revolution and make your database dreams a reality, tailored to the scale, complexity, and goals of your specific undertaking.