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Is coding obsolete?

I have a couple of semi-serious side project ideas that would take the form of iOS apps. And I even started a course on Treehouse to learn Swift. However, I'm starting to wonder whether I could actually get much further by sticking with the likes of Tethr or Adobe Muse instead of building the apps from scratch.

If I want to design, build and publish a functioning iOS app, do I really need to learn the nuts and bolts of the programming language?

Thanks!

26 Replies

Dirk de Kok
7
1
Dirk de Kok Advisor
Founder and CTO Mobtest
Of course you can build a prototype with those kind of tools.
But anything close to production ready, you need to get to learn to code.
Ian Maddox
5
3
Ian Maddox Entrepreneur
Machine Learning Architect at MetricStory
In a word: no.

Languages have become increasingly high level--to the point where relatively sophisticated app development can be performed entirely in a drag and drop UI. However, you'll have a hard time avoiding the creation of custom business logic for anything but the most generic apps and sites.

The underlying question is "I don't code. Can I still create my own apps?"
The answer there is certainly yes. There are limitations to what you can pull off, but several frameworks and services exist for folks in that exact situation. Even 2D/3D games can be created with minimal logic these days.

If you're good at writing advanced formulas in Excel, you shouldn't have any problems producing a simple app using a framework or service.
Jason Corradino
1
1
Jason Corradino Entrepreneur
Software Engineering Consultant at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Tyler, be very, tell your friend to be very careful with that company. In the US, unpaid interns are only legal under very specific conditions -Under Walling v. Portland Terminal Co, you have to be able to prove that the intern is working for their own personal advantage, not your businesses. The business has to prove that it derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern - that is, you *can not* have them work on anything that will earn your company a profit. In the case of the comment up above, getting an intern to build out an app for a company likely would fall under the category of "paid employee", making the work illegal under the DoL regulations.

Travis, you could always use a service like tethr, but your reach would be limited to areas that have already been built. If you are looking to just build a mobile cart for your online store, or a simple communication platform, it would work just fine. However, if you are looking to do more with it, then you will need to either build out an engineering team to build it or hire an agency to build it for you.
Tom Maiaroto
4
0
Tom Maiaroto Entrepreneur • Advisor
Full Stack Consultant
If you want it to be any good. Yes.

In all seriousness, you might get a few effective things on a small scale...But if you have more complex needs (which likely aren't that complex), you'll need something coded. For years we've been trying to remove the code from the coding process, but it just doesn't work. At least not all of the time.
Ben Junya
9
1
Ben Junya Advisor
Android/iOS and Front End Web Developer
Tldr: NO. Learn to code. You will never get far using those tools like Muse or Tethr.


Both of those platforms have some huge limitations on top of them. Muse writes seriously sloppy code that I've had to fix (and charged said client a ton of money for it because it suckssss), and frankly, I've never had to work with Tethr before.

While these editors and programs are a great way to get your feet wet and prototype something out extremely fast, it comes at a very hefty price with serious limitations. Even frameworks like Meteor.js and phonegap that wrap your webapp into a native app have some huge limitations that companies may be really happy starting out with them, but within less than a year, they're jumping ship and hiring native developers. You're much better off learning Swift and taking on iOS natively.

Just to be clear, if you need to bootstrap your operation, you can easily get a job as an iOS developer. I have been coding for only a year (Android), and I get calls to take on Android and front end web dev roles. You are learning an extremely valuable skill that can make if thousands, if not millions of dollars over your lifetime.

To solidify your path - I learned from Treehouse too, and I took their Android course. I've worked at a ton of dev chop shops making some cool stuff in android and front end web stuff. You're on the right track.

Hit me up if you need help!

Ben
Liam Carolan
1
2
Liam Carolan Advisor
Marketing Technologist
Why do you feel it's important to learn to code? Just curious. The most important task's you will have are design, useability and keeping your App idea simple. Get simple working and build on that. If you know how to do screen capture and edit text, you can easily put together a rough idea of your App. Next, there are some great outsourcing services you can use to build the finished product. Learning how to work with developers will take some time but there are specific steps you can take to qualify, initiate and hold accountable people you're working with. Knowing these will get you on track rapidly. Get a budget together - decide what the simplest version of your App will have feature wise and you're about two-thirds of the way there without any coding.
Nic Passmore
0
3
Nic Passmore Entrepreneur
Technology and Innovation Leader
Whilst it's been said a number of times.. No, youdo not need to learn to code. You can use the tools you have available to develop your concept, determine application flow and functionality and perfect user experience.

But at the end of all of that, someone is still going to need to write some code to make your design and workflow all hang together. Most apps also now have some sort of connection to a back-end service to enhance usability, take advantage of social networks or to collect or report on volumes of data. To make this work, someone is going to need to build it, and this takes someone with programming knowledge.

You shouldn't be discouraged by this though; the success of the app will be heavily dependant on its design and user experience and if you have a vision for this, go for it. There are services like elance and freelancer.com that make finding someone with the skills to deal with the other bits a snap.
Ben Junya
4
0
Ben Junya Advisor
Android/iOS and Front End Web Developer
@Nic and @Liam

I have to disagree with these wholeheartedly. From an entrepreneur standpoint of outsourcing development, that's great and all to offload it to someone else, but frankly, you're accepting a TON of risk doing so. Outsourcing is great for the short term, but do you really want to put all the control of our company's star application overseas in a black box you can't control? I'm not saying outsourcing is bad, as I'm sure there are many fantastic freelance devs out there that can do the job. But the bottom line is, "Do you really want to shell out money for something that could potentially be total crap?"

It's going to be easier to work with developers if you know some code because you'll be able to ask them the right questions technically. You'll know if they're actually good or not because you know the language of programming and computing. If they're mixing up their java and javascript, or calling structs and classes the same thing, then you are going to have some serious problems with those outsourced devs.

Am I telling you to be an iOS and swift superstar? NO! Am I telling you that you should know how to build something simple? Yes. Get familiar with the language and terminology of programming so that you'll save yourself headaches in the future.

Understand that lots of those guys on elance or freelancer will say/do anything to get your business. Even here in the states, ad agencies like the one I have previously worked at have spend millions of dollars outsourcing projects to dev shops overseas, only to have returned an inferior product of poor quality.

Of course, you can create your own mockups in Photoshop, and that's excellent and frankly all you need, but if you really want to find a great developer who's got your back, then don't outsource overseas, find a local developer, and ask them the right technical questions (The Joel test is great, but definitely not enough).

In addition, if you know how to code, you're in control of technology, not vice versa. Make the IoT work for you, not against you.
Todd Blanchard
1
0
Todd Blanchard Advisor
Co-Founder at Rewind Inc
You (or somebody) needs to code. Users don't like klunky experiences. Smooth simple to use apps are hard - if it was easy everybody would do it. The important thing about the app game is execution is key. If you are not a professional developer, hire one. You sound like you are out of your depth. So go partner or contract with a good developer. Sent from the road
Robb Miller
0
6
Robb Miller Advisor
founder at gnito
yes.
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