Code + no-code stack

Disclaimer: this is not by any means a one for all recipe. This article covers my own personal preferences after 1 year of working fully with code and no-code.

I like to think of the decision of when to use code or no-code as tactical and no strategical. What I mean is that you shouldn't think of it as a decision that will affect your whole business lifetime, but rather as a decision that will affect it's present stage and be aware that this decision can evolve over time, and that's perfectly fine.

With that in mind, I asked my self the following question:

Where does the value of my business comes from?

For me, this is the most important question you should ask yourself. If the value of your business comes from the actual software you are building, then you should probably code it. If the value of your business comes from the business itself (in the form of a service or an underlying solution like data or content) and you use software to front-desk your customer or manage ops, then you should probably lean more towards no-code tools.

Let me share my preferred stack for each scenario.

The value of my business comes from software

I'll go deep on this scenario since is my default as I enjoy building the UI (even if it's very simple) and having full control of the user experience and analytics.

This stack includes a fully coded user interface (including the business website/landing page) and business logic backend with a persistent SQL database. I use no-code tools for integrations with other systems or back office/business ops.


  • Full stack framework: NextJS with the new AppRouter (Hosted on Vercel) - with React Server Components, NextJS provides full stack framework to build a React front-end and a javascript/typescript backend (including APIs), everything on a single codebase. Combine that with Vercel, and you get a highly scalable shipping machine.

  • Database: PlanetScale - a MySQL compatible serverless database that scales automatically and provides a great developer experience with NO SQL migrations (this is a life changer when you are starting up and iterating in your data model).

  • Auth: NextAuth - a very easy to setup library to handle authentication with magic links and OAuth providers like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.

  • UI: shadcn/ui: beautiful React components that are easy to use and customize. You actually copy the code and modify it to your needs. And with the latest release you get a cli to set up everything and style your component with css variables and Tailwind.

  • Analytics (basic): Vercel - get to know page views plus number of visitors, where they come from and which devices/browsers they are using; this is the way. It's free and easy to set up with NextJS.

  • Analytics (advance): Mixpanel - track user events, conversions, funnels, etc... Mixpanel is a great tool to get to know your users and how they interact with your product. It's free for up to 20M events.

All these tools are free or have a generous free tier that will allow you to start with zero expenses and scale as you grow.

No-code (mostly integrations and back office):

  • Make - iit provides a beautiful flow builder for your integrations automation. You can create webhooks and use them as triggers to integrate your backend with external services like your CRM, Slack, Emails, Whatsapp, etc.

    When I am starting a new project, I don't find value in coding these integrations (even by using SDKs or APIs). I prefer to spend my time on the core product and use Make to integrate with other services.

    Make also provides a free tier limited to 2 scenarios and 1000 operations, which in most cases haven't been enough for me to launch a product. But they provide an affordable 15 USD/month plan for unlimited scenarios.

  • Airtable - use it as a back office / ops platform - is a spreadsheet on steroids, you can use it to store data and create views to display it, built dashboards, and trigger automations on data changes. You can easily add records automatically from Make.

    You can use Airtable as your ops platform (example: you get an order from your app and want to internally tack it's status). It provides a free tier that is more than enough to start with.


  • Tabular - for beautiful email designs that you can easily export to HTML and use in your app or email provider.

  • Postmark - for high deliverability transactional emails like password reset, welcome emails, etc... You can set up email templates with the HTML from Tabular and get beautiful branded emails.

Personally I always choose this stack, even if the value of the business is not the software. As I said early, I enjoy building the UI and having full control of the user experience and analytics; something not easy to achieve with no-code tools.

Btw... I am building, a starter kit using this code + no-code stack. If you are interested, make sure to sign-up for the waiting list to get notified when released.

The value of my business comes from an underlying service

In this scenario, you should probably use no-code tools for everything. Since the value comes from the underlying service you provide, the user might not be affected if the user experience is not that great (and in many cases, probably the user interface is Whatsapp or social media DMs).

I won't go deep on this scenario (since is not my sweet spot), but for this case I would use the following stack:

  • Framer: a drag and drop to build websites and landing pages to promote your service.

  • Stacker: a no-code tool to build interactive web apps fully integrated with Airtable as your database.

  • Airtable: in this scenario Airtable could become your business database. Plus you have built in forms that are more than enough for simple user interactions like surveys, feedback, profile updates, etc...

  • Stripe checkout pages and links: if you need to collect payments, you can use Stripe's no-code tools for this easily.

  • Make: in this scenario Make won't be only for external systems integrations it could also act as your business logic backend. Example: a user fills a purchase form in Airtable - you can use Make to trigger a scenario that makes some calculations (business logic), send a message to your Slack channel and create a deal in HubSpot.

When it comes to tooling costs, going full with no-code might be more expensive initially month over month (Stacker minimum plan is 60 USD/month and you will require more Make scenarios to cover your business logic). But since you are saving development time, initially will be cheaper than software development hours, its a numbers game.

Wrapping up

I hope you enjoy reading this article and that it helps you to make a decision of your own. As I cover above, the most important thing is to be aware of where the value of your business comes from and also take into account the skills you and your team have.

You might be a great developer but you might realize that's better to spend time talking with customers and building the business rather than coding.

Or you might be a great business person but you realize that your no-code UI does not convert, so it might make sense to explore a more custom coded solution.

Remember, always choose what allows you to get faster to the next milestone. At the end, it is a race out there.

If you are interested on my code + no-code stack, make sure to sign-up at And don't forget to follow my updates on twitter 🚀