This week, the world has been abuzz with “nocode”. I’m not sure what exactly started it, but the joke began picking up speed (or was instantiated?) when Kelsey Hightower, one of the creators of Kubernetes and all around super cool technical genius type guy, released a Github repo for it.
Pretty much the only thing with any content in the repo is the README.md, which explains that the entire concept of nocode is that you cannot have any bugs if you do not write any code. So the repo is empty. It contains no code.
The point is valid – all your code is going to have problems, so don’t be so caught up if you find a problem with your code. Obviously, don’t give up trying to write good code, but don’t be so hard on yourself.
What happened next though, is shear insanity.
The repo quickly became popular – it has over 8,000 stars right now. People started creating issues (there are 911) and pull requests (176) saying things like “not supported on windows”, “integrate with TravisCI”, “performance issues”.
Then there was a Hacker News story about it. People started posting stories about it on Medium, with titles like Getting Started with NoCode Framework for Beginners (it’s an empty article), and How We Scaled Nocode to an Infinite Number of NoServers (which actually has words). And then, I’m writing this article here…
Dublin started a meetup for it apparently. In the “What We’re About” section they describe:
If you are interested in coding, over engineered frameworks and complex computer jargon then this Meetup is not for you. What is nocode? Nocode left stealth mode on February 6th 2018 and is already being tipped by industry insiders as "the next biggest thing" in tech after serverless. We will meet regularly (never) to discuss the greatest paradigm shift in the tech world since Windows Millennium Edition.
Not to mention the tweets (here are a few at random, but I only chose one book):
I’m hiring. You must have five years of no code experience and be willing to relocate. https://t.co/HCSfAtzPOI— Kelsey Hightower (@kelseyhightower) February 7, 2018
Tried nocode. Build time went from 13secs to 0. No dependency hell. Binary size is more manageable. A+ solid project. https://t.co/2bAcdb9czH— JBD (@rakyll) February 7, 2018
Stop the insanity, please.
Ok, yes, it is a valid point Kelsey Hightower initially made. But jump off the crazy bandwagon and calm down. It’s not that funny. It’s not even really that mindblowing.
Is everything really so mind numbingly awful in the tech world that this is a joke onto which everybody has to hop? Aren’t there better things we can do in life?
I shouldn’t have to be writing a blog post on this topic. On a Github repo that’s literally empty. About a medium article that has more claps than many other articles out there, and doesn’t contain a single word.
Technology is not about empty content, it’s about creating content. And fixing that content over and over again. Until you decide you want to refactor it completely. And then you fix that code over and over again. The initial message of the “nocode” movement is understood – in fact it’s even a topic explained by many other people who build their startups purchasing their code versus actually writing it themselves (or hiring engineers).
Nocode is not engineering, and it’s not tech – at least right now. One day maybe we’ll be able to have computers write our code for us, and we can just design with broad brushstrokes and simply designing what we want it to look like (cf. Bret Victor’s talk Inventing on Principle). The Sept 2017 Atlantic article argues that programming may not need to exist at all. Maybe we should be having this conversation around nocode instead of just putting up fake books to respond to the fake pull requests which will be discussed in the fake meetups.
Or, if you really don’t want to talk about code, at least use nocode as a springboard to talk about Pearl Jam’s fourth album by the same name.