Robert Roose - Drupal web designer
By Robert Roose

What is low code or no code?

Low code and no code are terms used when non programming professionals can build complex websites or applications without having to write programming code. Usually through a graphical interface, users are able to click and drag their desired configuration.

For me, Drupal has always been a low code solution for building websites. If you use the available Drupal modules wisely you can build complex web apps without ever having to create your own module. There are some trade-offs of course, you might not get the desired result, but I've learned that it comes as close as 90%-95%.

And even though Drupal is already low code, Dries Buytaert (founder and lead developer of Drupal) wants to push it even further as he commented on in his State of Drupal keynote.

If you want to know more about no code I recommend this article by Ryan Hoover.

Disclaimer: Although I don't know how to 'code' I still know how to write HTML, CSS and a little bit of JavaScript. I think these skills are essential if you want to create a good user experience. That being said, all the examples below can also be build using a default theme such as Claro.

Video portal for Utrecht University

A few years back I created a video portal for one of the biggest universities of the Netherlands. The goal was to collect all video's related to the university in one place. Users were able to like a video or comment on them. It was also possible for users to upload their own video's. 

The site was multilingual (Dutch and English) and even won a Splash Award. So if you want to build your own YouTube with low code, Drupal can be the perfect fit. 

Video UU homepage

The oldest magazine of the Netherlands digitalized

Militaire Spectator is the oldest magazine in the Netherlands with the first publication appearing in 1832. One of the biggest challenges was to find a way to make the whole archive of articles accessible. Most articles were only available as a PDF.

I've created an option for each article (a Boolean field) in which the creator can mark the article as 'online available'. If this is the case the item in the articles view would be clickable following through the the online publication of the article. If an article isn't marked as 'online available' it will not link to the underlying node, but instead will display a download button for the uploaded PDF.

Users can now easily search through the whole database of articles with the Search API view I've created. It's possible to filter articles by metadata such as author, year of publication or article type using Facets

This is a great example how Drupal can be used to create a complex online magazine with thousands of articles.

A community where experts can share their knowledge

ExpertPlace is a community where experts from the wholesale industry share knowledge. People can create an account or can be invited by their company (account).

Managing trial period with the Rules module

When a new user registers they get a free trial period for two months. I use the Rules module to give every newly created user gets the 'Trial period' role. This role enables the user to see and create content within the community. If you haven't paid for a full account within two months the 'Trial period' role will be automatically removed. This is also done with a rule that does a data comparison between the current date and the date the account was created every time the user logs in. 

Creating company accounts with the Group module

With the Group module I've managed to set up  the possibility to create a company container. Within this container employees of the same company can invite each other. This way it is easy to identify who, within the community, belongs to which company. Members within a company account also get a discount. 

Note that there is also the Organic Groups module. I've tried this module because it's slightly more popular, but I ran into some complications which could only be fixed using the Group module. This show why it is important to try out different modules when you're building websites with Drupal to see which fits best.

Track profile completion

You've probably seen this progress bar on websites such as LinkedIn. It tracks how much of the fields of your profile are filled and shows you a percentage on how far you've completed your profile. The same thing can be done in Drupal with the Profile Complete Percent module. You can select which profile fields are counting towards the percentage. The progress will be shown in a block that you can place wherever you like.

If you're looking for a Content Management System to build a community without learning how to code, than Drupal is your best bet!

Conclusion

A video portal, online magazine or community can be built with Drupal without having any knowledge of programming languages such as PHP.

Do you want to know more about the projects I've described or do you want me to take a look if your website/webapp idea is something you can built with Drupal? Leave a comment! Also don't forget to subscribe to my Drupal newsletter :)

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