This morning, Adam from ZeroCodeDev.com posted about an offer for their project. I am always interested in knowing new services or features, and decided to kick the tyres as they say.
Screenshot of website building tool in “Guest Mode”
From my home location / home network (100 up/100 down, mostly I get faster speeds) – the homepage took about 6 seconds to load. Which is surprising, considering the services uses Cloudflare, and I get ping speeds of around 45 ms even on a slow day. Anyways, since the focus of this post is on the service itself, let us get to that. The site has options to choose multiple languages, I stayed with the default, that is English.
Multi-lingual site options
Website builder main menu in Spanish
One interesting quirk- even when you change the language for the menu or the web builder interface, the templates remain in English. This is not a criticism, just something I found a little odd. Maybe in a future version the language in the templates will also change if a different menu language is selected?
Templates and Preview modes
I used an existing ‘preview’ template in guest more (which is nice, most services require you to sign in even to try out!).The site offers multiple templates defined under categories, that is, categories like photography, business, fashion and beauty, etc.
Templates and categories for the sites
I used the Bianca Interior Design theme, (probably because it comes by default in red). The template took about 6 or 7 seconds to load the first time. Once loaded, the speeds were okay.
Bianca Template- ready to edit
Issue with Images
The first thing I did when the template loaded in edit mode, was to preview the site by selecting the ‘phone’ mode from the top right hand side menu. To my surprise, the images are not responsive!Preview mode for mobile, Safari
Click to visit: https://img.gaatha.co/0f7KR2
Preview mode for Mobile, Chrome/Vivaldi:
The site previews well in tablet mode though.
Image: Preview mode in Tablet
Note: The theme previews well on a mobile phone screen, but not in the ‘mobile preview’ mode on Desktop
Image: Preview of Bianca Theme on Mobile Phone
I am leaving my below comments as is for now, in case others experience similar issue….
I am a user of Carrd.co for past few years, so I will use some features from that in comparison. In Carrd, you can select whether the image will be mobile responsive, or you can set the dimensions depending on type of screen. Most pagebuilders including elementor also offer this feature. This is a must add feature for zerocodedev.
Editing and customising features
I am not a developer but an end user. But sometimes, for our podcasting site, we need to put up concepts or templates very quickly for clients or marketers to preview. I use carrd.co for that, but it is very slow to load (even slower than the issues I experienced with zerocodedev initially). I am more than happy to pick up a standard template, customise it, and send it off to the stakeholders.
With that in mind, let us look at some of the features. The question I asked myself was, “Can I create a quick and not so dirty portfolio site in less than Ten minutes? “
Choosing an image from the library of Stock images was convenient but the images were slow to load, Particularly when I change from images to animated gif. But the selection is very good. The ability to change the item (image) layout and fining the image dimensions is also a good feature. But I miss the ‘responsive’ toggle I think it is really needed and will be super helpful.
Animated GIF Selection
Changing the image Layout
Saving and updating the site
Only when you try to save the site, does the registration screen pop up. This is a good thing! I did sign up this time. To my (pleasant) surprise, my name (Amar) was already taken, so I had to opt for a different name.
On a separate note: in 2004 or 05, when I had received my invite code for gmail, I should have opted for my name.Instead I chose something else. Not too proud of it.-Amar Vyas
Only when I hit ‘Update temp url’ did the price tag came up. I was aware of the pricing already, so not a surprise . The US $ 199 one time price is already mentioned on the website.
Saving the Project:
More features To Play With
Once your basic site is ready, you an add more pages, add a popup, make a backup, or update the site for SEO and analytics.
SEO and Analytics
Once the project is saved and/ ore ready for publication, you can select the “Seo/Analytics” option from the top left corner. I added the keywords, description, images for Favicon and social media sharing. Setting this tup took less than a minute.
Wrapping it up
I did not intend to sound overly critical of the service, and believe that the points I made (speed, images, etc.) are easily addressable. Though I may not the intended audience for this service, I would recommend the DIY types to give this a try. (like I said before, I am an end user, not a developer).
They do have a community site as well (https://zero-code-developers.tribe.so) which is a good way to have discussions, updates, etc. Many SAAS providers use Facebook groups as theta ‘community’ page. But it is quickly reaching point of saturation for me personally. This tribe site does mean another registration, another login. Something I might be able to live with.
I started writing this review as a series of “first impressions” or quick thoughts. My intention was to post these as a private message to Adam on Facebook. I had done something similar with Pixelied recently, and ultimately published a detailed review on my site amarvyas.in
But this time around, I decided to they something different. I wrote this review on Simplenote, published it on the web, and sent the link to Adam via Facebook Messenger. It worked out rather well!
Just when I started doing the ‘ten minute challenge to create a portfolio site’, my dog Buddy came to me and gave me his “I need to go out for a walk” look. Well, that interruption worked out rather well… Adam did read the first draft, and was quite appreciative.
I think I will keep toying around with this service for some more days. We are in the middle of August, and Carrd is up for renewal in November. I take a liking to it, I might replace it with ZeroCodeDev!
Note: I wrote this review as a tinkerer, with no expectation other than having to play around with a new tool. Adam graciously offered me a code for this service, so I get to use it for gratis going forward. However, my review has not been influenced by this gesture from Adam! Majority of this post (upto the “Saving” section) was already written before I heard back on Facebook messenger.
Update September 22, 2020:
I looged on to my zerocode.dev account after several weeks and was pleasantly surprised to see some changes. Widgets is one of them, another is addition of new templates. Good to see the work in this webpage design tool!
You can also read this review on this site: https://app.simplenote.com/publish/QKrgCL