What is no-code?
Before we begin, we want to briefly introduce what no-code is so that we start from the same page.
No code, for a lack of a better term, is the process of app development without using code or programming. Instead, you would use visual editors with a drag and drop interface. In traditional app development, one would need to write code when creating apps. Here, you simply use the no code platforms to assist you in your app ideas. You do not need any prior coding knowledge or software development experience
What apps can I build without code?
No code app builders have gotten to be extremely powerful and intuitive in 2023. At this point, almost every app idea can be built with no code app development.
Most no code app builders allow you to build web apps, meaning apps that run on a web browser. For example, using AirBnB.com would be an example of a web app.
If you're looking to build a mobile app, whether it be an app for the apple app store or an android app, you can certainly build native mobile apps with no code app makers. Android and iOS apps have been heavily requested by developers to no code app makers and platforms.
When building a mobile app, the only thing you'll need to do is submit the source files to the app stores, meaning you'll still need a developer account for both iOS and Android.
Now that we understand what no code is and the possibilities of building your app idea through web or your own mobile app, let's move to our review of the top 7 online no code solutions for building your app idea.
We wouldn't teach Bubble.io app development if it wasn't at the top of our list. After testing almost every no code app builder out there, Bubble is the clear winner when it comes to a no code app maker. If you're looking to build your own app, using the Bubble app builder provides you with the most advanced features out there. One thing to note, Bubble as an app builder is tailored mostly for web apps, and not necessarily mobile apps.
You can certainly still use Bubble to create mobile apps, but understand that at this point in time, Bubble's focus is not on being a mobile app builder. We have seen plenty of people (some of our clients as well) build a mobile app and submit it to the app stores.
Bubble allows you to create apps that are fully functional. You do not need to integrate any third party service into your Bubble application unless you want to. Meaning, you Bubble provides an in-house database that you can use for your application's data. There's no need to use Google firebase, Airtable, or an alternative storage solution.
If you have an app idea and want to explore a no code platform, we highly suggest first taking a look at Bubble. We've worked with many people, including small business owners that have fallen in love with Bubble's capabilities and ease. The user interface, coupled with the easy drag and drop components make Bubble a go-to app builder for many.
When you're not looking to build a complex web app or mobile app, our next suggestion would be to look at Webflow.
Webflow is our solid top recommendation for building simple static or somewhat dynamic websites, blog content, or ecommerce app. There's no platform that offers better app design or app performance. Webflow is tailored to app designers who are looking for the best UI/UX designed websites.
Webflow has a built in CMS that allows you to retrieve and display dynamic content on your web pages. Additionally, Webflow just recently released user authentication and user management so that you can paywall specific content and pages. This is a great enhancement for building apps with Webflow.
One downside to using Webflow is that you cannot build apps for mobile or native apps. There's no submitting to the Apple or Google play store. But that's ok, since that was never Webflow's intention at the outset. It's meant for web browser websites or apps.
A relatively new no code app platform, FlutterFlow has caught our eye for building advanced applications, however FlutterFlow's key differentiator is for a user looking to build a mobile app. The mobile app development suite FlutterFlow provides is bar none the best app maker in this regard.
Building apps for mobile devices is FlutterFlow's secret sauce and primarily why it was built. For your app ideas that involve mobile, we highly suggest taking a look at FlutterFlow. With no coding skills required, you can build Android apps and build native apps easily. FlutterFlow incorporates Google firebase into an app directly which you use as your data storage solution. You can also easily integrate push notifications and in app purchases into your mobile application.
When you think of traditional development, FlutterFlow offers it all. App content, offline mode, even writing code for custom apps, building mobile applications is hands down enjoyable with FlutterFlow.
The ease of use and extended abilities that FlutterFlow provides is why we consider it the best app maker for a mobile device and building mobile apps.
If you're looking to build mobile apps, thunkable can help as a primarily app building solution for mobile devices. With Thunkable, just like FlutterFlow, you are able to create apps for both Apple and Google Play.
The app components Thunkable offers are great for both iOS and android app development. For whatever your business needs, you can find the right components and open source features to bring into Thunkable. Apps created with Thunkable also have the ability to send push notifications, so no worries there.
For anyone looking to create an app for mobile, Thunkable is a great choice for an app maker.
Unlike other app makers, Glide starts your application from your data. Here, you'll take a data source (Airtable, Google Sheets, etc) and turn it into an app.
We wouldn't recommend using Glide if you are building an app that is complex in nature or needs to be on the device stores, however Glide is great if you need quick multiple apps for let's say events as an example.
Say you or your company is hosting an event. You could use Glide to quickly spin up an app for all the management of the in-person aspects such as check-in, calendar, invites, and more.
Instead of looking at other no code tools where app building is complex, Glide makes it super simple to quickly spin up an app from your data.
We can't make a top no-code tooling list without including Adalo. We're quite impressed with how far they've come in recent years.
Adalo allows you to build web and mobile applications and even publish to the iOS and Google stores.
The only downside we see at the moment are the limited components you can use for drag and drop. With for example, Bubble, you can really build anything you need. With Adalo, you are limited to what they provide in the interface. It may be enough for you, however, so Adalo is worth checking out if you are looking for a simple yet intuitive app building experience.
With what started originally as a simple landing page no-code solution has quickly turned into somewhat of a Glide competitor, however better!
Softr, like Glide, allows you to build a website or app using pre-built components that are connected to your external data solution such as Google Sheets or Airtable. Because there's a solution now for data manipulation, we do consider Softr a no code app builder.
If you're app building with Softr, we suggest doing so for landing pages, internal tools and dashboards, community pages, and things of that nature.
At this stage, we wouldn't recommend using Softr if you want to build complex web applications - for that, we would suggest our number 1 rated tool - Bubble.io.
With that said, it's worth checking out Softr and seeing if it can accomplish what you're looking to do.
Other no code app builder(s) to check out
While we aren't including them in our top 7 platforms for building without code, the following platforms are worthwhile to check out as you explore the right platform for you.
Appy Pie may accomplish what you need for app development, however the solutions provided are extremely limited.
The components lack what developers need in 2023. Now, since everyone is building different apps, Appy Pie may have what you need, so they're worth checking out.
While there isn't much public documentation or detail on their website, we've heard of AppGyver being used by some of our clients and can attest to it being a decent no code app builder. At the end of the day, AppGyver was acquired by SAP, which means there is some value there in the features they provide.
One thing to note about AppGyver is that the community version (for individuals and small businesses - most likely yourself!) is completely free to use. This is actually a wonderful decision SAP made. It draws individuals in, and one day when they are big enterprises, they can use SAP!
If you're looking for a no-cost method to try out building apps, do give AppGyver a spin.
What's it cost to build an app without code?
The good news is that building a business or app without code is one of the most inexpensive avenues. Unlike traditional app development, you can build your app all by yourself without the need to hire a development firm.
If you went the traditional route, you may have to spend tens of thousands and many months working with a development firm to build out your app idea. Then, and only then, can you test your app out in the market.
With the no code route, you do not have to outsource development and instead only have to sacrifice your time. Which, time speaking, is a lot less to create an app over traditional programming.
All in all, you only need to pay for the actual no code solution and development stack. This could cost you under $200 to fully build out your app idea and launch in the market.
We'd only recommend saving some capital for advertising your MVP.
Even with advertising included, you're looking at less than $200 - $500 to fully build an app, instead of the tens of thousands you would be paying if you outsourced it to traditional developers.
What do I need to do to get started?
Getting started is relatively easy.
All you need to do is check out our recommended no code solutions and see which no code app maker fits best for you.
Afterwards, simply create an account, sign up, and start building your app! You may need to use a UI design tool to mockup how your application will look - but besides that, you really only just need the app development solution.
Depending on the platform you selected, you may need to use an external database such as Google Firebase, Sheets, or Airtable.
Do no code apps scale?
In one word: yes. We've seen apps, especially ones built on Bubble, have ridiculous user volume and traction. Quite a few no code applications have had over $100M and even $1B in transactions processed. Quite a feat, right?
At the end of the day, how well your application scales is dependent on how well you build it. If your application has a database solution, you need to make sure you create your tables and database schema correctly, with scale in mind. If your application has to search through millions of database records every time a search is performed, your application will not scale well.
So as you start building out your app idea, always consider how the foundations you build will handle 100, 1000, and even 100,000 users.
Can I use multiple no code app solutions, together?
While it ultimately depends on what you are building and the tech stacks you decide to use, you can use multiple no code solutions together.
Typically speaking, we always recommend to use a powerful app builder to power your businesses app, and a great SEO optimized website builder for your landing pages.
For example, our most recommended solution is to use Webflow together with Bubble. For this implementation, you would use Webflow to build out your landing pages, blogs, and static website content. For the actual application itself, you would use Bubble.io. The same applies to other tech stacks and solutions as well.
What if I want to switch from one no code solution over to another?
Each no code solution and development platform has its own rules. For example with FlutterFlow, you are able to export your source code and take it with you.
With Bubble, you are locked into the vendor (for the workflow logic). You can certainly export out your HTML/CSS and your data. This means that you would need to rebuild certain parts of your application.
While not impossible, it is tough to switch from one solution to another.
So what's the best app builder?
Like our list says, we highly suggest building your application using Bubble.io and Webflow for your landing page to help with SEO.
While Bubble is one of the more challenging platforms to learn, in our opinion it is the most advanced with regards to features and interface.
How do I learn the no code solutions?
All in all, you have three options when you want to learn how to build with no code:
- Learn by trial and error and playing with the solution
- Learn by following course content
- Learn with a mentor
While all are feasible, we highly recommend options 2 and 3 to get you quickly up to speed.
Anything else I need to know?
Get started today! The sooner you wait, the higher likelihood someone will build the same app idea that you have.