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Gui Android app builder. Best No-Code App Builder For 2023

android, builder, best, no-code, 2023

Best No-Code App Builder For 2023

Choosing the best no-code app builder for your project can be a daunting task. In this article, we walk you through the process and highlight some of our favorites.

Over the past decade, the process of app development has changed dramatically, opening the door for more and more non-technical developers to dip their toes in the development pond.

Traditional methods of app development require a great deal of technical training and a team of multiple developers to be able to build even relatively simple applications. The introduction of low-code and no-code tools has changed this dynamic significantly.

A no-code app builder is a platform or tool designed to allow non-technical users, and developers seeking to build faster, to build web and mobile apps much easier than traditional methods of app development.

As the evolution of low-code and no-code platforms has progressed, the capabilities of these tools has grown tremendously. What used to be limited to early stage MVPs (minimum viable products) has now branched into fully scalable mobile apps for startups to enterprises and encompasses countless business use cases.

In this article, we will introduce you to some of the best no-code platforms available on the market. Each of these platforms has its own strengths and limitations. All, however, bring something unique to the table.

Ultimately, the goal of no-code app building platforms is to dramatically increase your speed of app development. With no-code app builder software, you can produce an app of comparable quality to a coded app in a fraction of the time. And because time is money – in a multitude of ways – no-code makes app development far less expensive than building with code.

What is the best nocode app builder for 2023?

Ask any no-code “maker” on and you’ll get the same answer to this question: it depends. We’re not going to rank the no-code platforms in this list, but rather provide you some insight into the best list of tools that we have had the chance to work with.

Additionally, this is not a no-code app builder review article. What we view as the best app builder without coding may not be the best for your needs. Instead, we provide you with information about the platforms so that you can make the choice that’s best for your use case. If you’re unsure how to evaluate no-code platforms, check out our no-code platform checklist.

For each tool, we cover both their frontend and backend capabilities. Every tool on the list has frontend capability, but only a few have built-in backend functionality. Not sure what the difference is between backend and frontend? Check out this article.

Finally, all of the below platforms offer some form of a free plan, so we FOCUS the starting price on the lowest paid tier.

Backendless

Of course we are going to start with the platform we know best – our own. Backendless is a complete visual app development solution, meaning you have all the capabilities necessary to build complex and scalable frontends and backends.

Backendless offers a visual UI Builder from creating your app’s user interface. UI Builder offers a wide array of components, themes, and a growing number of page templates. Backendless uses Codeless blocks to allow users to build logic and APIs visually, without writing code. The platform includes a large number of pre-built APIs for interacting with the backend database, file storage, messaging, user authentication, etc.

Backendless also features many post-launch tools, such as visual user management, push notifications for iOS and Android, email templates, and in-app messaging support. With the Free Plan, you can learn the platform on your own timeline for free.

Finally, completing the free Backendless Learning Path provides developers a chance to become a Backendless Certified Engineer.

Starting price: 15/month

Try Backendless Free Today

Try out one of more than a dozen App Blueprints or build your app from scratch. Frontend, backend, database, APIs and more, all in one place.

Adalo

Adalo is a frontend-oriented no-code app builder that allows you to build apps that can be published anywhere – web, mobile, and app stores. Adalo offers drag-and-drop components allowing you to easily construct your idea UI. The platform uses “Actions” represent on-page logic and can be used to trigger backend events.

Adalo offers its own spreadsheet-style database where data can be stored, updated and retrieved. Adalo does not allow for backend logic per se, but can integrate with other tools (and APIs) that provide backend functionality.

Frontend capability: Drag-and-drop components, actions for linking pages together and triggering events such as push notifications.

Backend capability: Spreadsheet-style database, API integration capabilities.

Starting price: 50/month

AppGyver

AppGyver boasts the capability to build applications for all form factors, including mobile, desktop, TV, and others. AppGyver uses a combination of containers and components to enable the user to build a wide range of user interfaces. The platform enables native functionality for mobile apps as well.

AppGyver also includes a theme engine designed to allow users to implement global themes across all of the platform’s 500 components. You can build unlimited logic within the UI, or connect via API to third-party logic and backend functionality.

Frontend capability: 500 components, unlimited logic, native mobile functionality, theme engine.

Backend capability: None built-in.

Starting price: Free

Bravo Studio

Bravo Studio prides itself as being a design-first no-code platform. You can create your app design using Figma or Adobe XD and import the resulting design seamlessly into Bravo Studio. Then, simply connect your app to a backend or database via REST API to produce a fully-functional app in no time.

Bravo Studio is focused on mobile app development, and produces publishable apps that can be submitted to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Frontend capability: Highly design-oriented, build apps in Figma or Adobe XD then import into Bravo Studio.

Backend capability: Connect via REST API.

Starting price: (Euro)19/month

Bubble

The most ubiquitous no-code platform, Bubble‘s strength is its large community. Bubble is primarily a frontend oriented builder, enabling users to build responsive web apps that are capable on both mobile and web. With its large community, there is a wide array of user-generated templates and components that can be used in your app.

Bubble utilizes the concept of workflows for designing logic. Workflows to interact with pages within your app, your Bubble database, or can enable you to use external APIs to gain added functionality not available in Bubble itself.

Unlike more developer-oriented tools, Bubble uses simplified terminology to make itself more accessible to the beginning non-technical app maker.

Frontend capability: Customizable UX/UI, integration-capable, drag-and-drop design, dynamic content, large selection of templates.

Backend capability: Serverless hosting, version control and backups, automatic SSL certificates and multi-factor authentication.

Starting price: 29 /month

Case Study: StayShure

Learn how StayShure, an expert Bubble agency, uses Backendless to boost their Bubble backend and handle complex data, data relations, and scalability by integrating two powerful platforms.

Draftbit

Draftbit is a browser-based builder for mobile apps that provides you with the source code of the projects you develop. Draftbit utilizes “bits” and “blocks” as two forms of components. This allows you to choose high-level, speed-oriented development or more granular and precise development.

Draftbit is designed specifically for mobile app builders, focusing entirely on mobile apps. You can easily preview your project on your mobile device to get a pixel-perfect rendering of your application.

Frontend capability: Two levels of components, mobile app development only, easy to preview and share, full source code available.

Backend capability: None built-in.

Starting price: 19/month

DronaHQ

DronaHQ is a no-code app builder geared specifically toward enterprises and internal tool development. As such, DronaHQ apps are responsive on mobile, but typically designed for desktop. The platform uses “Controls”, similar to components, and has a large library for app makers to choose from.

As a business-oriented platform, DronaHQ offers easy integration with virtually any datsource. The platform uses “Actionflows” as a variation on workflows, allowing you to add frontend logic to your applications. DronaHQ offers several enterprise-level features, such as SSO, SAML and oAuth capability, on-prem hosting, and granular permissions.

Frontend capability: Controls (component) library, easy integration with databases, Actionflows for frontend logic.

Backend capability: None built-in.

Starting price: 100/month

FlutterFlow

FlutterFlow is a no-code app builder that let’s you create beautiful UI, generate clean code, and deploy to app stores or the web in a single click. FlutterFlow uses the popular Flutter programming language to let you build hybrid apps that look great on all devices.

FlutterFlow boasts of easy data and API integration and giving you the ability to “customize everything”. This includes custom widgets, custom functions, and a visual action builder for adding complex action flows to your UI. Unlike some other builders, FlutterFlow allows you to export your app’s code.

Frontend capability: Customizable components and widgets, easy integration with database via API, Action Builder for frontend logic, extensible with custom code.

Backend capability: None built-in.

Starting price: 30/month

Retool

Retool enables no-code app makers to build internal tools “remarkably fast”. The platform provides a wide section of building blocks, including tables, lists, charts, forms, wizards, and maps. These components can be easily to connected to external datsources to produce complex apps very quickly.

Retool is closer to low-code than no-code in a sense because users write their own queries and API requests manually. The platform offers a complete guide for reading and writing data. Additionally, developers can write their own JavaScript code into almost any area of the platform.

Retool offers enterprise-level capabilities including SAML SSO and 2FA, on-premise hosting, and granular access controls and audit logs.

Frontend capability: Building block library, write queries to read/write data, add custom JavaScript code.

Backend capability: None built-in.

Starting price: 10/month

Thunkable

Thunkable is a no-code tool designed specifically for building native mobile apps. Features include drag-and-drop components, advanced logic, native mobile app functionality, and easy publication. Thunkable apps can be directly published from the platform to the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or the web.

Thunkable also boasts extensible integrations, allowing you to access third-party databases and backend functionality easily.

Frontend capability: Design components, animations, logic blocks, open integrations.

Backend capability: None built-in.

Starting price: 13/month

UI Bakery

UI Bakery allows app makers to quickly build internal no-code business tools. UI Bakery lets you add your database credentials to query your data directly, or you can integration any REST or GraphQL API. The platform offers 25 components and 10 column and field types.

UI Bakery uses a roles-based security system to enable you to share your app with team members securely. The platform has low-code capability as well, giving you the ability to add custom components using React or plain JavaScript. Additionally, your UI Bakery app can be hosted on-premise.

Frontend capability: Components, add JavaScript code, third-party database integration.

Backend capability: Connect to third-party database using credentials.

Starting price: 10/month

Conclusion

No-code and low-code tools enable the development of custom mobile apps and web apps much faster than traditional methods of app development. These tools boast great ease of use, tons of functional features, and can be used to create things for personal use or business use.

Finding the best no-code tool for you is likely to be a multi-step process. We recommend trying a few platforms before choosing the one that works best for your use case.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is No-Code development?

No-code, or Codeless, development is app (and website) development that does not require the developer to manually write code. Using visual Codeless blocks, you are able to compose user interfaces, logic and APIs visually.

An application built using no-code tools still contains code. Lots of it, in fact. This code is not written by the developer, however, but rather generated automatically by the platform itself.

What’s the difference between no-code and low-code?

Low-code development typically means that the developer has the capability to include some coded elements in the development process. With Backendless, for example, you can add Java or JavaScript (Node.js to be specific) code to your backend, and custom code of your choice to your UI.

While low-code development platforms may have a steeper learning curve, they also provides additional flexibility for the developer by removing some constraints.

What is a visual app development platform?

A visual app development platform (VADP) is a term that we like to use for web and mobile app development platforms that allow a developer to build apps visually, with little or no code.

The difference between a VADP and a no-code platform as discussed in this article is that a VADP typically provides both a frontend and a backend, and both can be managed entirely visually.

For example, in addition to our Codeless UI Builder, Backendless provides a visual database, visual schema modeler, visual database view creator, etc. These backend tools can be instrumental in simplifying backend development.

How does Zapier fit in a no-code app development stack?

No no-code app builder can do it all. As technology advances, with new capabilities for apps and websites being invented all the time, there are bound to be gaps in your platform.

Zapier is a no-code tool created to make it easy to connect multiple web-based services, including no-code platforms, with each other. Using Zapier, you can easily connect your chosen platform to thousands of tools available across the web.

Zapier can be used with Backendless or many of the other no-code platforms in this article to add awesome third-party services to your app.

What is the difference between a web app and a mobile app?

A web app is an application that is hosted and delivered via a web browser, much like a website. Most web apps, if built to be responsive, can be accessed by a mobile phone and still look great and function very well. They cannot, however, be submitted as-is to mobile app stores.

A number of the no-code platforms we discuss in this article allow you to build native mobile applications. Typically, mobile application development platforms provide additional capabilities that other no-code app builders do not.

For example, native mobile apps are able to access functionality on the device that is not available to a web app. Additionally, a web app cannot be directly submitted to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store without being properly packaged. There are services that can take your web app and prepare it for submission to the app stores.

Some no-code mobile app development platforms allow you to submit your app directly to the app stores through their platform.

Backendless offers two options for publishing your app to mobile: Backendless Viewer and a Flutter native mobile app shell. Backendless Viewer is itself an app on the app stores. You can publish your Backendless app directly to Viewer from inside Backendless Console.

Our Flutter shell is a wrapper for your app. It allows you to compile your Backendless app using Flutter. The resulting app can then be published to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as a native mobile app.

How to use ChatGPT to create an app

So you want to create an app with ChatGPT and make a bajillion dollars? Here’s what you need to know.

In addition to hosting the ZDNET Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist.

  • Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering
  • Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education
  • Example of Excellence, Western Governors University Teacher’s College
  • Best Strategy, New Jersey Venture Council
  • Author of The Flexible Enterprise
  • DIY and maker activities, particularly 3D printing and digital fabrication
  • Enterprise-level IT applied to SMB small and home business operations, and working from home
  • Business development and strategy, especially for small business and tech companies
  • B.S. Computer Science with honors, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • M.Ed. Learning and Technology, Western Governors University

In addition to hosting the ZDNET Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist.

  • Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering
  • Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education
  • Example of Excellence, Western Governors University Teacher’s College
  • Best Strategy, New Jersey Venture Council
  • Author of The Flexible Enterprise
  • DIY and maker activities, particularly 3D printing and digital fabrication
  • Enterprise-level IT applied to SMB small and home business operations, and working from home
  • Business development and strategy, especially for small business and tech companies
  • B.S. Computer Science with honors, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • M.Ed. Learning and Technology, Western Governors University

I better get the bad news out of the way. If you think ChatGPT can write you an iPhone app with in-app purchases that will make you a million dollars, you’re out of luck.

I’m preempting this expectation because every time I talk about how to build products, there are a few folks out there who either (a) want me to write them a million-dollar app, (b) want me to show them the one class or book that will teach them how to write a million-dollar app, (c) share with them the one secret tool or program that millionaire programmers all hide from the regular folk, or (d) introduce them to my programmer buddies, because surely one of them will write a million-dollar app for a stranger on spec.

The software business doesn’t work that way. Software is very big and complicated. Many apps rely on connections to vast networks of other resources that all need to be integrated together. Essentially, many apps are merely front-ends to enormous computing infrastructures that do their work behind the scenes. Other apps, games for example, take teams of people with a wide range of skills, all working in sync, usually for years, to turn out an app.

How ChatGPT can help you create an app

Now, I do believe ChatGPT can help you with creating an app. But it’s not going to do most of the work. That’s up to you and your team. But it may be able to save you some time and reduce a lot of effort. And that’s a win, all on its own.

So with that, let’s look at how ChatGPT might help you create an app.

Plan your app

There are roughly 2 million iPhone apps and about 3.5 million Android apps. Finding a unique app offering is going to be difficult, but it’s also probably not a good idea to make something that already has a ton of competitors.

Don’t limit yourself to ChatGPT to do your research here. Certainly involve it, asking questions like are there iPhone apps that count the days until retirement?

But keep in mind that ChatGPT’s data ends in 2021, so if you want to, say, produce an app that helps write ChatGPT prompts, ChatGPT wouldn’t know what’s in the app store.- but Google’s Bard might. When I asked ChatGPT, it responded there are no specific iPhone apps that are designed specifically for this purpose, yet Bard responded, There are a few iPhone apps that can help you create ChatGPT prompts, and then went on to list the apps.

But there’s a lot more to planning your app than just basic market research. You’ll certainly want to plan out functionality and features, and then craft a user interface mockup. Continuing with the idea of building an app that helps write ChatGPT prompts, you could ask:

I want to build an iPhone app to help write ChatGPT prompts. What should the major and minor features be in such an app?

I recommend you type this into ChatGPT, because the answer it gave was surprisingly complete and useful. It shows how ChatGPT could actually be useful in creating an app. Next up is the user interface. While ChatGPT can’t draw out a wireframe (yet), you can ask ChatGPT to guide you with regard to creating its main screens.

Can you describe the screens and user interface elements this app should have?

Again, I recommend you run this prompt, because the AI tool’s answers were surprisingly well thought out.

Once you have your app idea and planned out some of the elements of the app, you’ll need to think about the development and deployment. You might try a prompt like this:

I want to build this app. What do I need to do in order to begin development and prepare for deployment?

I found the answer to be far too general, but probably helpful for a newbie exploring the process. Next I tried:

Help me set up and configure the Xcode development environment to write this app

This got me closer but was still too general. I went one layer deeper:

Help me choose a template and configure the Xcode settings for my project. Also, how should I configure Interface Builder?

That actually helped quite a bit. Keep digging in and asking questions, keep adding elements to your project, and feel free to ask ChatGTP along the way. But don’t forget that there is a wealth of help for app development outside the new world of AI. Don’t be afraid to use old-school web searches and dig around for examples and guides. This is a big project and you’ll need to use all the resources available.

Build your app

This is where the rubber meets the road.- or the code meets the development system. It’s where you actually make your product. And it is here that CHATGPT can offer some very interesting.- but very specific.- help.

Let’s once again be clear: We’re not yet at the point where you can tell an AI tool to make an app for you. Apps are often hundreds of thousands (even millions) of lines of code, spread across hundreds (or even thousands) of files. Today, ChatGPT doesn’t handle that scope.

In terms of scope, think of an app as a book or set of books (all the way up to an entire library). Think of a function, method, or subroutine (different terms for what is essentially a small functional unit of code) as a paragraph or a small article, maybe a chapter in a book. ChatGPT can help you at the paragraph level. It can help you structure your chapter. But it has no idea how to handle the entire book.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a big help. Earlier, I showed you how it might be used to help define user interface elements. You can use ChatGPT to give you specific instructions to put them together. For example:

Explain how to set up outlets and actions to initiate a search for a prompt in an existing set of saved prompts.

That asks the AI to explain how to set up one function in the user interface. You could repeat that over and over with different elements of your user interface. You can also ask it to write a specific function or set up data elements. Let’s create a storage mechanism for saved prompts. Here are two you could use one after the other:

android, builder, best, no-code, 2023

Help me configure a storage mechanism for saved prompts

Walk me through using Core Data to save prompts for later access

The first recommended three storage mechanisms, and I decided to ask it to help with the second, using Core Data. Here, it even wrote some basic code that helps get started with that data storage mechanism.

First, it helped to set up the storage mechanism itself:

Then it gave an example of how to save a prompt. You can use these bits of code as a starting point, and then add your own code on top of it. But with ChatGPT’s help, you’ve got a good starting point.

It also showed how to retrieve a prompt. Here’s where you’d get the data back, but also format it and present it using your own user interface style.

I’m not going to go into more prompts for generating code, but you should get the idea by now. Use ChatGPT to write small, very well-defined bits of code and give you guidance. Think of it as a very talented junior developer who understands the code, but doesn’t really see the big picture.

Finally, don’t expect all of ChatGPT’s code to work. As I discussed previously, sometimes the AI’s code is perfect and other times it’s a complete fail. Kind of like code written by us humans, in fact.

Deploy your app

In this example, I’m assuming you’re building an iPhone app, but these procedures are similar for apps of all platforms. Fundamentally, you don’t just finish building your app and it magically appears on folks’ devices. Instead, you have to follow procedures specific to each app store to prepare the app, and then to publish it.

To get started with that, you might want to issue a prompt like this:

Walk me through the steps necessary to deploy my app

When I asked ChatGPT, it gave me these six steps, along with a short paragraph description summarizing the steps:

  • Register for an Apple Developer account.
  • Configure your app’s settings.
  • Prepare your app for distribution.
  • Submit your app to the App Store.
  • Wait for app review.
  • Release your app.

Here’s another good place you can get more value from ChatGPT. You can take each of those steps and ask for more detailed instructions. For example:

Tell me exactly how to configure my app’s settings for deployment

Tell me exactly how to submit my app to the App Store

Keep drilling down. If there’s a step that ChatGPT glosses over, ask it for clarification. Think of it as if you’re in a court and a witness gives an incomplete answer. Keep digging, asking more and more pointed questions, until you get what you want.

Now, if you’re very, very lucky, you’ve positioned your app as unique from all other apps, have built up a customer base, are raking in the big bucks, and are beginning to think about what model Ferrari to buy, as well as what your next app should be. likely, though, you’ll be supporting customers, fixing bugs, adding features, and trying out new marketing approaches.

No matter what, if you’ve made it this far, congratulations. Back in the day, I wrote 40 silly little iPhone apps, and ChatGPT would have definitely been a huge help. Just think of it as a tool like all your other tools, not as the only tool, and you’ll be fine.

Is it better to make an iPhone app or an Android app?

Both are huge markets. If your app is successful, you’ll probably want to deploy it to both platforms. Depending on what you want your app to do, it may or may not be more suited to one platform than another. For example, one of my favorite Android apps is Tasker, which lets you customize a lot more of the Android experience than Apple’s rough equivalent (Shortcuts) lets you do on iOS. If you were building a Tasker-like app, you’d probably FOCUS on Android.

Overall, pick the platform you feel most comfortable with and build your app there. Then move it to the other environment.

How can I make sure my app is visible in search results?

If you’re talking about search results in the app store, you’re going to do a mix of keyword testing and graphics. First, make sure you have a compelling icon and include enough screenshots and videos. Don’t leave those out. Then, it’s all about the SEO. You’re going to need to find the right keywords that make your app stand out. There are many tools for doing just that, and you can ask ChatGPT what some of them are, and for some help.

How long does it take to build an app?

Short answer: anywhere from a week to three years. Longer answer: It all depends. How big is your app? What is it trying to accomplish? How experienced are you and your team? When I built my 40 apps (most of which were very similar to each other), the first one took almost a month, and the others took a day or so each.- not counting the 10 or so days it took for Apple to approve each one.

But other apps can take years. An app to save and recall ChatGPT prompts is way different from, say, the app. If you’re trying to build a. an Instacart, an Uber, or anything else big, you’ve got a long road ahead. But if you have a fun idea, expect the process to take somewhere between a few months to a year.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on at @DavidGewirtz, on at com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

The best Android app makers for creating apps and building them with zero code

Developing for Android usually requires the use of special software and programming skills, but there are many Android app makers that make creating apps fun, fast and easy. Here is my list of the top 5 App creator websites and services.

Want to be an Android app developer but don’t know how to code? Don’t have the inclination to learn?

Don’t worry, there are still plenty of options out there for you. Android app makers are tools created specifically for those people who want to build and release an app on the Play Store (and possibly other app stores, ssh!) but don’t want to get involved with learning Java or Objective-C. These Android app creators are largely drag-and-drop affairs. A little customization here, a little branding there and voila, you have an app!

Of course you will lose something in translation. Android app creators do not provide the same level of control or functionality as building a native app from scratch. However, you might be surprised by just how flexible many of these tools are. Depending on the app you have in mind, there’s a surprisingly good chance that one of these Android app makers will supply you with all the tools and functionality you need. And in many cases, you can have something up and running in no time at all.

On the surface, many of these Android app makers seem to offer the same features packaged slightly differently. Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll see that they have some fairly big differences. It’s important to ensure you choose the right Android app maker for your own project. In this post, we’ll take a fairly comprehensive look at what’s out there among the app makers and assess which tools are best for various scenarios. Whether you want to create a 2D platform game, or you want a top-end business app, you should find something to suit your purposes.

Top code-free Android app makers and creators

AppYourself

AppYourself is an app builder for HTML5-based apps on Android or iOS. You’ll see a lot of HTML5-based app creators on this list. These apps work more like web pages that are loaded into “web views” within the apps. This is what allows you to sidestep the need for programming and what makes them cross-platform.

This tool is clearly aimed at businesses, but is a little more startup friendly and a little less corporate, compared to other options. The process of building apps is kept streamlined and fun as a result, but there are also a few neat features for potential monetization – including synchronization with Open Table and Resimo. Perhaps the most compelling feature though, is the option to create your website using the tool as well and then keep content synced with the app.

Pricing is relatively sensible here, with the most basic membership for building apps setting you back just 24 euros a month. Full business membership is 49 euros (~55) and enterprise membership goes up to 89 euros (~100). The good news is that you can try the tool for free. So app yourself silly!

AppInstitute

AppInsitute is another business-friendly iOS and Android app maker that is easy to get started with and has a lot of enmterprise-centric features. There’s a powerful booking feature for instance, a loyalty program, GEO listings, social media integration, analytics and push notifications for reminding users to check your app. Perhaps the most impressive feature is the ability to make transactions entirely through the app itself.

Once again, there is a free trial that will allow you to create your app in its entirety. Payment is only required once you decide to go ahead and publish for 32 pounds a month (~42). It certainly stands out among the many Android app makers

AppyPie

AppyPie is an app builder from India that once again focuses on ease and simplicity. The homepage features kids running through fields of wheat, which serves as a clue that this is a slightly less corporate solution.

This Android app creator sets itself apart in a few ways. Firstly, it gives you a number of templates and features for apps other than shopping and business apps. There’s the option to create your own Fitness Tracker app for example, or to create a “birthday app” for a loved one. I especially like the Kids App Builder, designed to help kids get into app development. There’s also a game builder that is based on pre-made templates but goes beyond the basic word searches etc. that you typically see with this kind of builder.

Another unique aspect of AppyPie is the pricing structure. While there are the usual options to build an app using app makers and publish it for different sums per-month, there is also a free option that is supported by ads. You’ll also lose the ability to edit the app after 48 hours but if you just wanted the satisfaction of having an app in the store with your name on it, this is an easy and free way to do that. Interestingly, you’ll need to manually submit your apps to the Play Store, which is both a good and bad thing. There’s also a lack of polish in some other areas compared with the slicker offerings on this list.

AppMachine

AppMachine is an app builder with a number of unique features to appeal to a range of developers and organizations. Those include the option to scan a website and convert it into an app. Designing from scratch is also easy thanks to the use of “snap together” building blocks. The usual features are here too, such as maps and support for web services. Pricing starts from 29 pounds (~38) per app, per month.

Shoutem

Back to the business-oriented Android app creators, Shoutem is a particularly polished and crisp app creator with a number of features that will be useful to many users. In particular, the monetization side of things is handled well here with Shopify integration and mobile advertising support – meaning that you can sell your back catalogue of products, or make money by keeping your users glued to the screen and showing them ads. It’s a nice and simple creator tool as well, with a host of ready-made and Smart looking templates to pick from.

The problem is that publishing your app will require a slightly more expensive pricing plan, starting at 49 for the Advanced Plan. For the right businesses, this could be a price worth paying though.

Appery.io

Appery.io is one of the Android app creators that is powered by PhoneGap, meaning it has access to some of the more native features of your phone like the camera and vibrations (see below for more on PhoneGap). There are also a number of plugins available to further extend functionality. The builder is aimed at the more technically minded however and uses a fair bit of jargon that might be off-putting for some. If you can get past that though, this is one of the more capable options. There’s a free trial, but the pro plan will set you back 99 per month, making this one of the costlier choices too.

GoodBarber

The strangely named GoodBarber is one of the more capable and feature-rich Android app makers on this list. Unlike many others here, GoodBarber provides native apps written in Objective-C and Java for iOS and Android respectively. This gives it some more advanced features compared to other Android app creators, including social network support, iBeacons, Geofencing, and more. It can also integrate with Amazon, Etsy and Shopify, and content can easily be updated via the “back office.” The monthly fee for published apps is 32 euros (~36.14) per month.

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Mobile Roadie

Mobile Roadie is one of the bigger names in the Android app creators space and has some impressive clients such as Disney and TED. But with those bragging rights you might expect a prohibitive asking price and that’s exactly what you’ll get here. The pricing is currently not available on the site (never a good sign) but previously core membership began at 149 per month with pro asking for a mere 799 per month.

As you’d expect for that price, you’ll also get a very professional looking design and a range of features, but, for this price, I find it hard to understand why you wouldn’t just outsource development of a native app to a professional service. But hey, if it’s good enough for Disney!

AppsGeyser

AppsGeyser is another one of these Android app makers that lets users build apps for free. The catch is that all apps you create will have a banner space along the top showing ads. What makes this a little different though, is that you’ll share 50 percent of your revenue with the company but only once your app reaches a minimum usage. To start earning, you’ll also need to register your own account with an Ad Network and get your own banner. The slot will then display your ad 50 percent of the time and AppsGeyer’s the other 50 percent, so it is a little fiddly.

Certainly don’t approach this as a “get rich quick” scheme. Again though, if you’re looking for a fun way to get a simple app in the store, then this is one option. Contributing to the good cause that is shovelware!

There are some fun options for what you want to create here though, including a range of simple games (such as a word search or quiz) and an option to “turn any site into an app.” It won’t be for everyone, and the UI isn’t the most polished or up to date, but it’s different enough to be worth checking out.

BiznessApps

Aimed squarely at the business crowd, and small businesses in particular, BiznessApps comes with all the features you might expect, including food ordering, loyalty programs, push notifications, analytics, shopping carts, and more. This is perhaps the best suite of features for a small business and that is backed up by some professional-looking templates as well as an easy builder. There’s a free trial, while paid membership will cost 300-400 per month. That has sky-rocketed since the last time we reviewed this list and while the apps look good, there are no obvious reasons to choose this over, say, AppInstitute. Nor does it have quite the list of clientele that Mobile Roadie enjoys.

TheAppBuilder

TheAppBuilder is a business-centric app building tool, priced at the equivalent of 1.70 per user, per month. Bulk discounts are available for large teams, and demoes are available upon request. The tool uses a CMS (content management system) that looks a little like WordPress, making it easy to publish content to your app. Some useful features like push notification support and user-generated content will help with marketing. Although it does lack some of the more advanced features seen on other builders, such as in-app purchases or booking forms.

AppMakr

AppMakr is worth including on this Android app makers list as one of the oldest builders in town. It calls itself the “Original Way to #MakeAnApp” and it has a lot of features, supporting both HTML5 and native creations. The other pleasing differentiator is the price. This is one of the most affordable options around, at a cost of 2 per month for basic publishing, 99 per year to enjoy the Pro membership, or 39 monthly for the reseller package.

The downside is that this is one of the more clunky and dated Android app makers in town, which makes the process a little less streamlined and enjoyable. This is a shame, seeing as the low pricing would otherwise have made this a good choice for fun DIY projects.

BuildFire

Finally, BuildFire is another PhoneGap powered app builder that has some very Smart looking templates, an easy builder, and the option to let the pros handle the design for you if you so wish. BuildFire.js is a feature that impressively extends the capabilities of this tool as well, allowing you to do such things as creating new UIs from scratch, or integrating with a custom database. This is one of the more powerful and professional tools and so once again, that makes it one of the more expensive – costing 57 per month for the most basic option and 134 for the professional package.

Game Builders

GameSalad

GameSalad is one of the Android app makers for making games. And salads too! Okay, it doesn’t actually make salads, but it’s actually one of the more impressive builders on this list. This is a drag-and-drop tool for creating simple games within hours, and it can serve as the perfect introduction to game design, or even a useful prototyping tool for professionals. The tagline “Drag Drop Programming – No Coding Required” is rather confusing, but we get the point.

Suffice it to say that this is an involved-yet-simple and very flexible tool that is also fairly affordable starting at “less than” 17 per month.

Stencyl

Stencyl is another cross-platform game builder for iOS, Android, Windows, and even Flash. You can publish Flash games for free, but if you want to release on Android, it will set you back 199 per year (though you can publish to web and desktop for 99 a year). The system is once again very beginner friendly and utilizes a tile-based 2D set-up that likens itself to using Lego.

GameMaker Studio

While GameSalad and Stencyl are good at what they do, neither is likely to give you quite the necessary power and flexibility needed to make an app that will be a “big hit.” GameMaker Studio from YoYoGames is one of the app makers that certainly does have that potential though, and in fact has helped to build some fairly well-known titles such as Hyper Light Drifter. There’s no code required but the option to dabble in programming is there for those that do want the extra freedom. To publish to Android, you’ll need to pay a one off fee starting at 99.

Consider this the missing link between something like Stencyl and Unity. But actually, you might find that even Unity is less code heavy than you think, so that’s possibly worth a look too! Oh and Unity or Unreal are free to use.

What is PhoneGap?

PhoneGap is not an app builder as such but is worth understanding for the role it plays and might still offer a good option for code-phobes. PhoneGap, like many app makers, allows you to create non-native apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but then bridge the gap in order to access native-type features. As it’s not really a builder, you’ll be doing more of the website development yourself. You’ll need intermediate skills with HTML and CSS to make something functional, as well as a little technical knowledge, but it may still prove easier than starting from scratch with Android Development. PhoneGap is powered by Apache Cordova, and this is in turn what is used behind the scenes to make many of the app builders on this list work as they do.

This means that PhoneGap and Android app makers powered by Apache (such as Appery.io) offer a surprising amount of native feature support, allowing you to access things like the camera, the compass, media storage, etc. Generally, if you see that an app builder is powered by PhoneGap then that’s probably a good sign!

If you choose to go directly to the source though, then you’ll gain more flexibility and power when building your apps. PhoneGap is cross platform, so you can build an app and then publish it to either iOS or Android. Development is handled through a desktop app and you can use a mobile app to try your creations out on a physical device. The best part of PhoneGap is that it is free with zero ads or other restrictions, which we’ve seen is not always the case when you use a builder!

But while PhoneGap certainly makes the process a lot easier than going native with Android Studio, it still presents a slightly steeper learning curve compared to some of the other items on this list seeing as you will need to deal with HTML etc. You could consider this to be one rung down from app development “proper.”

Android app creators: Top picks and closing thoughts

So there you have it: a huge selection of Android app makers offering varied features and benefits. Of course, this is a subjective matter, but if you’d like a little guidance on which one to pick, here are some thoughts.

For the majority of small businesses, my top choice would have to be BiznessApps. These apps look good, and the features supported are perfect for local businesses that want to be able to market themselves through push notifications and take bookings and orders. The pricing is also up there with the best value.

That’s for business apps used to market and sell though. If you want an app that will actually do something, then you’ll probably want one of the Android app makers powered by PhoneGap so that you can access the camera. For that, either Appery.io or BuildFire will be good choices.

But if you’re going that route, then why not do just a little more learning and make something yourself in PhoneGap? You’ll need to use HTML and CSS, but you’ll get more functionality and it will be completely free.

For vanity projects, one of the free Android app makers like AppyPie or AppsGeyser make more sense. For games and kids, GameSalad and maybe GameMaker will provide a surprising amount of power and flexibility, while being fun and easy.

Then again you could just learn to code!

The Six Most Popular Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

Over the years, cross-platform app development has become one of the most popular ways to build mobile applications. A cross-platform, or multiplatform, approach allows developers to create apps that run similarly on different mobile platforms.

Interest has steadily increased over the period from 2010 to date, as this Google Trends chart illustrates:

The growing popularity of the rapidly advancing cross-platform mobile development technology has resulted in many new tools emerging on the market. With many options available, it can be challenging to pick the one that will best suit your needs. To help you find the right tool, we’ve put together a list of the six best cross-platform app development frameworks and the features that make them great. At the end of this article, you will also find a few key things to pay attention to when choosing a multiplatform development framework for your business.

What is a cross-platform app development framework?

Mobile engineers use cross-platform mobile development frameworks to build native-looking applications for multiple platforms, such as Android and iOS, using a single codebase. Shareable code is one of the key advantages this approach has over native app development. Having one single codebase means that mobile engineers can save time by avoiding the need to write code for each operating system, accelerating the development process.

With demand for cross-platform solutions for mobile app development growing, the number of tools available on the market is increasing as well. In the following section, we provide an overview of the most widely used frameworks for building cross-platform mobile apps for iOS, Android, and other platforms. Our summaries include the programming languages these frameworks are based on, as well as their main features and advantages.

Popular cross-platform app development frameworks

This list of tools is not exhaustive; many other options are available on the market today. The important thing to realize is that there’s no one-size-fits-all tool that will be ideal for everyone. The choice of framework largely depends on your particular project and your goals, as well as other specifics that we will cover at the end of the article.

Nevertheless, we’ve tried to pick out some of the best frameworks for cross-platform mobile development to give you a starting point for your decision.

Flutter

Released by Google in 2017, Flutter is a popular framework for building mobile, web, and desktop apps from a single codebase. To build applications with Flutter, you will need to use Google’s programming language called Dart.

Programming language: Dart.

Mobile apps: eBay, Alibaba, Google Pay, ByteDance apps.

  • Flutter’s hot reload feature allows you to see how your application changes as soon as you modify your code, without you having to recompile it.
  • Flutter supports Google’s Material Design, a design system that helps developers build digital experiences. You can use multiple visual and behavioral widgets when building your app.
  • Flutter doesn’t rely on web browser technology. Instead, it has its own rendering engine for drawing widgets.

Flutter has a relatively active community of users around the world. It is widely used by many developers. According to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021, Flutter is the second most-loved framework.

React Native

An open-source UI software framework, React Native was developed in 2015 (a bit earlier than Flutter) by Meta Platforms, formerly It’s based on ‘s JavaScript library React and allows developers to build natively rendered cross-platform mobile apps.

Programming language: JavaScript.

Mobile apps: Skype, Bloomberg, Shopify, various small modules in and Instagram.

  • Developers can see their changes in their React components immediately, thanks to the Fast Refresh feature.
  • One of React Native’s advantages is a FOCUS on the UI. React primitives render to native platform UI components, allowing you to build a customized and responsive user interface.
  • In versions 0.62 and higher, integration between React Native and the mobile app debugger Flipper is enabled by default. Flipper is used to debug Android, iOS, and React native apps, and it provides tools like a log viewer, an interactive layout inspector, and a network inspector.

As one of the most popular cross-platform app development frameworks, React Native has a large and strong community of developers who share their technical knowledge. Thanks to this community, you can get the support you need when building mobile apps with the framework.

Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile

Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile is an SDK developed by JetBrains for creating Android and iOS applications. It allows you to share common code between the two platforms and write platform-specific code only when it’s necessary, for example, when you need to build native UI components or when you are working with platform-specific APIs.

Programming language: Kotlin.

Mobile apps: Philips, Baidu, Netflix, Leroy Merlin.

  • You can easily start using Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile in existing projects.
  • Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile provides you with full access over the user interface. You can utilize the latest UI frameworks, such as SwiftUI and Jetpack Compose.
  • Developers have easy access to the Android and iOS SDKs without any restrictions.

Even though this cross-platform mobile development framework is the youngest on our list, it has a mature community. It’s growing fast and is already making a distinct impression on today’s market. Thanks to its regularly updated documentation and community support, you can always find answers to your questions. What’s more, many global companies and startups already use Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile to develop multiplatform apps with a native-like user experience.

Create your first cross-platform mobile app with Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile.

Ionic

Ionic is an open-source UI toolkit that was released in 2013. It helps developers build hybrid mobile and desktop applications using a combination of native and web technologies, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, with integrations for the Angular, React, and Vue frameworks.

Programming language: JavaScript.

Mobile apps: T-Mobile, BBC (Children’s Education apps), EA Games.

  • Ionic is based on a SaaS UI framework designed specifically for mobile OS and provides multiple UI components for building applications.
  • The Ionic framework uses the Cordova and Capacitor plugins to provide access to device’s built-in features, such as the camera, flashlight, GPS, and audio recorder.
  • Ionic has its own IDE called Ionic Studio, which was designed for building and prototyping apps with minimal coding.

There’s constant activity on the Ionic Forum, where community members exchange knowledge and help each other overcome their development challenges.

Xamarin

Xamarin was launched in 2011 and is now owned by Microsoft. It’s an open-source cross-platform app development framework that uses the C# language and the.Net framework to develop apps for Android, iOS, and Windows.

Programming language: С#.

Mobile apps: UPS, Alaska Airlines, Academy Members (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).

  • Xamarin applications use the Base Class Library, or.NET BCL, a large collection of classes that have a range of comprehensive features, including XML, database, IO, and networking support, and more. Existing C# code can be compiled for use in your app, giving you access to many libraries that add functionality beyond the BCL.
  • With Xamarin.Forms, developers can utilize platform-specific UI elements to achieve a consistent look for their apps across different operating systems.
  • Compiled bindings in Xamarin.Forms improve data binding performance. Using these bindings provides compile-time validation for all binding expressions. Because of this feature, mobile engineers get fewer runtime errors.

Xamarin is supported by many contributors across the globe and is especially popular among C, C, and C# developers who create mobile applications.

NativeScript

This open-source mobile application development framework was initially released in 2014. NativeScript allows you to build Android and iOS mobile apps using JavaScript or languages that transpile to JavaScript, like TypeScript, and frameworks like Angular and Vue.js.

Programming language: JavaScript, TypeScript.

Mobile apps: Daily Nanny, Strudel, Breethe.

  • NativeScript allows developers to easily access native Android and iOS APIs.
  • The framework renders platform-native UIs. Apps built with NativeScript run directly on a native device without relying on WebViews, a system component for the Android OS that allows Android applications to show content from the web inside an app.
  • NativeScript offers various plugins and pre-built app templates, eliminating the need for third-party solutions.

NativeScript is based on well-known web technologies like JavaScript and Angular, which is why many developers choose this framework. Nevertheless, it’s usually used by small companies and startups.

How do you choose the right cross-platform app development framework for your project?

There are other cross-platform frameworks besides those mentioned above, and new tools will continue to appear on the market. Given the wide array of options, how can you find the right one for your next project? The first step is to understand your project’s requirements and goals, and to get a clear idea of what you want your future app to look like. Next, you’ll want to take the following important factors into account so you can decide on the best fit for your business.

The expertise of your team

Different cross-platform mobile development frameworks are based on different programming languages. Before adopting a framework, check what skills it requires and make sure your team of mobile engineers has enough knowledge and experience to work with it.

For example, if your team is equipped with highly skilled JavaScript developers, and you don’t have enough resources to introduce new technologies, it may be worth choosing frameworks that use this language, such as React Native.

Vendor reliability and support

It’s important to be sure that the maintainer of the framework will continue to support it in the long run. Learn more about the companies that develop and support the frameworks you’re considering, and take a look at the mobile apps that have been built using them.

UI customization

Depending on how crucial the user interface is for your future app, you may need to know how easily you can customize the UI using a particular framework. For example, Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile provides you with full control over the UI and the ability to use the latest UI frameworks, such as SwiftUI and Jetpack Compose.

Framework maturity

Find out how frequently the public API and tooling for a prospective framework changes. For example, some changes to native operating system components break internal cross-platform behavior. It’s better to be aware of possible challenges you may face when working with the mobile app development framework. You can also browse GitHub and check how many bugs the framework has and how these bugs are being handled.

Framework capabilities

Each framework has its own capabilities and limitations. Knowing what features and tools a framework provides is crucial to identifying the best solution for you. Does it have code analyzers and unit testing frameworks? How quickly and easily will you be able to build, debug, and test your app?

Consistency between different platforms

Providing consistency between multiple platforms can be challenging, given how much platforms like Android and iOS significantly differ, particularly in terms of the development experience. For example, tools and libraries aren’t the same on these operating systems, so there may be many differences when it comes to the business logic. Some technologies, like Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile, allow you to write and share the app’s business logic between Android and iOS platforms.

Security

Security and privacy are especially important when building a critical mobile app for business, for example, banking and e-commerce apps that include a payment system. According to OWASP Mobile Top 10, among the most critical security risks for mobile applications are insecure data storage, authentication, and authorization.

You need to ensure that the multiplatform mobile development framework of your choice provides the required level of security. One way to do this is to browse the security tickets on the framework’s issue tracker if it has one that’s publicly available.

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Educational materials

The volume and quality of available learning resources about a framework can also help you understand how smooth your experience will be when working with it. Comprehensive official documentation, online and offline conferences, and educational courses are a good sign that you will be able to find enough essential information about a product when you need it.

Key takeaways

Without considering these factors, it’s difficult to choose the framework for cross-platform mobile development that will best meet your specific needs. Take a closer look at your future application requirements and weigh them against capabilities of various frameworks. Doing so will allow you to find the right cross-platform solution to help you deliver high-quality apps.

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dakus

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