Oh, brave explorer of the digital universe, you've landed at the right spot! Let's talk about no-code app builders. But not just any builders—we're diving into the creme de la creme, the elite, the Top 10 no-code app builders of 2023. But first, some methodology to the process.
The user interface should be friendly, and the platforms should work without random glitches that make you want to throw your computer out the window.
Whether you're building a personal project or an enterprise app, these platforms need to be flexible enough to create whatever your heart desires—and scale it up to high heavens.
A good knowledge base is only the start. Bonus points for platforms that provide starter guides, interactive guides, videos, and other useful resources that help you learn fast.
Documentation can only do so much. Having an active forum with experienced builders is priceless. The apps on this list have large communities you can visit and get help if needed.
So, buckle up, it's going to be a wildly informative ride!
The basics again, ugh!
No-code application builders, plain and simple, are platforms that empower anyone – be it designers, creatives, SEO wizards, you name it—to whip up usable software in a jiffy, sans coding.
Initially designed for non-techy team members involved in product development, these no-code platforms enable anyone to craft fully functioning apps using intuitive visual editors that serve up pre-coded elements like text boxes, videos, buttons, and so on.
Through user-friendly drag-and-drop tools, WYSIWYG editors (what you see is what you get), workflow automation, sleek design, and cloud-based spreadsheets to store your data before it's displayed... no-code platforms pull off A LOT. Speaking of…
The ace up the sleeve of no-code app builders is pretty obvious: you can be blissfully ignorant about coding and still get your job done! Want to create an app on par with Airbnb or Facebook? No worries, you won't need coding for THIS. Well maybe some, depending on how crazy you want to go, but get to that level first—you’ll figure it out later.
Here's what no-code app builders bring to the table:
Without the power of traditional coding, you might bump into some limitations with what the app builder can do.
Got some coding chops, or have teammates that do? Then, a low-code version could be your golden ticket. Remember, some no-code platforms also let you modify code. Which is a separate topic on its own.
No-code platforms might feel like they're a bit light on customizability. That's because they're more about swiftly sorting out information, instead of getting down and dirty with unique code.
Now, low-code app builders are that middle ground between no-code and full-on manual coding. They're the shortcut you need to speed up app building, ditching the need to repeatedly churn out the same code. Essentially, you get to create software with just a smidgen of programming.
But don't go thinking no-code platforms are inflexible. Many no-code application builders also give you the green light to tweak the coding. You can edit their pre-configured blocks and come up with new elements. So developers can still get their coding fix to meet their business's unique needs, while the coding-challenged in the business can chip in their two cents.
This is what you came for!
Pricing: starts at $29 and up to $300 per month on the top plan. There is a separate plan for agencies & freelancers at $39 per month per seat. Trial period—up to a month!
Directual is the full-stack app development platform that brings together the power of traditional coding and a visual no-code approach. Here’s the rundown:
Here's the cherry on top: Directual offers a lucrative affiliate program. Earn up to a whopping 50% of client payments by referring others to the platform. It pays to be part of the Directual family.
Selling too hard? Oh well!
Pricing: starts with $0 and goes to $349 or custom pricing. The devil is in the operational limits, however, which are a tad too crazy to figure out right now. Workload units highly complicate assessing what you will have to pay at the end of the month.
Bubble boasts its own visual programming language, making it a child's play for beginners to cobble together an app without writing a line of code. It offers the freedom and flexibility usually seen in the playground of low-code platforms.
You've got control over your app's aesthetics, data structure, and performance. This makes Bubble an excellent choice for both prototypes and real-deal products. Some no-code agencies love it so much, they use it exclusively to construct apps for clients.
Working with Bubble is like spending a day juggling three jobs - a designer on Canva, a data analyst on Excel, and a logical thinking whiz setting up workflows.
The learning curve is like scaling Mount Everest, but in a fun, adventurous way: you grasp the basics easily, giving you the confidence to dive in. But just when you're having a good time, you'll hit a roadblock, and it'll feel like a bucket of cold water on your enthusiasm.
That's when you head over to the forums (which are great, to be fair) or YouTube. Once you overcome that obstacle, you'll feel a wave of accomplishment, rejuvenating your confidence and propelling your building process forward.
Directual loves Bubble, though. It’s quite a power duo in some cases.
Pricing: starts at $0 for cloud pricing, goes up to $50k/year for on-premise machines, and even further up to custom prices for tough requirements. Suited for small-timers and big corps alike, it seems.
Backendless is not for the faint-hearted, it's for those who thrive on tech challenges. Compared to other apps on this list, its ease of use ranks pretty low. And, it almost flunked the "is this really no-code?" test. So why is it here, you ask? Its flexibility, documentation, and community got it past the finish line.
Let's add some color to this picture.
Modern apps typically have two major components: a front end (the pretty part with user interface, buttons, and input fields we play with) and the back end (the invisible infrastructure of servers and connected services storing data and doing the behind-the-scenes logic magic). Backendless emerged as a backend-as-a-service platform, lending a helping hand to developers scrambling to piece together databases and services for a website, app, or cloud service.
In a surprising plot twist, Backendless introduced a UI builder, enabling you to craft an interface and then link it to your databases. You can go code or no-code: it has a codeless approach, meaning you don't have to wrestle with code, but the logic and terms bear a striking resemblance to actual coding. This approach makes the logic-building process slightly more digestible while also serving as a launchpad for those looking to dip their toes into coding waters later on.
It’s a fantastic platform for pure backend purposes, which is pretty much their entire value proposition.
Pricing: starts at $0 and goes up to $50 per month +$15 per end user, with custom options available. That’s the catch—it’s load-oriented.
Retool is a no-code app builder that's designed for developers, and yeah, that might seem odd. I mean, can't developers just code their stuff?
Retool's game is to slash the time it takes to construct and launch a working app. Yes, you can bust your chops writing every single line of code. Retool, however, lets you pull and drop pre-constructed, pre-coded components into your app?
They've got a decent range of templates to kickstart your internal project. Admin panels, dashboards, software integrations - the works.
It also assumes that you have some basic grasp of coding. So if you're a complete newbie, it's not your best bet. However, for developers who want to craft apps for internal use and don't want to blow months on building something from the ground up, it's pretty solid.
Pricing: starts at $0 and goes up to $250 a month based on your needs
Adalo is a no-code platform for mobile apps, mostly. It has a simple drag-and-drop interface for designing and user-friendly tools for building. It’s pretty simple like that. Plus, with a single click, your app can be launched on both the iOS and Android app stores.
This makes Adalo a good choice for entrepreneurs wanting to bring their app concepts to life without incurring massive costs.
Pricing: starts at $0 and goes up to $500 for the Teams plan. Custom offers are available, naturally.
Thunkable is a no-code app builder that stands out for its drag-and-drop functionality, focusing explicitly on native mobile apps.
You get complete creative autonomy when it comes to crafting custom native apps for iOS and Android. It doesn't confine you to restrictive templates, and the ways you can customize your app's appearance and behavior are extensive. You can construct your app using blocks, modules, and integrations with other platforms.
Moreover, Thunkable assists you in publishing your app on the iOS App Store and Google Play.
Pricing: available upon request... But, we requested a price offer for us as a potential client. We don't indicate the exact amount, but the number included five zeros. So, Betty Blocks is not a cake for sale at all!
Betty Blocks! A good call if you're looking to hustle an application out the door without writing a single line of code.
Their UI Builder lets you drag and drop your way to whatever front end tickles your fancy. You can combine it with any JS framework for absolute flexibility. They've also self-dubbed as a “Citizens Development” platform… which, let's be honest, is a head-scratcher, although it’s a good term.
The platform has lots of cool awards, though. It’s very cute!
Pricing: starts at a mere $35 per user per month, with some fine print: 20 users minimum. Good for dev teams, but not everyone needs that many seats. Also Quickbase, your pop-ups are soooo annoying.
QuickBase: the no-code platform that's a relationship counselor for business and IT teams. It's a virtual jungle of applications, and even those who get sweaty palms at the sight of a command prompt can manage and scale across this platform.
With QuickBase, businesses can turn their brainwaves into applications at the speed of sound, featuring:
QuickBase is adored by enterprise companies, because they know what they need. Just be aware that this is their target market, and if you’re just starting out, there are better ways to get a powerful database and internal tools set up.
Pricing: starts at $0 and goes up..it’s hard to say, because the no-code platform has three separate products in it, all of which are priced separately…despite being a part of one flow. So…$50 something
Creatio is an esteemed no-code app development platform built for businesses and has been recognized by big-shot analytical firms such as Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave.
With Creatio, you get a whole bunch of in-built frameworks, tools, and templates so you can craft everything from straightforward SaaS apps to major business solutions. Plus, Creatio throws in some neat perks like predictive analysis and sales forecasting through AI and machine learning models for your custom-built applications. So it's a full package, ticking off all the boxes of low-code development.
Pricing: starts at $0, goes up to $799, with custom offers available.
Glide may work well on desktop, but its layout structure and app functionality make it a better choice for those targeting mobile users.
In the world of Glide, every page is a "tab". These tabs can sport one of eight layouts – such as swipe, checklist, or cards. This decides their overall look and feel. The "details" layout is where you can get your hands dirty, fully customizing the tab with components like date pickers, buttons, and other input fields.
If you want to strut your stuff on the App Store or Google Play, they offer a service to get your app prepped and primed for the approval process.
However, Glide's knack for design may feel like a straightjacket, limiting your creative freedom when it comes to the user interface. The same goes for the logic you can incorporate into your app. While it has a decent range of available actions and triggers, setting up advanced functionality might feel like trying to thread a needle in a hurricane.
Let's break down the performance of these no code app builders:
In the context of user-friendly interfaces, Directual and Thunkable stand out for their simplicity and intuitiveness. They allow non-tech users to build functioning applications with little to no stress.
Bubble and Adalo also receive high marks for their user-friendly platforms, providing a drag-and-drop interface that simplifies the app creation process. Quickbase, on the other hand, packs a lot of features and capabilities which might pose quite a learning curve for beginners. Whoops.
Directual and Backendless stand out when it comes to delivering a broad range of features. From AI-based predictive analysis to enterprise-grade backend systems, Directual allows businesses to build intelligent, AI-driven apps. Backendless, too, offers a wide array of functionalities like user management, real-time database, and cloud code.
Thunkable and Adalo are particularly handy when it comes to building native mobile apps, providing comprehensive tools for this specific need. Glide, Betty Blocks, and Bubble bring a high degree of flexibility to the table, allowing you to customize your apps to great levels indeed.
If you're on a tight budget but don't want to compromise on capabilities, Directual, Adalo, and Creatio offer competitive pricing plans. These platforms deliver a rich set of functionalities at a more affordable cost, making them attractive options for startups or smaller businesses.
On the other end of the spectrum, Quickbase and Backendless might require a larger financial investment. However, they justify their cost with their powerful features, making them a worthwhile consideration for complex projects.
What do you need to build? An MVP? Head to Directual, Creatio, or Adalo. Some backend stuff? Backendless, Directual, Quickbase if you can afford it. Need something in between? Glide, Betty Blocks, Thunkable. Need a mobile app? Adalo and Glide. Need something beautiful that won’t grow past the MVP stage? Oh my god, Bubble.
Choose wisely, try it all, and combine! That’s the best bit. Directual works well with all of them, and you can truly unlock the meaning of no code by mixing and matching the strengths of various platforms.
Yes, no-code app builders are absolutely worth it. They allow you to create fully functioning applications without any coding knowledge. This empowers a wide range of people, not just those with technical skills, to turn their ideas into real products. No-code platforms can significantly reduce the time, cost, and complexity involved in developing an app compared to traditional coding methods
First, consider your specific needs. Are you creating a mobile app, a web app, or some internal business tool? Different platforms excel in different areas (unsurprisingly). Secondly, think about your budget. Pricing models vary widely among no-code platforms. Also, consider the platform's scalability, flexibility, community support, and available templates or components.
Absolutely. The no-code movement is gaining significant momentum and is projected to keep growing in the coming years. The shortage of skilled developers and the high cost of traditional software development are major barriers. No-code platforms address these issues, allowing more people to create software and accelerating the development process. AI will only empower no-code platforms to become even more useful to end users.
No, no-code platforms will not replace software developers. While these platforms are powerful and continue to evolve, there are still limitations that require traditional coding skills. Custom-built software, complex integrations, and advanced features sometimes require the expertise of a professional developer. Developers can also leverage no-code tools to speed up their work. Rather than replacing developers, no-code is likely to change their role, making them more of a guide in the software development process.
Join 15,000+ no-coders using Directual and create something you can be proud of—both faster and cheaper than ever before. It’s easy to start thanks to the visual development UI, and just as easy to scale with powerful, enterprise-grade databases and backend.