Tech

Building Apps With No Code

by Kevin MerisanuAug 19 2019

Learning to program and develop applications from scratch is no easy task. It takes time, commitment and dedication most people - don't have.

Debugging and working with GitHub can be scary if you have no idea where to start or look.

Deploying a server, working with front and back-end code, and designing every feature + function from scratch.

If those things don't sound like anything you want apart of, but want to still build an app - we'll be showing you the resources and tools out there for creators to launch apps, with no coding required.

Helping you build and ship faster than ever before.

A small preface before the jump - this is an article written by Product Hunt's founder Ryan Hoover

He goes into tools and resources, which we will dive into + he has a great quote:

As creating things on the internet becomes more accessible, more people will become makers. It’s no longer limited to the <1% of engineers that can code resulting in an explosion of ideas from all kinds of people.

Our personal opinion on this matter varies, as we still believe for the most value and best digital products - those are built from scratch, with code and dynamic development.

Rather than dumping a random collection of 'no-code' tools and resources, lets first try to organize them in terms of:

  • Usability
  • Cost

Bubble

To quote Bubble;

Bubble lets you build and host web applications without having to write code or hire a team of engineers

Usability

The learning curve is pretty easy, especially if you have any type of background in drag and drop builders. You're able to determine workflow, such as statements like setting 'When - Page is loaded, and current user isn't logged in' which allows you to load various options. You can send them emails, process transactions and make these rules simple or complicated.

They offer a ton of plugins and resources, so you're able to get your project out quickly. Bubble offers complete scaling of you app, with no DevOps needed.

Bubble provides secure, production-ready, scalable infrastructure out of the box so you can focus on your users.

Every app is mobile ready, allowing you to create dynamic content and fetch data from APIs.

Customizable logic: communicate rules such as “if a user is logged in

Out-of-the-box user management makes it easy to let users create accounts with passwords or social logins. Scheduled actions allow for recurring automated back-end workflows.

No-code API connector: visual tool for connecting to any third party service that exposes a JSON or XML-based API... Connect to your own SQL database (PostgreSQL, MySQL, MSSQL)

Pre-built admin dashboards make managing users accounts and data a breeze.

Bubble apps are fully hosted on our platform: you don't need to worry about server maintenance, infrastructure, or operations... Allocate more server resources with one click as your user base grows: scale up from a demo app to a web-scale enterprise without technical changes

Bubble offers a pretty complete package for building progressive web apps that require little engineering or up-keep.

You can even Edit their pageto get a free test run before diving in.

Cost

You can start with a 'Hobby' account, which is completely free and gives you what you need to create a dynamic web app, back-end, payment processing and plugins.

If you're building an MVP, Bubble is as good as it gets when it comes to value for price.

References | Lessons |Plugins | Community

Webflow + Webflow eCommerce

To quote Webflow;

The power to design, build, and launch responsive websites visually, while writing clean, semantic code for you.

Usability

Webflow gives you incredible control and what they call 'visual coding'

Build custom blogs, portfolios, ecommerce stores, and more with a flexible CMS.

Design. Build. Launch. That's the Webflow mantra, with everything you'd need to get a great web app online.

Prototyping in Webflow brings your design team’s thinking in line with the natural constraints — and benefits — of HTML and CSS, but without requiring your team to learn code. With design and engineering on the same page, your whole process is streamlined.

You're able to build fully functioning prototypes, with code that can be exported and reviewed.  All in one hosting gives you piece of mind when launching, plus collaboration with clients or other team members is taken care of.

Update copy, swap images, change links, and more — all right on your live website. No messy back-ends or complicated dashboards. Just your site and the changes you want to make.

Webflow also introduced an eCommerce solution, which makes it a major player in the web app game.

Overall the learning curve is basically a couple hours watching Webflow videos and playing with the platform. They offer a Webflow University and courses that can make you almost an expert.

Cost

Webflow offers two types of planes - Site and Account.

Site plans allow you to connect your domain, have collaborators and use Webflow eCommerce. They're  a little more expensive and are offered in Website & Ecommerce plans.

Account plans allow you to add more projects, have a client-facing Editor, and much more. It's offered in Individual and Team plans, with the Free option available. Giving you 2 projects and free staging.

101 Crash Course| University | eBooks | Templates | Workshops | Community

Thunkable

To quote Thunkable;

Build your own apps - Thunkable enables anyone to create beautiful and powerful mobile apps.

Usability

Thunkable offers cross-platform and classic Android app options. You can build and publish Android and iOS app, as well save and share source code.

Build your own apps by dragging and dropping your favorite components and connecting them together with blocks.

You're  able to choose from a variety of features and integrations for their apps, including Google Maps, Microsoft Image Recognition, payments through Stripe, and other APIs.

Clicking a Test link and selecting Thunkable Live, you’re provided a QR code to scan or a code for you to enter by using the Thunkable App. From there, you can test functionality and make changes on the website as needed.

Public projects are included in the Thunkable Public Gallery for anyone to preview and remix. Private projects are just that, private. They are not included in the Thunkable Gallery and are for your eyes only... Private projects can only be shared with other PRO users. Please note: If you share your project with another PRO user, they have the ability to make the project public.

Here you can see how easy it is make Blocks

Cost

They keep it pretty simple in terms of pricing, with a Free 'Public' option and 200 per year private option. The Education plan seems to be their version of an Enterprise plan.

Docs | Community

Retool

To quote Retool;

Custom internal tools have the same building blocks. Retool gives you those building blocks, so you can build tools much faster

Usability

Retool gives you components (Tables,TextBoxes,Dropdowns, etc.) to build web and mobile apps, as well connect easily to APIs, SQL databases, GraphQL, Firebase, etc.

Read data from Postgres, write back via an API. Read some more data from Google Sheets, query it via SQL, then join it to data from Stripe. We support many databases, and any HTTP API... Because we manage the data fetching and UI, you just have to do is write the stuff that's actually custom to your internal tool. Like the SQL queries, or the POST requests. Don't worry about storing isFetching in Redux, debouncing duplicate button clicks, etc.

It makes building internal software faster by pre-building common components, and managing the data-flow for you. According to Retool, their basic building blocks are 'Components' and 'Queries'.

All UI and data fetching are being handled, so your time is spent building specific parts to your app.

Retool offers a massive integration list, that ranges from Database to API.

Cost

The free option gives you unlimited apps, the ability to connect to any database and a few other features that are great to you going. After that it goes to $10 and jumps to $50. Overall you're getting some good value here and is worth learning if you have the time.

Docs | Templates

Zeroqode

To quote Zeroqode;

Everything You Need to Build Apps Without Code. 10x Faster and Just as Powerful as Coding.

Usability

Zerqode is a little different as it works on top of templates, such as Bubble and allows you to bring over web app code to convert to iOS or Android.

You can purchase out-of-the-box templates, that can give you an app to customize quickly. A chrome extension allows you to configure shortcuts for various actions of the Bubble editor, like switching between tabs, or calling different alignment actions and more.

Zeroqode Plugins for Bubble... Bubble is the most advanced no-code web development platform, which you can use to quickly create products with complex functionality and beautiful design. Without any code!

This would be your first option per say, but a good one to have if you're a user of Bubble or want to pay for out-of-the-box templates.

An extensive course resource center will get you off and running in a few days.

Cost

You can either purchase pre-built templates or mobile. Templates range from $99 to $299 and the mobile pricing is $170 for iOs or Android, or $299 for both.

Courses | Templates | Community | Plugins

NoCode

To quote NoCode;

We'll show you how to build your business without code - just tell us what you want to create – Or check out our free resources below!

Usability

NoCode is a visual database of great resources and tools to build sites and apps without any code. They have it broken down into sections;

Website Builders like Shopify, Carrrd, Webflow, Sheet2Site and SquareSpace are a few with Name Generators. Super cool design tools like Snappa, Pixlr, Pablo and DesignBold.

Tools like FullStory, HotJar and GTMetrix are great for usability testing and often overlooked. The App Builders, are a lot of what we listed here, and with options Magic Mockups, ShotBot, Dimmy.Club and Screely you'll get mockups out in hours.

Beta Testers, BetaPage, Beta List are also linked, and great places for your first user feedback loops. A ton of social media and SEO tools as well you can integrate into your apps.

Landing pages are important so you'll see an extensive list, as well Forms & Surveys which are key to collecting data, if possible.

What may be off most interest after the App Builders - Website Generators. Get out your idea in a day or two, with some good options to get in-depth with the UI/UX.

Cost

Varies depending on the tool. The site itself is of course, free to use.

Articles & How-To

BuildFire

To quote BuildFire;

Build mobile apps in a fraction of the time and cost using BuildFire’s powerful and easy to use app builder.

Usability

I went through the process of building a BuildFire app, as they let you develop the entire app for free, even allowing you to publish it with a code that gets texted to your device.

The initial list of templates given is quite extensive, and will give you a great foundation to get going. Sports, eComm, Healthcare, Education, Music and more.

You can see it's the previews live and even test them out

That's the main dashboard, with the user options on the side. It's very straight forward and you can dive right in to editing a chosen template.

Here is the 'Home Screen', which covers what you'd look for in a pretty basic MVP. The customization is minimal, but has the basic fundamentals you'd want if you have little time or experience, or even just to quickly test ideas.

Above I changed around the Shoe selling template with an app I called CND Alter Mata, with a comic print and figure for sale

They made a WYSIWYG style editor which is user friendly, in a sense, but doesn't go as in-depth as you may like. It is quick in responsiveness and changes are immediate.

They made it simple to set up user login, you just worry about the UI and UX.

When you get the preview texted over, you can save the site to the home screen it'll look something like that depending on the logo and colour scheme.

Overall, very easy to use and get an MVP going. You can see the preview on your phone within minutes of starting, and can build it out fully before deciding if it's worth paying for.

Cost

Basic starts at $53 per month giving you push notifications, user management, user tagging and analytics. The professional option is $134 per month, with the added options of an iPad App, GEO fence push notifications and more. Enterprise jumps to $474 per month with a ton more features.

eBooks | Videos | Mobile App Calculator

Landen

To quote Landen;

We design beautiful landing pages for you, so you can focus on your product.

Usability

Landen looks to make landing pages as simple as possible. Asking a series of questions and launching a landing page pre-filled based on specifications of your choice.

If you're creating a landing page that will include a mobile app, they'll launch the site with built in iPhone wireframes that you can fill with your content

Selecting a goal is a cool feature, and sways the structure itself of the page and CTAs (call to actions)

You'll get something like this at the end, that you can customize pretty quickly. I did the below in about 5 minutes

Super easy to use and really one of the fastest ways possible. to get a landing page going. You even get a snazzy link with the free version you can send out, like this one - https://n2cuvn5djmcu.landen.co/ similar to what Netlify does.

Cost

Standard 3 price plan system that we all know and love. Lite will give you 3 published sites, no branding, custom domains, custom code, and email lists for $15 a month. Next up is the Pro plan with the upgraded feature of 20 sites and for $99 with the only added plus of 75 published sites and exporting of source code.

Live Editor

Makerpad

To quote Makerpad;

Learn to build powerful applications without code

Usability

Makpad was created by indie creator Ben Tossell, and is pretty dope. He basically created a system using pre-exisitng tools like Zapier, Airtable& Stripe.  Create AirBnB clones, meditation apps and marketplaces without having to code.

No-code tools are simplifying software. Anyone can make fully functional applications and complex workflows by linking apps together like LEGO® blocks.

He also offers a Pro Version, premium tutorials, progress tracking and 1 on 1 sessions.

You can get a bunch of tutorials for free and demos to get you going. It takes a little more learning but it not a bad spend of time for the long run. Knowing these tools is a major advantage no matter what the end goal.

Cost

I've always kind of been a fan of the lifetime payment, for both the creator and user. As listed below, there are a ton of great add-ons. Either way, if the value for what you're looking to get is worth the $169, than take the leap.

There are various ways to get apps going, be it web or mobile - and they don't have to cost you a lot. It's a way to get an idea to MVP, and ship sooner then later.

Recommended Posts

signature

© 2019 Creators Never Die. All Right Reserved. Made with Magic World Wide

About Creators Never Die

Creators Never Die. Is a publication that focuses on content for creators.