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Remember when you had to know how to code to build an app? We’ve moved on from that world: no-code tools are here to stay, and they’re powerful enough to let you build almost anything you can think of without ever having to write a function().
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I’ve been working with no-code apps for a while now, and as a die-hard fan, I have a soft spot for them. For this article, I researched and considered about 60 different platforms, exploring each one and conducting extensive tests.
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After spending a lot of time tinkering with settings and building no-code apps, here are my picks for five no-code app builders, whether you’re looking to tackle that personal project or build a new SaaS product.
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The best platforms create a visual programming experience that lets you build apps exactly how you want, without having to code or even really understand how computers think. In addition to making programming more accessible to non-technical audiences, these app builders also help professional developers save time building basic features, freeing up their programs to solve larger coding problems.
After signing up for each platform, I opened the suggested “getting started” article and started building a very simple CRM application. I created functionality to add contacts and offers and a simple dashboard to bring everything together. I tinkered a lot, and whenever I got stuck, I would google the problem and click through to find a solution in forum threads, knowledge bases, or YouTube. Finally, I visited each platform’s showroom and searched online for apps built on it to gauge how flexible they were and the level of user success.
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One last thing before we get into the app: As the founders of Coaching No Code Apps say, “no code doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.” Get ready to develop new skills and get into the developer mindset when you use this no-code app builder.
Just want to create an internal device based on your overlay? A no-code app builder might be too advanced if you’re just looking for a productivity boost. Check out our list of the best database builders where you can connect existing spreadsheets and create the right productivity system for you and your team.
Don’t be fooled by how simple Softr looks. It may lack the complex environments we associate with powerful apps, but the range of things you can create and the customization options you have are amazing.
The user interface makes a lot of sense. You don’t need to consult the documentation to build the first prototype of your application:
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Softr still works on its own data infrastructure. You need to connect your Airtable account (free plan available) or your Google Sheets account (free) to become a database. It’s easy to put one of these together, but for some reason, most of the models I’ve tried force me to use Airtable. However, you can change the data source later in the settings, so it’s not a big deal.
I started from an existing CRM model and was amazed at how complete it was – it didn’t take me long to implement the features I wanted and build an app without code. There are other templates available, from project management apps to job listing websites, and each offers a basic page, design and functionality to get you on the fast track. Even so, I suggest you click on the video tutorial section and upload to one of the recorded workshops to start learning the ropes from a blank slate. An hour or two should be enough to give you a general idea of how everything works from top to bottom.
Softr’s biggest strength is that it has many of the features of an advanced app builder without the hassle. If this is your first app build, Softr will walk you through all the concepts and still get great results at the end.
Bubble has its own visual programming language, making it possible for beginners to create an application without code, while offering the freedom and flexibility of the platform in the low-code spectrum. You will have control over your application’s appearance, data structure and overall performance. Because of this, Bubble is ideal for building prototypes and complete products that are ready to scale. It’s so powerful that some no-code agencies use it exclusively to build apps for their clients.
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A typical day in front of the editor involves building a UI with controls like Canva, working with data on the screen like Excel, and setting up step-by-step logic using workflows. The learning curve is steeper than usual, but in a fun way: it’s easy to understand the basics, giving you enough confidence to start building. A few hours later, you’ll hit a big snag that will send you to a forum or YouTube. After experimenting and researching, you will be able to solve problems and feel the skills, renew your confidence and speed up the construction process.
How do I know this? Full disclosure: I have been using Bubble for the past two years, I have written about it in the past, and they are part of my client list. I have built six apps with Bubbles, and every time I start a new one, I make it a little better. I’ve written a blog article on how to make a simple to-do list app using Bubbles, so you can start there if you want.
One of the biggest advantages of Bubble is that the community is active, there is a lot of help to get started, and there are many content creators who offer detailed step-by-step videos, introductory courses and written guides. And if you want to learn faster, you can also hire a coach or sign up for one of the development bootcamps.
If you want an application builder that is flexible and allows you to configure all the advanced logic you need to bring your digital products to life, Bubbles can help. It won’t be an easy journey if you’re a complete beginner, but you’ll come out the other side with a strong application and skills to keep improving.
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AppSheet is different from the other app builders on this list. Instead of presenting you with an open canvas where you will design your application and spreadsheet to create your data structure, you only need one of the existing spreadsheets to get started. Once you upload your data, AppSheet’s AI engine will automatically create an application based on the columns and rows of the file you uploaded, adding screens to view that data and input forms to add new inputs.
It focuses on the process of building more on the functionality of the application, not on the user interface: AppSheet applies the user experience that Google has for all its applications. Still, the basic display is great and fully responsive, meaning it works great on all devices and screen sizes.
There are more AI features here than just translating your spreadsheet into an app. You can set up a way to train a machine learning model using your own data to make predictions based on past events. For example, if you have a lot of data about project costs, you can feed that data into a model and it will start predicting future project prices. You can then use that data in the app to calculate, display on the dashboard,