In his famous essay Why Software is Eating the World, Marc Andreesen paints the picture of today’s digital world clearly – already in 2011. He describes the powerful wave of software development which is changing the landscape. Nearly a decade later, his words are still valid: digitalization through software is pervasive in today’s business ecosystems, and automatic app creation is turning into one of the major forces that are shaping the field.
Companies from all sizes and specialties are embracing the capabilities that apps provide to them and their customers. As a natural answer to the growing demand for applications, no-code platforms offer an easy and cost-effective way to create functional apps.
Automatic app creation is one of the popular options for their development. It entails the automatized input of business data into an application with interactive features. Users can build apps within seconds and then customize their functionalities and appearance. The applications can then be published on the different app stores and embedded in websites, as well as shared with team members and on social media. The benefits for companies in a wide variety of industries are countless, as everyone can become a ‘citizen developer’, building targeted and useful apps.
In the sections below, you can learn more about the basics of automatic app creation, the benefits for different types of businesses, the costs, and a few top options for free app building.
What is automatic app creation?
As automatic app creation is steadily turning into a software development option preferred by many, it’s worth exploring the exact way in which it works. The app creation platform takes the existing data that you provide (usually in the form of a spreadsheet), together with its already defined logic, and converts them into an app. The process is automatic and does not require additional effort on your side. The only input that is necessary is to choose the design and to add extra features from a list of ready-made options.
There are different approaches to no-code app creation. It can be done by entering your business information into predefined modules or through the automated transfer of your data into an app. Companies often find that predefined modules cannot meet their exact needs, and costly and time-consuming coding is then necessary.
Open as App employs the second, automatic option, which has proven to offer more flexibility and value. It transfers the data on the basis of intelligent analysis, which means that the platform offers additional insights into the original information. Open as App also keeps the connection to the source live, so that the newly created app is always up-to-date with the original file where it’s drawing the data from. As this illustrates, the information is transformed into an app easily, without the need for additional coding.
Once the data is in, you have the power to shape it in a variety of ways via a customization dashboard. When inputting a spreadsheet with calculations, you can either get a visualization of all the information as charts, or you can choose individual input and output fields and get diagrams based on them only. Then you can select which charts you want to be imported as well. In the case of importing a list-type file, you can choose between different variants of how the data will be presented, and you also get automatically generated charts.
Afterward, you receive various options for the visual appearance of your app. You can choose an overall theme, as well as top area and background images, style, and advanced functionalities. In the following steps of the creation process, you can adjust the app’s settings, as well as add or remove elements such as cells, charts, and lists. Once you’re done tweaking all the options, you click ‘create my app’, and you’re ready to go.
What are the benefits of automatic app creation?
Automatic app creation via no-code platforms allows the easy transformation of data from spreadsheets and databases into functional apps. Calculations, dashboards, lists, and surveys can be automatically transferred with no additional coding needed.
This is the fastest way to build an application, as you can get the first version within a couple of seconds. The process saves you a ton of time and resources that you would otherwise need to invest in reaching the prototype stage. Automatic app-building thus offers a streamlined and integrated process of employing your business data.
In addition to being quick, automatic app creation is also highly cost-efficient. If you have a data-rich Excel spreadsheet, you may want to make better use of it by turning it into an app, as many businesses do. However, the process of finding a software developer, coordinating the work with them, and launching the app can easily take months. The costs can soar as high as $50,000, depending on the functionalities and complexity of the data logic. With a no-code platform like Open as App, you can set up your first prototype in a matter of 15 minutes and for a reasonable cost.
It’s important to keep in mind that creating apps from your existing business data is a great way to make more of what you already have in your hands. It allows you to keep an existing solution – its data and its internal logic – and share it with your team or clients via an app. By doing this, you can achieve a higher level of productivity, as well as protect your knowhow and intellectual property.
At the same time, the automatic app creation process does not require coding skills or the involvement of professional developers. This counts for all stages in the life of an app: the building, deployment, publication, and maintenance. You can fully transfer the settings of your files, including the logic, the charts you get on the basis of your data, the formulas, as well as the data formats. You only have to adjust your app to the design that you prefer. This means that truly everyone can create an app via a no-code platform, which revolutionizes the app-building process.
Which type of businesses can use it?
The automatic creation of apps from existing business data is not limited to one type of company. It is applicable across industries and company sizes.
In enterprises, automatic app creation can save a ton of time plus expenses. Teams without IT knowledge can easily transform data they have readily available and open its use for more employees. This can happen without going through a lengthy and complicated app development process, involving numerous departments and the dedicated services of a developer.
As for small businesses, automatic app creation can be a real lifesaver. They may otherwise not be able to afford an app at all. However, no-code platforms allow even budding companies to benefit from the power of applications – both for internal processes and for customer service. For example, if you have calculated the ROI of your product or service in a spreadsheet, you can easily provide it to your customer as an app.
There is no limit as to the industries that can make use of automatic app creation for their digitalization needs. Naturally, digital businesses are some of the first ones that benefit from the ease of use and cost-efficiency of no-code apps. Within them, non-technical teams employ this option in order to answer the need for apps without having to build them from scratch.
There are a number of other industries, though, which are also successfully embedding no-code apps in their processes. Manufacturing, logistics, retail, insurance, and finance are just a few of them. With the help of automatic app creation, many companies in these fields improve their daily operations and optimize their processes.
What are the costs of automatic app creation?
The traditional way of app creation is cost- and resource-heavy. It requires hiring or working with a professional app developer. Calculations and dashboards are particularly expensive. The reason is that to turn data into an app, the logic of a spreadsheet has to be re-created in the shape of an application. Besides the IT services, you also need the time and know-how to manage the development process from the business side. You can consult an app cost calculator to get a rough idea about the expenses, which are considerable.
In addition to the actual building, there are extra costs related to the publication of the completed app. You need both time and particular knowledge on how to get your app published in the app stores. Whenever you want to update it, you have to undergo a review process by the respective store, which takes time. While all these activities are manageable and can be learned, they require a dedicated employee.
In comparison with the typical development process, the use of no-code platforms is much cheaper. Typically, you have to cover a flat fee. The overall costs are incomparably lower to the services of a developer who has to build the app from scratch. There are also several no-code platforms that offer a free version or a free trial that you can benefit from. In addition to being less expensive, no-code apps are also much easier to build, deploy and maintain.
What are the best free app builders?
Open as App
Many no-code platforms create web apps or apps that only work online. Open as App, however, goes a step further. It automatically creates native apps as well as web apps, and it works with data on all platforms. Open as App’s unique power is that it transfers the logic from the input file – whether calculations, charts or formulas – straight into the newly created app.
You can input your files directly in Excel format or paste a URL link. Alternatively, you can connect files from Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Sheets, Box, as well as from Facebook, HubSpot CRM, Jira, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Exchange, MySQL, Salesforce, and SAP, among others. Once the data is inside Open as App, you can control what part of it you want to use by selecting segments of your spreadsheets or database.
The platform also allows you to shape the visual presentation of the app via an intuitive dashboard. You can select the visible elements and rearrange them, as well as style them according to your preferences. When you’re ready, you can share the app via a QR code or link, or on social media.
Keen on giving it a go? Start building your first app for free today.
Glide is one of the options for automatic app building on the market that has a free version. You can upload a Google Sheet directly in the platform, and get an automatically generated app in seconds. Then you can customize its elements and looks via Glide’s dashboard. You can connect components to sections in the Google Sheet, as well as switch the layout between tiles, lists, calendars, and more. The app also can support chat and comments. Once you’re done with tweaking it, you can share the link instantly with your coworkers.
Bubble.io is a code-free programming platform that has a free version you can try out. It allows you to build both web and responsive mobile apps. Bubble.io supports dynamic content, so it can be user-generated content or data from APIs. It also offers customizable logic, user management, recurring actions, and custom queries, among other features. In addition, the platform provides solid connectivity, data export, and security capabilities.
Airtable is a platform that helps businesses organize any type of process. It is highly customizable and can handle your data in a variety of ways. You can create both native mobile, as well as, desktop apps. The data can come from many sources – it can be in the form of text, attachments, links, barcodes, lists, and checkboxes. You can interlink it to denote the internal connections. Then you can review and organize your data in different views – grid, calendar, gallery, and Kanban. You can also integrate Airtable with many other work tools and services.
With the help of AppsGeyser, you can create an app for free and without the need for any coding. Its focus is on Android app creation. AppsGeyser has more than 70 templates that you case use or you can quickly build yours from existing data or through the app-building functionalities. The platform monetizes through a 50/50 split of the advertisement revenue that app owners get.
Apps Bar is another free option for building an app that can run on Android, Apple, BlackBerry, and Windows. The tool supports different types of apps, such as business, music, events, and others. You can input your data and choose among the different layouts available. When done, you can publish the app in the Apple or Google stores, and it will operate on all kinds of devices.
Test the powers of automatic app creation
Even if you don’t have coding skills or the internal resources to commission an app for your business, you can still make the best of the software boom for your company’s development. Automatic app creation is an easy and cost-efficient solution to your digitalization needs.
What is the best example of how you’ve used automatic app building for your business? If you’re keen on getting started with your first no-code application, you can also check out our app creation wizard and make Open as App work for you.