You want to create your own app, but you don’t have any programming skills? With an app maker, you can do it anyway. Using these tools, you can easily put together predefined elements to create your app via drag-and-drop. We have found you the best app builders.
What is an app maker?
Programming an app is complicated because you need to know a separate programming language for each operating system. Basically, apps need to be coded for Apple and Android operating systems – thus iOS and Google Android – as they dominate the smartphone market.
But even if you don’t have programming language skills, you can create your own app. The simplist solution is an app maker. These are tools that make certain instructions of a programming language accessible via a graphical user interface. An app builder provides ready-made actions that users can easily select and combine through drag-and-drop. Usually, there is also a color palette to choose from to customize your app in line with your branding.
Most app makers offer two types of apps for a monthly fee: Native Apps and Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Native Apps are more or less the ur-form of apps. They can access specific device functions of smartphones and are the first choice for complex apps and when performance requirements are high. They can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Progressive Web Apps are websites with features of Native Apps. They are fully browser-based and are independent of operating systems, but they do not have all the features that Native Apps provide. Therefore, app builders for Progressive Web Apps are usually cheaper than Native Apps.
What elements does an app maker build from?
App makers offer elements for a wide variety of needs. With a few simple clicks, you can create a Native App that is specifically designed to your needs. Which elements are available depends, of course, on the app making platform and the package you choose. Nevertheless, we would like to give you an overview of possible elements:
- Text field: you can create a text that can’t be changed by app users
- Image: with this module, you can include an image or graphic, such as the company logo
- Sketch: This can be used to create your own drawings
- Code scanner: With the code scanner, app users can scan barcodes or QR codes via camera
- Positioning: This allows users to record their current location
- Rating scale: Via the rating scale, app users can make a rating on a given scale
- Date and time selection: This allows users to select a date or time
- Take photo: Users can take a picture with the camera or select an existing photo from the media library
- Check box: The checkbox allows users to express their consent
- Hyperlink: This module can be used to link websites or documents
- Number entry field: Users can enter numbers using a specific keyboard
- Number result: numerical values calculated by a formula can be shown
- Data record selection: Data sets can be added
- Attached document: Users can attach a document saved on their device
- Push notification: Users are sent information via a push notification
Many app builders now also enable the creation of an online store. Especially for small to medium-sized companies, app makers are a great way to provide information about products, services or specific topics.
What app makers exist?
There is a wide range of app makers on the market. We introduce you to the best app builders.
Open as App
Open as App is a German company based in Munich. It is a flexible no-code platform that turns spreadsheets into powerful apps. Data from spreadsheets and databases are identified and easily converted. Calculations are transferred directly and do not need to be rebuilt. Dashboards, tables and surveys can also be imported automatically without any additional coding. You can see the first prototype of your own app within minutes. The software recognizes the logic and formulas of existing spreadsheets and transfers them. Apps created with Open as App work both online and offline.
Good Barber can be used to create Native Apps for iOS and Android, as well as Progressive Web Apps. Multiple developers can work on the app in different functions – for example, as administrator or user. Good Barber offers the possibility of a shopping app, supports marketing and provides a content management system (CMS). However, some of the functions cost extra. For example, iPhone apps for iOS are only included in the premium offer.
AppYourself is a German company. The app maker is characterized by the fact that when you create a Native App, you get a Web App and a website to go with it. The content is edited according to the format and changes are automatically synchronized. Therefore, AppYourself is particularly suitable for companies that do not yet have their own website. The disadvantages are the small selection of templates and high costs.
Appy Pie sets itself apart from the competitors with options for in-app purchases, for using databases and for uploading e-books. There is also a free pricing level. However, only Web Apps and no Native Apps can be created with this one. Appy Pie also only includes an iOS version in its premium package. In addition, there are only a few design options.
Swiftic scores with extensive features and attractive designs. There is only one price level, and a ” 6-month success guarantee” is also offered. If no significant successes have been achieved after this time, you get 6 months for free. However, no advertising can be placed, which is a clear disadvantage for companies that want to use it to finance their app. Swiftic is particularly suitable if your app is intended to build customer relationships, as discount campaigns, scratch cards, bonus cards or vouchers can be easily integrated.
With 40 different elements, Shoutem’s app maker offers a wide range of features that can also be extended with additional codes. The integration of social media channels also characterizes this app builder. In addition, in-app advertising and shopping systems can be easily implemented. However, if you want to use all of Shoutem’s features, you will have to pay heavily for it. Moreover, there is no option to create a Progressive Web App and the editor only has English labels.
This app maker is perfect for you if you want to create a mobile app based on an existing website. AppMachine can identify website content and convert it into an app. There are also numerous design and feature options. However, the user interface is not really intuitive to use and the German translation is incomplete.
App Inventor is a former Google project for the free development of Android apps. The goal was to motivate more people to create their own apps. App Inventor runs on all common operating systems such as Windows, Linux and Mac and is free of charge.
Advantages and disadvantages of app makers
There are a few advantages of using app makers. No programming skills are required and the costs are low compared to the fee of a professional developer. Moreover, results can be seen immediately. So, if you have a limited budget and the functions you have in mind do not overwhelm the possibilities of the building kit, it makes sense to create a mobile app yourself.
Even though you don’t need to know any programming languages with app makers, basic image editing skills are definitely an advantage. After all, a high-quality look is the key to a good app. So, according to this, you should know how to structure a mobile app so that you can offer added value to the customer.
The disadvantages include reduced functionality, paid extras and limited access to the generated code compared to traditional app development. Also, full personalization of the app design is not possible and you rarely have one-on-one support.
In any case, it makes sense to design your app first and then find the right app maker. This way you avoid that the app builder ends up being inappropriate or the cost is way too high for your project.
If you want to create your first app yourself, just go to Open as App wizard and experience an app maker in action.