Wed, May 25, 2022
How to Create an Application Without Coding?
Do you have an app idea but no technical skills? You may have heard about no code tools and app builders but you're not sure if it suits your project? You need help to understand which app builder to choose? Discover what is an app maker, the pros and cons, and a presentation of the main tools.
In 2021, we spent an average of 4.8 hours a day on our smartphones* and 87% of this time was spent in applications, compared to only 13% on the Web**.
That’s why more and more people are wondering whether or not they should build an app. The use of mobile devices is also growing in the corporate world, where a growing number of business apps are being created to share information differently and support employee mobility.
How to make an app?
To create an application, you used to work with a developer or a digital agency. A mobile app developer is hired to build the application that meets your needs in terms of functionality. Beautiful mock-ups are produced by a graphic designer and you receive a proposition in terms of navigation and design before integration. After several discussions and functional tests, the application is built and deployed to your audience.
Congratulations! Users are happy and they share with you qualitative feedback. To update your app, you get in touch with the agency again and they schedule this extra work into their schedule (because you're not the only client either). You receive a new quote for these updates (unless it was included in the initial quote?).
Oops, Apple releases a new OS version and your app is no longer compatible? You have to start the process again and again.
Today's world is moving faster than ever and the number of app projects are increasing fast. Between the emergence of an idea and its deployment, you cannot no longer spend months producing an application: you are now looking for new agile methods. You want to have better control over your strategic projects and manage how they will evolve.
Many tools and services have emerged to create an application without coding.
What is an app maker and no code?
The term "no code" covers all the tools that allow you to develop programs without a line of code. No code has become one of the major trends in IT development: according to Gartner, "70% of new applications developed by companies will use low-code or no-code technologies by 2025, compared to less than 25% in 2020"! The Covid-19 crisis and the urgent need to develop digital projects have amplified this trend.
But no code is not new. Look at Excel, which is one of the first no code tools! These spreadsheets and VBAs are simply a visual way to process a database.
In terms of app development platforms, there are a lot of players in the market.
An app maker (app builder or app creator) is a no code tool to develop an application without technical knowledge. It is composed of a visual editor in drag and drop (WYSIWYG), many ready-to-use features (widgets) and various export possibilities.
This offer has been strengthened in the last few years thanks to dynamic features (connection to an API, database...). Previously, app makers were only used to create static apps, but today complex and business applications are possible.
These tools are aimed at project managers, students, graphic designers and entrepreneurs who want to develop their application project without any technical knowledge.
The advantages of an app maker
The app builder makes it easier for anyone to build this kind of project, it reduces technical complexity and the production time.
Keep the control
Creating your own application allows you to keep control of it. In concrete terms, you are the one who came up with the idea for the application, so it is not possible for the objective to be lost sight of ;)
You have full control over the planning, the comings and goings, the new features….
Gain in agility
A first version of the app will be created in a few days. Even if it's not perfect, it will be the perfect tool to gain trust and onboard new stakeholders in your app project.
If you need to update the app, just open the editor, edit and publish: the new app version is instantly available!
Working with a developer or a digital agency is quite costly. According to different sources, a simple mobile application costs between €10 000€ and €15 000. Even if it is difficult to compare what it includes, an app maker usually offers a monthly subscription starting at 20€ per month. At PandaSuite, a native iOS & Android application costs 990€ (including 1 year of updates), that is to say 10X cheaper.
Benefit from the latest features
To meet the different uses, app makers regularly upgrade their features according to market needs and operating system developments. As a user, you automatically benefit from this!
To do this, check that your app maker is responsive and offers regular updates to its platform!
Create a cross-platform app
Native app, web app/PWA, hydrid app... Before launching your app project, identify the best format(s) in terms of devices, the features and how you want users to access your app.
Do you want users to install the application or simply access it from a URL? Are they equipped with Android devices or iPhones? Do you need to use the native features of the devices (camera, Bluetooth, gyroscope..)?
To build a cross-platform app, your app must be created in each programming language (iOS, Android, web) or it must be based on a cross-platform framework such as Ionic, React..
With an app maker, you don’t have to worry! Create your application once and deploy it on all platforms: iOS, Android, web…. Choose carefully your app maker depending on its exporting formats.
Access to innovative features
Some app makers such as PandaSuite offer more advanced features that respond to new trends in mobile app development: augmented reality, image recognition....
These features are not part of your initial specifications but you have the perfect opportunity to test them. In the end, you will experiment with new uses and create an even more modern and innovative application!
Take advantage of lots of free resources
In order to increase your skills independently, each tool offers a set of online resources and different formats: videos, articles, use cases, guides, etc. Some also offer training modules.
Templates allow you to start from an existing model.
A support team is usually here to answer your questions.
The obstacles of an app maker
Structure your app project
The lack of code does not mean the lack of preparation. Building an application is a project that includes steps to respect: specifications / tree structure / design / integration / testing / deployment...
Before launching, think about the objectives of this application, analyze the target audience and the way it will use it and establish an audit of the required functionalities.
Have technical requirements
An app maker does not require you to know how to code. Nevertheless, if you want to have a successful project, we recommend that you have a minimum of technical knowledge about mobile app development.
You must know that it is important to test your app on different devices, that there are different operating systems, and understand the submission procedure on the App Store... This is often documented by app makers but we advise you to do some research on your own!
After a few readings, you will be ready to manage the app project and avoid unnecessary mistakes!
A great user experience is composed of both an intuitive user interface and good features. For the interface design, some app makers make you start from an existing template. It might be sometimes difficult to get out of this framework.
If you want a custom interface, we advise you to choose a flexible app maker and create the app from scratch. If you are a graphic designer or if you have a graphic designer in the team, don't hesitate to prepare your mock-ups before the integration phase.
Add custom features
Even if they offer a lot of features, there might be a feature missing! Is it possible to add a custom feature by adding a little code? Some tools have this low code aspect that allows you to develop (or have developed) the component that will fit perfectly with the rest of the application! But this is not the case for all of them!
This is a question we are often asked at PandaSuite: "So what if PandaSuite disappears, what will happen to my application?" It's a perfectly legitimate and healthy question to ask yourself when launching your project. Take a look at how to get your app's code back and the possibilities that are available to you!
New mixed approaches between app maker and app development
App makers are a great solution for many app projects! However, they will never replace traditional development or the developer's job.
On the contrary, it is complementary: traditional development remains indispensable for very complex application projects or those that are the core of a company's digital strategy. . More and more developers are also getting trained in these tools to gain speed on front-end issues, while developing with code custom features.
Recently we have seen an alternative emerge between app makers and traditional development.
Today, more and more freelancers and no-code agencies are emerging (Virtuoz, Alegria...): they offer to build applications with app makers! It is transparent for everyone and it allows customers to save time on the appropriation of the tool, have the best user interface created by professional designers etc...
They have the best of both worlds: a custom application developed by an expert and the possibility to be autonomous for future updates.
The best app builders
Here is a selection of the best app builders to answer your different application projects.
PandaSuite is the most flexible no code app builder. You can build custom applications and digital publications without a line of code.
Infinite possibilities: build mobile apps, audio tours, digital catalogue, digital learning, listings, church apps, interactive displays, digital magazines, interactive presentation...
The greatest freedom of creation: full customization, +50 components, animations, gamification (puzzle, drag & drop...), connect to database (local or external), native sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, image recognition, Bluetooth BLE), logic & variables and much more...
Cross-platform & Offline: export as a native app for mobile/tablet (iOS, Android), for Windows. Publish to the app stores or not. Available offline for every device.
Free: Start building your app for free. Lots of resources are available for free.
Bubble is a reference in the world of no code. It allows you to visually create web apps, with more or less complex scenarios (SaaS platforms, Market place, CRM) thanks to visual scraping.
The tool offers many online resources and many communities exist around this tool. Ideal for entrepreneurs, you can easily produce MVPs
On the other hand, Bubble does not allow the creation of native applications.
More than a million apps have already been produced with Appy Pie in over 126 countries! This app maker offers a wide range of features to create apps for all needs: restaurant, museum,
Many templates are available.
In terms of exports, you can create an iOS and Android app, as well as a PWA
Adalo is an app builder that allows you to create powerful and complete applications. You can submit your app on the App Store and Google Play, or publish a web app. Visual and intuitive interface, design apps and many connections with other tools
Our neighbors from Corsica have developed a powerful app maker to create iOS & Android apps, and also a PWA. One of the strengths of the tool is its aestheticism, the design of the created applications. Easy to use, it offers advanced features such as social networks, push notifications, chat, geolocation or connection to iBeacons,
*App Annie, State of Mobile 2022
** Comscore, US Mobile App Report 2017