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These Are the Best in Class App Builders for Developers

5 minute read

By Lesley Harrison

Building a mobile app requires a lot of work, mainly because there are so many different operating systems and form factors to target. Offering a polished and consistent user experience for someone on a large-screened iPhone and a low-end Android is a challenge. App builders help developers bring their ideas to life without having to worry about the complexities of building for those different devices.

Why Use App Builders?

Many people think of app builders as being simple drag-and-drop tools for non-coders. While it’s true many app builders offer low- or no-code options, some are more powerful and let those with programming skills get under the hood. Even some low-code platforms are quite flexible. As a developer, it makes sense to work smart. Rather than reinventing the wheel, use the tools available to you to get your app to market as quickly as possible.

What to Look for In App Builders

There are dozens of mobile app builders on the market. If you’re trying to decide which one to use, consider the following:

Jasmin Merdan/Getty

Today’s app builders range from simple browser wrappers to more sophisticated tools which can be used to create apps that connect with third-party services. Consider the level of control and flexibility you need for your mobile applications.

The Best App Builders for Developers

Mobile app developers can choose from a range of platforms today, including the free and open-source Siberian CMS, and premium drag and drop builders such as Appy Pie. Some platforms, such as BiznessApps provide near-turnkey applications for specific industries such as restaurants or estate agents, although there’s a monthly fee for the platform. Depending on the timeline for your app development, and how much control you want over it, using one of these template-based app development services could make sense.

1. AppyPie

AppyPie1 is one of the most well-known no-code mobile app development platforms. Users benefit from a fast, smooth app experience, including offline features. The platform offers an easy-to-use interface and an extensive library of templates for rapid app development, along with an app builder for those who want to design a unique app from scratch.  Template options include shopping, restaurant, social and web3 apps. The platform allows users to launch one app for free, but additional apps will require a fee.

2. Siberian CMS

Developers who are willing to spend more time setting up their own infrastructure may appreciate the level of control and flexibility offered by Siberian CMS. Siberian CMS2 is free and open source, so if you’re comfortable using the self-hosted version there’s no fee to pay. The platform supports payment gateways and analytics, so it can be used for a wide variety of apps. There is a drag-and-drop interface, but those who are comfortable going under the hood have the option to do so.

3. AppMachine

AppMachine3 is a no-code app builder that claims to have more than 37,000 users. It offers a large collection of templates and some ready-made integrations for Google My Business, push notifications and other important features. If you want to make a professional-looking, easy-to-use app and get it to market quickly, AppMachine could be a good solution. The tiered pricing structure makes the platform affordable whether you’re a small business or a development house releasing apps for a large number of clients.

4. AppInstitute

The AppInstitute4 mobile application platform is particularly well-suited to building and deploying simple apps because it’s all browser-based. Using this tool, you can make an app that reflects the branding of a business in minutes. AppInstitute handles the basics for you, offering recommendations for color schemes based on the brand’s website, and pulling app content from social media. All you have to do is choose the extra features you want, tweak the layout, then deploy the app.

5. iBuildApp

iBuildApp5 is another cloud-based mobile app creation platform. It’s aimed at enterprise users, and supports the creation of apps for iOS and Android phones and tablets. The platform provides an extensive database of templates for common industries and app types, such as school or church groups, property development companies, restaurants and online stores. These templates can be easily customized and developers can add additional information or app functions for their clients, giving the apps a more bespoke feel.

6. Mobincube

The Mobincube6 app development platform offers a good balance between ease of use and flexibility. It’s easy to develop simple apps using the drag-and-drop interface and built-in functionalities for push notifications, web wrappers, databases and even media players. Those who need more power can edit the app’s source code to implement their own features. Developers can monetize their apps, and use sophisticated analytics features to keep track of their performance. Apps can be published to the iOS, Android and Amazon store platforms.

7. GoodBarber

GoodBarber7 is an app development platform trusted by some huge brand names. The platform takes a modular approach to app development and makes it easy to produce high performance, native-feeling apps without having to waste time on unnecessary coding. Developers can make polished, smooth eCommerce, CMS and social apps using the drag-and-drop interface. There’s a monthly fee for each app published, but pricing is competitive (from $30 per month8) and the platform offers monetization and analytics options so developers can recoup their investment if the apps they publish are popular.

8. Shoutem

Shoutem’s no-code app development platform9 is more sophisticated than many rivals, offering a huge range of themes, extensions and integrations for business users. The platform can easily integrate with WordPress, Shopify, Facebook and many other platforms, giving users access to the information and tools they want in a mobile-native package. Shoutem charges a higher monthly fee than some other platforms, at $59 per month,10 but the ease with which it integrates with third-party platforms is enough to justify this fee.

9. Appian

This low-code platform gives developers enough freedom to customize applications, while still abstracting away a lot of the time-consuming elements of mobile app development. Appian11 is an enterprise-grade development platform that can be used not just for pure-mobile applications, but also for cross-platform experiences. Once an application is built and deployed, it can be used on any modern mobile device. Apps run natively on the device, without requiring an internet connection for basic offline features.

10. Appery.io

Appery12 is a cloud-based platform for making web, progressive web app (PWA), and mobile applications. It’s a low-code platform that gives developers the opportunity to use drag-and-drop interface builders alongside Javascript to bring their ideas to life quickly. Developers can get started for just $25 per month,13 which gives them the right to publish two apps. Appery’s API express toolset helps developers work with databases, SOAP and REST services quickly and easily, making it easy to create mobile front-ends for existing web services.

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