No-Code/Low-Code Platforms.

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No-Code/Low-Code Platforms.

No-Code/Low-Code platforms. There are so many that sometimes it can confuse you. Each platform has its own things. Depending on what you are looking for or what you would like to achieve.

There are platforms that can create Progressive Web Applications (PWA) or Native Applications. Is it for internal (company) use, or for yourself, or do you want to sell it? What kind of database do you want to use? How much are you willing to spend on it? Do you want to create web applications/websites or do you want to use them on a mobile device?

There are so many choices and possibilities, you can get lost in them.

For me, every time I found a different platform, I thought that that is the one. But once you start researching and checking out the possibilities and features, you will change your mind again. It is not only because of all the features they offer but also all the different pricing and plans you can choose from.

Glide Apps.

At this moment, my favorite platform is Glide Apps. Recently they also introduced Glide Pages. With Glide Apps, you can create Progressive Web Applications. With Glide Pages, you can create your own Website.

When I first started to have an interest in creating apps, I start with MIT App Inventor 2. But I found it simple looking and maybe a bit limited. It only worked for Android. And database options were limited. Then I found AppGyver, but more on that later. When I found Glide Apps, I stuck with it. It was nice to work with because you could use Google Sheets. Actually, with Glide Apps, you can create a layer over your Google Sheet. You create user interfaces for your Google Sheets.

Glide Apps is also updating its system regularly. And every time they have added new features.

To use it, they have different plans and prices. Right now for me, the free plan is good enough. But I foresee problems in the future when my apps are getting bigger and more complicated. Then I think I need to switch to a paid plan. But there is also a problem with that, for me.

To upgrade to a paid plan, you need to have a credit card. I can partly understand why they request a credit card. But what they forget is, that not everyone has a credit card. And not everyone wants to have a credit card. This means that you are stuck with the free plan.

In recent days, I discovered that maybe more than 3/4 of all the No-Code/Low-Code platforms, request you to have a credit card. Only a few accept PayPal.

Appgyver.

Before I started with Gilde Apps, I discovered Appgyver. At that time they only had one price plan. FREE. At that time they also had their own internal database. That meant that you could create your apps for free. Only when you wanted to publish your app in the App Store or Google Play store, do you have to pay for it.

But since mid-2021, I think it was) they had changed. It was taken over by SAP. It is still free to create your own app. But there is no more internal database. Now you need to use external databases like Backendless, Xano, or Firebase.

Appgyver also has a steep learning curve. It takes time to get the hang of it. This is actually not so bad. But the thing is, their tutorials are not correct. They are still referring to the previous version. Also, the user community is not that active. If you post a question there, it can take a long time before someone will answer it. One other disadvantage is also, that they don’t have templates. This means that you need to make everything yourselves. You cannot checkout other apps and see how they do things.

FlutterFlow.

Another platform that looks interesting is FlutterFlow. This is based on the Android programming language Flutter. It is like Glide Apps and Appgyver.

It is what they call a drag-and-drop platform. Or maybe WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get. You can just drag components to your screen and connect the different things to it or place logic behind it.

With FlutterFlow, you cannot only create apps for Android but also iOS. It is a little bit more complicated than Glide Apps and you also need to have an external database. But I thought that recently, you also could connect to Google Sheets.

What I found more interesting in FlutterFlow, is that you can create multiple pages and connect them in different ways.

You can also here start for free. The disadvantage to me is, that if you want to upgrade your plan, you need to have a credit card again.

Their user community looks active and they have many templates that you could use.

Thunkable.

The platform I am looking into right now is called Thunkable.

It is a bit like FlutterFlow. Drag and Drop, and you can create multiple pages. On this platform, you also can start for free.

And as with every other platform that has a free plan, you are limited. But, with Thunkable you can use PayPal to upgrade your plan and remove some limitations.

It also looks like Thunkable has an active user community and also a good amount of templates.

Thunkable is also a drag-and-drop, but it looks like you are a little bit more flexible in where you drag and drop your components.

Bubble.

In the list of No-Code/Low-Code, there is also the platform Bubble.io. But this is more of a platform to create web apps/sites.

There are a lot of tutorials on YouTube but also a lot of videos where they talk about Bubble. It looks like it is popular.

Softr.

Softr is/was also like Bubble. You can/could create web applications. But very recently they also introduced the possibility to create mobile applications.

External Databases.

There are many external databases that you can use to create your application.

The “simple” ones are Google Sheets and Airtable. By simple I mean, that they are easy to set up. If you know something about EXCEL, then you already can create your own sheets/tables that you can use.

Then there are the databases like Backendles and XANO. These need a little bit more work to set up. On these, you also can start for free. But again, there are limitations. You can upgrade if you want or need.

There is also FIREBASE or Google FireStore. This is owned by Google. From what I understand, it is free to use, and later on, you pay as you go. So when you reach your free limits, after that you only pay for what you are using.

Each platform has its own way to connect to any of these databases. You need to check out their documentation on how to do this. But I think there are also a lot of videos on Youtube that will show you how to do this.

Closing.

I am sure that there a still a lot more platforms out there. But these are the ones that I found that have more interest with others. So many people out there are talking about them.

What platform you choose, depends on what you want to do. There is not really one platform that fits all. Depending on your demands or your goals, you need to choose your platform.

One advantage of all of them is, that for almost all of them you are able to create applications for different devices. Desktop, Tablet, or Smartphone.

right now for me, it is Glide Apps and Google Sheets. For now, this is enough for me. But if I look to the future or what my goal could be, I think I need to switch to a different platform.

This is where Thunkable comes into the picture. I think Thunkable will be my next platform. I am still looking for good tutorials and documentation. And of course, templates are also important. Because you also can learn from that.

I am not quite sure, but I thought I also could use Google Sheets in combination with Thunkable. If this will reach the limit, then I always can switch to Firebase.

One thing that I also hear from several people is, Don’t Stick To One Platform. As I mentioned before, each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you want or need to do, you choose your platform. Some are easy to learn, and others need some time. Put your goals clearly and choose you platform of your choice. Don’t hurry, take your time.

If you want more info on No-Code/Low-Code platforms, then check out the many videos on Youtube.

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