There’s one thing that’s been a constant in the web development industry for as long as the industry has been around — developers want things to be faster, easier, and less coding intensive.
Every few years, we get closer to being able to build fully functional apps with almost purely drag-and-drop components, but one of the biggest challenges to overcome has been simplified data access.
Smart tools like Airtable, Jotform, and Notion have introduced us to dynamic spreadsheets that act like database tables. Those tables make for ideal back ends to simple web apps.
That brings us much closer to a true no-code web-app-building tool. Several developers have created apps that use dynamic data tables or regular spreadsheets with special powers. Glide is one. Here are a few more.
Create an app from scratch or choose from 300+ free app templates — then make it your own with no coding.
Top Glide alternatives
AppSheet has been around since 2014 and is probably the most popular no-code app creation tool. Google ended up buying it in 2020, so the bigwigs there must have liked it too.
AppSheet laid the groundwork that Glide claims it evolved from. However, AppSheet has some powerful features Glide doesn’t offer yet.
Those features include machine learning and data structure creation with natural language, among others. The biggest feature AppSheet has over Glide is the ability to publish to app stores just like a native app. AppSheet also has a very clean, well-organized interface that makes learning it easier than many others.
AppSheet integrates seamlessly with Google Sheets, but it also integrates well with regular databases like Postgres and MySQL. Oddly, it doesn’t seem to integrate with Google’s Firebase. But it does connect with non-data–related apps like Google Maps and Zapier, giving you more interactivity options.
AppSheet gives you and a small team of up to 10 people unlimited access to build and test your app. You only have to pay when you launch. The two basic tiers cost $5 and $10 per user, per month.
Bubble is more tech heavy than some of the others, but it’s also much more flexible. Bubble has been around for longer than AppSheet and blazes its own path.
Bubble stands out by being more developer friendly. Yes, you can build your whole app without coding, but if you want to roll up your sleeves and get down in the muck with code, Bubble will let you.
Bubble also offers a ton of plug-ins and the ability to create your own. On top of that, it has over 50 integrations, which is more than Glide and AppSheet put together. Another way Bubble stands out is by using its own internal database instead of a spreadsheet or dynamic data table.
One drawback of Bubble is the user interface (UI). It does the job, but it feels a bit cluttered and claustrophobic. The layout could stand to be more spaced out and airy, and the dialog boxes can be somewhat overwhelming. But this tool was built with the more tech-savvy folks in mind, so it’s not a huge issue.
Bubble’s free tier is similar to AppSheet’s in that you can do almost anything except share your creation. Bubble’s lowest tier starts at $25 per month. Higher tiers mostly offer more processing power rather than locking you out of key features, so that’s a plus.
AppGyver is a serious tool that people who want to publish an app for the whole world might want to consider. You can publish the apps you build with AppGyver to Android and iOS with no problem. On top of that, AppGyver actually uses React and React Native behind the scenes. So you’re getting a real app, not a wrapper around a web page.
If you’re a developer just looking for a simple solution to help you get started fast, you probably know all about React Native. It’s one of the most popular choices for building mobile apps right now because you can build a mobile app for either Android or iOS using the same code base. Plus, you can share much of the code with your web app if it’s built with React.
AppGyver has a lot in common with Bubble in that you can play around with the core underlying code if you want. And you can create your own view components as well. But it’s not necessary. AppGyver provides a lot of bang for your buck right out of the box.
AppGyver doesn’t offer as much as Bubble overall, but it comes close. And it does so without having an interface that feels like a coder’s demo app.
One possible point of difficulty you may run into with AppGyver is that its data access is close to the metal. There doesn’t seem to be a way to use a spreadsheet at this time. The main way to access data is through an API.
For developers, connecting to an API is pretty easy and painless. And AppGyver’s interface makes the connection smooth and graphical, but it still pushes the no-code paradigm.
One of the happiest surprises about AppGyver is the price. It’s completely free for life — that is, unless you’re bringing in more than $10 million a year. That includes the pro version for personal and commercial uses. The company makes all of its money from enterprise customers.
Clappia is designed as a B2B solution for codeless app development. The entire development process uses a software installation wizard-style flow. It works well enough but might not be the best fit for something as complex as app development.
Fortunately, Clappia’s app development environment is so lightweight that may not be a problem. But then, it might even be too lightweight for many needs.
Compared to something like Bubble’s dizzying array of options, Clappia feels like a toy. But there are some powerful features, like API access and logic, so it will likely be enough for some needs.
Pricing follows the B2B model. The Standard plan costs $5 per user, per month. Enterprise pricing is available through a consultation.
Open as App is a good choice for building an app just for yourself or a small team. Maybe most of these tools are as well, but Open as App is priced as such.
Open as App is another thin offering built to sit on your basic spreadsheet data. The interface is clean and easy to use, but there’s not a lot to it.
The free tier lets you build one app and share it with one user. You can access almost all of the features, though. The next tier up costs $90 per month and allows you to create unlimited apps and share with 10 users.
Another way to go
If you really want to go no-code, try Jotform Apps. With more than 300 templates available, it’s simple to get started, and creating an app from scratch is as easy as dragging and dropping.
Jotform Apps is built on Jotform’s bread-and-butter forms. Each app is basically a collection of forms. You can customize your app to match your branding and include social media links, videos, maps, and more. Also, you can create a custom splash screen and app icon.
All Jotform Apps work on any device because they are progress web apps (PWAs), as opposed to native apps. You can share an app through a link, an email, or a QR code. And users can add your app to their home screen to use it like a native app. Advanced privacy and access settings allow you to determine who can access your app.
There is no fee for Jotform Apps. Pricing plans are based on the number of forms you create, the amount of submissions and payments you receive, storage limits, and the like.