8 popular low-code development platforms

Low-code and no-code platforms have significantly lowered the barriers to designing websites, databases, and complex automated workflows.

Just 10–15 years ago, building a website was a complicated task that usually involved fighting with Dreamweaver.

Today, those with little to no coding knowledge can get an app, website, or even a database up and running quickly with low-code development platforms. These platforms come with a variety of benefits. The main advantage is that they eliminate the need to write code line by line during development.

Using the technology can be straightforward, but choosing the right platform can be a little tricky. That’s why we’ve created this roundup of eight popular low-code development platforms. We’ve listed the key features, pricing, and most important things to know about each one so you can make an informed decision when picking the right development platform.

1. JotForm

While you might not be able to create a full website, JotForm is an easy-to-use alternative if you’re looking to build signup or payment forms, a basic database (with form-based entries), or automated workflows. Plus, you can create a simple form with conditional logic in a matter of minutes.

Founded in 2006, JotForm now has over 9 million users. There’s a free plan, and paid plans start at $24 per month.

2. BuildFire

BuildFire started in 2014 as a mobile app builder platform for both iOS and Android. It offers high-end development capabilities with an intuitive, user-friendly interface. Features include reporting and analytics, source control, access controls, compatibility testing, and deployment management.

The drag-and-drop functionality lets people of all skill levels create an app that’s tailored to their unique business goals. For example, users can create apps for podcasts, events, education, e-commerce, and workforce communications.

BuildFire App Dashboard
BuildFire App Dashboard

The apps themselves are free to create with BuildFire, but publishing your app requires a paid plan. These start at $159 per month. However, users can take advantage of a 14-day free trial to ensure the app is a good fit for them.

3. Webflow

Webflow got its start in 2013 with a mission to make it easy for non-coders to build powerful websites and bring their ideas to life. Today, the software combines content management, design, marketing, and e-commerce tools into a single visual development platform.

Webflow Dashboard
Webflow Dashboard

Robust features include customizable templates, e-forms, text editors, version control, document indexing, SEO management, and website management.

The platform has two types of plans: site plans and account plans. Each site plan is for a single site, while account plans let you create a team dashboard or work on additional projects for clients. The starting price to use Webflow is $12 per month, though a free trial is available.

4. Makerpad

Makerpad has established its place in the no-code community since its founding in January 2019. It combines cloneable projects and workflows with a robust educational resource.

Makerpad Dashboard
Makerpad Dashboard

The platform is community based and encourages members to learn from the more than 12,000 others in the space. Joining Makerpad grants you access to expert teachers, self-directed learning, a shareable content library, and credentials based on output. Notable partners include Webflow, Airtable, Circle, Gumroad, and Zapier.

Basic plans begin at $99 per year, or members can pay a one-time fee of $600 for lifetime access. Another option is available for teams, but interested users must contact the Makerpad sales team for additional information.

5. Kintone

Kintone got its start in 2011 and is well known today for allowing teams to collaboratively build, share, and automate custom workflows and processes.

Kintone Dashboard
Kintone Dashboard

Designed as a single platform for all tasks, the application builder allows users to drag and drop custom enterprise apps for desktop and mobile. Other features include data aggregation and publishing, visual modeling, templates, and workflow management.

Pricing begins at just $24 per month for each user. There is a five-user minimum. Free trials are available.

6. Quickbase

Quickbase has been around for a while in the platform as a service business. It got its start in 1999 and is known today for empowering businesses to quickly turn ideas into applications that make them more informed, efficient, and productive.

Quickbase Dashboard
Quickbase Dashboard

The low-code development platform includes features like drag-and-drop assembly, workflow management, visual modeling, business process automation, integrations management, templates, web and mobile app development, and collaborative development.

Pricing is on the higher end and begins at $500 per month. However, plans include up to 50 custom apps to start, and they are fully customizable.

7. Retool

Retool started in 2017 as a fast way to build internal software. The platform offers a complete set of powerful building blocks to let users assemble their apps in mere seconds without any coding knowledge.

Retool Dashboard
Retool Dashboard

Users can build a front end with 50-plus drag-and-drop components. Retool allows you to write JavaScript nearly anywhere inside the platform. Additional features include collaborative development, integrations and deployment management, templates, web and mobile app development, data aggregation and publishing, visual modeling, and iteration management.

Pricing for Retool starts at only $10 per user. Users can test a free trial version of the software before committing.

8. GW Apps

GW Apps got its start in 2017 and has since become well known for making it easy to build apps and digitize businesses. You can create apps from scratch or through a template to simplify the process.

GW Apps Dashboard
GW Apps Dashboard

The company prides itself on customer support and provides real human interactions for those who need help with the platform. Notable platform features include business process automation, drag-and-drop functionality, visual modeling, workflow management, deployment management, and collaborative tools.

GW Apps has a free plan for three users; paid plans begin at $300 per month for 100 users. A free trial is available for those who want to test the software.

This article is originally published on Feb 08, 2021, and updated on May 11, 2021.
AUTHOR
Grew into his computer desk. Learned to code as a child, never looked away. Occasional socializing while hiking or biking. You can reach Andrew through his contact form.

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