With the burgeoning app market, building a mobile application might be the next big step in expanding your business and gaining the most effective app marketing channel. But what if you are not an app builder and have very little or no experience in app programming software and design?
You can hire an in-house app builder or an external company to build your app. However, you may be a start-up and can’t face the costs of full-blown app development. This is where app builders come in.
In this guide, we have listed the top app builders in our directory below along with a summary of what advantages come with hiring an app builder for your mobile application.
What is an app builder?
An app builder is a platform that helps businesses create mobile applications with little to no experience in coding and/or design. The online mobile development tool allows users to go beyond the generic app development process, building mobile apps in a more time-efficient way.
Instead of the usual duration of developing an app, which can take weeks or even several months, app builders can shorten this process with easy-to-use tools and features that will help create a high-quality app, effectively promoting your products and services that will drive user acquisition as well as high engagement levels, and increase ROI.
From idea creation to wireframing, requirement analysis, design, testing to implementation, developing an app can be a challenging process for app and software developers. But app builders use simple tools, requiring only the app type, features, user interaction format, and a rough idea of your preferred design.
A word of caution however: in December 2017, Apple banned apps made from templates from the App Store, only to swiftly backtrack two weeks later when it realized the havoc the decision was wreaking on smaller businesses, which don’t have the budget for a fully customized app.
Apple’s rules currently read:
4.2.6 Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app’s content. These services should not submit apps on behalf of their clients and should offer tools that let their clients create customized, innovative apps that provide unique customer experiences.
This means you, the app owner, will have to create a publisher account and publish the app independently as well as paying the publishing fees. Nonetheless, app builders have adapted to the change in rules, and have created upgraded features that will make sure you are the main creator of your content, ensuring your name is listed as a publisher, and, therefore, qualifying to launch your app on the App Store.
Having laid out the main characteristics of what defines app builders, let us now understand how app makers really work, and how you can leave it to them to do the heavy lifting.
How can I build my mobile app?
Championed by original blogging platforms, such as WordPress, app makers allow non-coders to design their application with visual interfaces, by dragging and dropping pre-coded elements and selecting themes, color schemes and designs. Meanwhile, the app making software “codes” the resulting application in the background, ready for review and publication – simple.
Some app builders even go as far as trawling a pre-existing website to import content directly onto the mobile application once your app is made. Making an app with pre-coded elements means the majority of them are coded in HTML5, the mobile-friendly language.
App builders allow your app to be instantly accessible from any mobile web browser. Moreover, if you want apps native to iOS and Android, hiring an app builder to make your app from scratch might be the best way to go. Indeed, only a few app development companies offer native apps “out of the box”.
Some of the app maker software is also available if you wish to create and sell applications as a business, offering a price plan to become resellers that use their own software platforms. However, for a small-to-medium sized company looking to enter the mobile market, these concerns might be secondary, and there are a number of app builders out there that will make the perfect mobile application according to their needs.
Today, the most sophisticated app builders offer a number of features on top of the basic app building ones, such as the following:
- Educational programs
How can I benefit from app makers?
There are currently more than 6 billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide, with China, India and the United States accounting for the highest number of smartphone users. This number keeps growing year on year, meaning that the need to build apps to maximize success for your business is greater than before.
App builders can help develop a product just in time to boost those conversions and start making revenue.
As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of advantages to templated apps: someone with no coding experience can use the app maker to design, and launch a functioning application in very little time, keeping full control of the creative process, without paying for an entire development cycle.
But let’s dive deeper into the benefits of using app builders to understand how useful application makers truly are.
App builders – pros & cons
Naturally, there are pros and cons to working with an application maker. Moreover, hiring an app development team can be rather costly, with a sea full of developers to choose from. So, app builders can be extremely beneficial, especially if you are looking to develop a straightforward app for your business.
With the constantly evolving app market, you want to get an app out there quickly to increase user interaction and brand awareness. App builders offer the additional benefit of helping you achieve just that as well as expanding your business opportunities without having to waste your budget entirely on the app development process itself.
So, let’s take a look at how much it will actually cost you to use an app builder.
How much does it cost to build an app?
Publishing paid-for applications in Apple’s App Store has a yearly cost of $99, while Google Play has a one-time fee of $25 that cannot be avoided. Paid plans provided by such app builders usually range from $159/month for basic
Paid plans provided by certain app builders range from $159/month for a basic growth plan, to $424/month for the enterprise plan. When it comes to managed services the price range goes way up – from $999/month to $7,500/month. These prices are in the same ballpark as paying to a hired app development company.
These numbers are certainly tentative, as several factors come into play when determining the actual cost, including the app type, functionality and complexity. Nonetheless, top app builders offer flexible and affordable price plans for you to choose from, depending on the standards and requirements of your individual mobile app – all you need is to select the best app maker.
What are the best app builders?
App builders are useful if you have little to no coding or design experience, and are looking to get an app up in the near future. They can cut down the typical duration of the usual app development lifecycle, offering a wide range of online app making tools that make it easier to create and design a functioning app that will make your product and services accessible to users quickly.
Here is a list of the best app builders you can work with to create a mobile app. We collected a list that combines a variety of budgets, features and tools that will suit your mobile app and secure the long-term sustainability of your business.
List of the top app builders
Alpha Software is a low-code app development environment designed specifically with enterprise solutions in mind, and with the capability of producing applications which work across a number of platforms, both on and offline. The platform covers all stages of development: front-end and back-end integration, prototyping and deployment.
Alpha Software has both a drag-and-drop interface and a coding panel should you wish to use it for designing UX and UI of your app. The list of features it can support includes geolocation, charting and reporting, data streaming and task scheduling, and also features its own database engine (though it can be fully integrated with SQL, REST APIs and web services)
- Specifically designed for enteprise-level mobility solutions
- Three different price plans, both including unlimited email support
- Free trial of offline capabilities available
- Simple licensing
- Full deployment capabilities
- Advanced offline features
- Integration with any system via sophisticated API
- Mobile forms software solution for field teams to collect data via mobile
App Center is an app development platform for Android, iOS and Windowsphone which allows you to develop and distribute beta versions, monitor crashes, recruit testers and analyze app performance before launch. Launched in 2011, it was bought by Microsoft in December 2014, proving the sophistication and power of the platform.
The App Center pricing plans comes in five different tiers, with the lowest one starting at $10 per month and allowing you to publish up to 15 apps (and gives use of the software to three different owners). The highest pricing plan allows for 500 apps and 100 users, and for anything more a bespoke model can be negotiated.
- Also compatible with Unity and Xamarin
- 1 month free trial available
- Pay-as-you go service means you’re never tied in to a contract
Learn more about App Center
- 500,000+ registered users
- 10+ years on the market
- 10,000 + published apps
- Collaboration tools to build apps by a team
AppInstitute is a UK-based app developer which also offers the tools to build your own mobile applications and become a white-label reseller. With four years of experience, they’ve developed custom apps for international consultants, comic books and localised cab services among others, and offer a wide range of features like augmented reality, media manipulation, push notifications and social networking for their custom-made applications.
AppInstitute’s builder, on the other hand, works with a content management system and a drag-and-drop interface, where developers can choose premade “Small Business App Modules”. These cover a variety of functions such as in-app food ordering, eCommerce markets, geolocation services, image galleries among many more, and the base price plan for the business builder includes Android store submission and app analytics.
- Business apps price plans begin at £5 per month, up to £30/month for professional version
- White Label App Builder requires no coding knowledge, starts at £25/month
- Over 8000 customers using business app builder, reaching ten countries in four continents
- App building process has only 4 steps – template picking, app branding, content editing and publishing.
AppsGeyser is a web platform that allows converting any web content into an Android App in 2 easy steps. It is a Android-only codeless application development platform that lets users create template-based mobile apps based on content pulled from webpages. The AppsGeyser tool is easy to use and bundles social sharing, tabs, messaging and full support for HTML5 enhancements.
On top of the free plan, it offers 3 paid plans – Master ($10 / month to remove ads and get a number of extra features, including premium support), Business ($10 / month for the same features as the Master plan minus support) and Individual plan ($5 / month for the Master plan set of features).
- The platform can pull content from webpages, YouTube channels, RSS feeds and other sources
- Create an app in 3 simple steps and you’ll be ready to monetize it in no time
- Choose your own themes and templates from a wide selection
- On average 7,000+ apps being created with AppsGeyser daily
- To date 6,000000+ apps were created with the platform in total
Appsmakerstore is an award-winning app building platform which will build a free, native application for iOS, Android, Facebook or in HTML5. The platform comes with over 100 ready-made templates divided by industry and purpose, including food and beverages, beauty, event management, healthcare, hospitality and many more. The technologies its apps support go from geolocation to workflow management, livestreaming to QR codes.
Appsmakerstore was founded in 2009 in London and currently comes in three pricing plans: they can either build your app for you, you can pay a monthly subscription to build and maintain the app yourself, or pay a higher subscription and become a whitelabel reseller of applications, with the first 35 being free.
- All pricing plans include infinite updates and changes to published apps
- More than 500,000 app and usersign ups worldwide
- Best Global DIY App Developer Software 2015 according to Clutch.co
Appy Pie is a mobile app-development software platform with the aim of minimizing the amount of coding you have to do yourself. The software is entirely cloud based and requires no installation. The Appy Pie team is on a mission to democratize mobile app development process and let small companies access quality app development building tools cheaper than hiring an outside app development team would require.
Its basic service is free, but will only produce games and apps compatible with HTML 5. The paid versions of the program will add iOS and Android support, remove Appy Pie branding from your application and include other features such as push notifications, real-time updates, and analytics, depending on the price plan.
- Drag-and-drop interface means no coding skills required.
- Four different price plans to only pay for the support you want.
- Paid version always provides customer support and one-time free submission.
- The entire app building process takes only 3 steps.
BuildFire is an easy-to-use way of creating mobile applications used by over 30,000 businesses thanks to its code-less approach to making an app. With its “click-and-edit” platform, a mobile app can be created in little time but still be feature-rich by including social network integration, loyalty programs, mobile shopping and e-commerce features. Its basic program, which will give you a HTML5 application, is free for up to 200 web app installs.
BuildFire also offers its trademarked SMART Push and Selective Push notification systems, with a 90% read-rate through your application insuring that your campaigns or contents are noticed by your users. It also syncs your application across platforms with content from your website, creates subscription channels and supports live content such as video and audio streaming.
- High profile customers include Huffington Post, CNN and Business News
- 3-tier price plan gives access to native apps with unlimited downloads
- Allows for back-end coding as well as click-and-edit interface
Fliplet is an enterprise-focused app making solution designed to make mobile applications for your business without any knowledge of coding or programming. Once your app is designed with a simple click-and-edit browser interface and using a number of ready-made templates, it can be shared internally in your company or via the Fliplet Viewer application.
Fliplet’s pre-coded features are built around the needs of a company, and include sales and marketing features such as client proposals and project overviews, as well as suites of features for event organizing, project management, promotion and others. Apps can also link to external PDFs or websites and can always be customised to make navigation and use as easy as possible.
- Free plan to build an app for a small number of users
- Team plan (from 65 euro per month and up)
- Enterprise plan (from 1,300 euro per month and up)
- Manage privacy and access settings, deciding which employees can access which app
- Audio and video streaming supported, as well as visualization of charts and graphs
- Return to Office app built in collaboration with 25 customers that businesses to return to the office after COVID-19 lockdown.
GameSalad is a free, drag and drop game creation engine for the development of iPhone, iPad, Android, Tizen & HTML5 games. Using GameSalad developers can test games on Apple devices (no coding required) and publish games to the App Store. The engine is also powered by a complex behavior library to enable creative freedom for game designers. Plus to business objectives, GameSalad team has a noble goal to enable anyone to engage with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) and learn Computer Science through video game creation.
One of GameSalad’s main features is it’s testing tool, the In-App Previewer, which can be used to test game logic and behavior sets. Its web publishing system allows for quick and easy cross-platform publishing to supported targets including iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, Nook, Windows 8 and Mac desktop. Developers can also instantly publish games to the HTML5 powered GameSalad Arcade
- Create, test and publish iPhone, iPad, Android, Tizen and HTML5 games
- In-App Previewer to test game logic and behavior sets
- Cross-platform publishing available for ebook readers, Windows 8 and Mac desktop
Native apps Progressive Web App Builder for eCommerce and Content Management.
GoodBarber is an app builder created in 2011, delivering a tool which allows to create robust and powerful apps, with the best design and user experience out there. With GoodBarber, you can make native iOS apps, native Android apps, and Progressive Web Apps, which are the latest, most advanced mobile technology. The platform can be used by a wide range of projects and organizations—from local businesses, to radio stations, to magazines, to non-profits, and more. Digital agencies are also a main user of the platform, taking advantage of the solid, reliable technology and flexible customization options to make and sell apps to clients via the white-label reseller program.
With 30,000 apps published with the platform, GoodBarber is a tool you can trust with your business’s digital identity. Not only will end-users enjoy the top-notch design options and a wide range of features that can be added to the app, but the app creator will be pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to use the back office to create and maintain an engaging application. Given the indispensability of a mobile presence, no business should have to decide between breaking the bank or having a low-quality app—that’s why GoodBarber’s mission is to give everyone access to the opportunity to create an exceptional product worthy of representing them.
- Allows to build a shopping app with offline payment system, local delivery by zip code, in-store pickup, time slots, store locator, push notifications, discounts, one-click checkout, permanent cart, quick share and more.
- 30,000+ apps are built with the platform
- Free and open source
- Reactive programming model reduces amount of coding required
- Support available with a subscription fee
Mobincure is an app builder platform to create apps for iOS and Android. On top of providing an easy solution to create mobile apps, by placing interstitial banners, video ads or sliders, it offers app owners an opportunity to monetize apps they build with the tool. With Mobincure users can build apps with advanced features such as online shopping, push notifications, audio & video, databases, embedded web content and more.
- Its pricing plans range from Free for the set of basic options to 1,200 euro / year for a full-featured plan.
- 132k+ app were built & published with the platform
Sellmyapp.com is one of the first marketplaces for buying and selling mobile source code. The marketplace strives to enrich and push the mobile developer community to innovate by offering a wide variety of options to make new income streams as a mobile developer.
- Sellmyapp produces a Win Win situation by allowing newcomers to the industry as well as medium range developers to purchase quality tested source codes by high quality responsive authors.
- This allows a simple and quick buying process that allows the buyers to focus on their launch tasks.
- The marketplace also has a team of experienced mobile developers to perform any code customization that is needed to reach the best result possible. The team has experience of more than 5 years in serving customers in the niche and generates only the best quality of graphics and usability.
- Any project size is possible to fulfil and hundreds of projects were already successfully executed to satisfied customers.
ShoutEm is a powerful tool to create mobile applications which asks no coding skills of the creator. From content to advertising, from e-commerce to social apps, the platform provides you with a simple drag-and-drop interface to create the application, and gives you the tools to preview it natively and in real time. While basic apps are coded in HTML5, the scaling price plans also allows for native apps in iOS, Android and iPad.
ShoutEm also offers analytics tracking for your application, keeping tabs on active users, sessions, shout outs, check ins and more data points, as well as including a content management system, a variety of modules to monetize your users such as promotions and advertising.
- Automated publishing to App Store and Google Play, free republishing and updates
- 4-tier price plan covers all levels of customization for your app
- High profile clients include T-Mobile, USA Today and Digital First Media
Swiftic‘s solution to app building comes with the standard drag-and-drop interface but adds a suite of tools for monetization of your application.
Strongly business-oriented, it comes with a wide knowledge base and dedicated support teams, a highly customizable price plan and a 30-day money back guarantee, though its yearly plans do not include publishing costs to the App Store and Google Play.
- Monthly plan ($39 / month), Yearly plan ($33 / month – paid once a year), 2 Year plan ($29 / month – paid once every 2 years)
- Over 25 features
- Push Notifications
- Coupons & loyalty cards support
- Promotional toolkit to attract new customers