Just how websites used to cost upwards of 5 figures in the late 90’s early 2000’s and have since dropped to free in some cases, mobile apps are on a similar trajectory. There have been several drag and drop app builders to pop up on the market in the last year or so. Will you eventually be able to build a professional mobile app for free with no technical training other than knowing what looks good where?
The answer may be yes.
Why Drag & Drop Has Value
Compare custom coding a website to creating one on Wix. You already have a business to run, teaching yourself to code would not be the best use of your time. This is the situation for many business owners and therefore they opt for the Wix version or another drag and drop web builder.
The time value of a drag and drop is clear. And as these web builders improve over time the value of paying for custom coding drops severely. After all, if a Wix site can rank just as easily as a custom built site, why not pay Wix the $300 annually and have them take care of the back end. You also usually get some sort of customer service.
Drag and drop’s main value is the time it saves. Now it’s coming to mobile apps.
Drag & Drop/No Code App Builders We’re Watching in 2021.
1. Glide Apps
Glide Apps has been around for a little over a year now and is the only no code app builder on the list, not a drag and drop although there are drag and drop features. Glide Apps uses a Google Sheet as a database. “Spreadsheets are the most successful programming model of all time”, and now you can utilize your highschool excel knowledge to create a mobile app for your business.
Glide has 3 pricing levels for “non-members”, Personal, Basic, and Pro.
The Personal level is free to use with 100MB of storage space and 500 rows of data. This plan also comes branded with the glideapp.io domain name and Glide branding. They also take a 10% transaction fee! This level is appropriate for those who want to dip their toes into the idea of creating a mobile app or compare app builders before making a final decision as you will have to pay for any premium features on any platform.
The Basic account is $9/mo when billed annually ($188.00 before taxes upfront) and comes with 5,000 data rows and 2GB of storage. You still have to deal with Glide branding and domains and they take a steep transaction fee of 5%. In our opinion, this account level isn’t worth the $9/mo. You still have Glide branding, the storage space is mediocre, and you still have a very high transaction fee to pay. If you want to do this right, opt for the Pro.
The Pro account is $24/mo when billed annually ($288.00 before taxes upfront) and finally lets you place your app on your own domain! You get 25,000 data rows and 10GB of storage. It also comes with a lower transaction fee of 2%.
To get started with Glide you need to have a gmail account to connect to as Glide only works with Google Sheets. After connecting with Google you create a new project and select a sheet to use at the database of your app.
Opening to a blank sheet can be intimidating though! You can watch YouTube tutorials to get a concept of how the process works or you can start with one of Glide’s templates. We recommend a mixture of YouTube University and starting with a predesigned template that Glide offers. You can view the Google Sheet being used as the database for one of their templates by clicking on the pen on the left hand side of your screen.
Once you start to play with their design you will realize the options are endless. The best use of these builders, while we are still in the early stages, is to build micro apps with them. Start with the mission of opening up one bottleneck of your processes with this new app you’re about to build. You can create several apps with Glide to do several different tasks. You will have a tough time building an app that does everything.
Gappsy is a drag and drop software system that claims to allow anyone “create your own advanced mobile app within 60 minutes.” Gappsy is fairly new and was started in the Netherlands around the end of 2019 early 2020. Gappsy comes loaded with features that allow you to collect payments though your app, show ads, and even create customer loyalty cards.
For drag and drop, we love Gappsy for its simplicity and low pricing offers which, if you watch their social channels closely enough, you may be able to buy a lifetime license for a flat rate.
When Gappsy isn’t running a pricing promo there are 2 standard price points. $37 and $57 billed monthly. We will break down each price level here.
The “Basic Plan” which costs $37/mo or $27/mo when billed annually comes with features like hosting, PayPal & Stripe integrations, and unlimited editing. There are some serious fall backs with this plan that cause us to recommend you skip this option if you are serious about building an app with Gappsy. The 3 biggest drawbacks with this plan are that they limit you to 500 downloads/users, they load up your app with Gappsy ads even though you are a paying customer, and there is no ability to send push notifications. Those are just the top 3 reasons you should skip the “Basic Plan”. There are several other key features you will miss out on with this plan like not having access to a chatbot within your app, no Zapier integrations, and no loyalty cards.
The “Premium Plan” starting at $57/mo or $42/mo when billed annually is the package that unleashes all of Gappsy’s potential. With this plan you get access to everything and this includes unlimited downloads of your app. You will be able to capitalize on features like webhooks and even an Uber-like feature that will empower you to create your own Uber app.
Using Gappsy will take some playing around and there is no free version available. If you are tight on budget you may want to give them a follow and wait for their next deal. We were able to get a lifetime license for just $87 one time! There is a lack of tutorial videos on YouTube because of the novelty of this company but we expect more content to become available as this technology ages and new users jump on board the Gappsy ship.
GoodBarber is the oldest drag and drop app builder in the group having been around since 2011. GoodBarber breaks down app development into two main categories, “Shopping” and “Classic” apps. There is no free version of GoodBarber available and they have 3 pricing models starting at $25/mo for the standard plan and ranging up to $96/mo for the premium package. All apps developed on GoodBarber come with a secure SSL, unlimited bandwidth, and push notifications. Being around for as long as they have been, there are more resources available online about GoodBarber than the other 2 previously mentioned.
Let’s get into which package you should choose if you plan on using GoodBarber to build your drag and drop mobile app. We will be discussing the “Classic” app only.
It is important to note that the first two plans are for Progessive Web Apps while the premium version will allow you to create native apps for iOS and Android.
The “Standard” plan will run you $25/mo when paid yearly or $30/mo when paid month by month. Again it is important to note that this plan gives you a progressive web app and not a native mobile app. This means that you won’t be able to download this app from a marketplace like Google Play or the Apple App Store. You will instead have to view the app from a mobile browser although you can instruct your users to add your progressive web app to their home screen and it will look like another app on your phone. This package does come with push notifications however, which may make this package applicable for those looking to build a microapp for in-house work.
The “Full” plan starts at $48/mo when billed yearly and $60/mo when billed monthly. The biggest leaps from the “Standard” plan are that you can now make this app live on Google Play (but not the App Store), unlimited downloads, and the ability to authenticate users. We would not recommend this plan to many people because if you need a mobile app to be on an app marketplace, you probably need to publish it to the App Store and not just Google Play.
The “Premium” plan starts at $96/mo when billed yearly and $115/mo monthly. One good thing to note here is that GoodBarber will pay for your iOS review fee and you’ll get a large storage space of 1TB! The most out of any on this list.
If you are interested in a “Shopping” app from GoodBarber you will pay about $10-15 more per month and have access to features Apple Pay. We have yet to test this service so we don’t want to get into it too much. But after a quick glance at the pricing page that shows the attributes of each plan, a Gappsy App may be a better option here.
There you have it! Mad Mango Marketing’s top 3 low code/no code, drag and drop mobile app builders. The future is low code for many reasons as we are sure this article has got your wheels spinning. If you use these apps right, you could save yourself or your employees hours of time and hopefully lots of money, allowing you to reinvest in your business where you need it most.
Here is a short list of how some businesses successfully use microapps: