With the citizen developer movement so widespread, different app builders are popping up left and right. It may even be hard to understand the differences or why you might choose one app maker over the other. Some of the best app builders might not fit your need for a specific use case. Let’s talk through the three top questions you need to ask yourself before you choose an iOS app builder or any app builder for that matter. What Type of App Are You Building?When deciding on what app builder to use to build your next app it is crucial you know what type of app you will be building. There are three different types I’d recommend looking into and deciding between - Native Apps, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), and Web Apps. You might be thinking what about Hybrid Apps? Well, there are a whole slew of reasons I’m not including those (I could and should write a blog post on that topic) but for now, let’s just leave at… I want your app to be either accepted by the App Store if you’re going native OR not have to deal with the App Store at all (hello PWAs and Web Apps). So let’s dive into a high level of what these different apps are and why you’d choose to use them.
Native Mobile Apps - Native apps are what everyone initially thinks about when it comes to building an app. They are able to integrate with specific operating systems because they are built per operating system. (Yes, you have to build separate apps for iOS and Android.) When building a native app you need to have the time, money, and resources to get the job done.
Web Apps - Web apps are apps that are built on the web service instead of needing to be downloaded onto the operating system like native apps. This allows you to build out one app for multiple operating systems but cannot take advantage of the native functionality a native app gives you. These cannot be downloaded onto a users home screen and needs to be accessed with an internet connection
PWAs - Progressive Web Apps are the best of both native mobile apps and web apps. They can integrate with some of the native functionalities (push notifications, camera, geolocation, etc) but are hosted behind a URL. This means the app can be accessed from anywhere without downloading it from an app store and taking up a ton of space on the phone. PWAs are also great in low connectivity areas. If you’re looking for an app that has a lower base budget and quicker time to market, PWAs might just be your next best friend.
What Operating System Are You Building It For? It’s also important to ask yourself if you are specifically interested in developing an app for iOS, Android, or both. You can find app builders that are drag and drop iOS app builders, specific app builders for operating systems, or app builders that allow you to build one app to be used across all operating systems and devices. You can find app builders like Appy Pie, Appmakr, BuildFire, and Lumavate that are all app builders but help build different types of apps for different operating systems. Appy Pie and Appmakr are focused on creating native apps with no code while BuildFire is focused on native and hybrid apps for iOS or Android. Lumavate helps you build PWAs that can be used across any operating system and your team doesn’t have to specify if it’s for Android or iOS because all operating systems are compatible. What Type of App Builder Are You Using? Lastly, it is important to know what kind of app builder you will want to use. There are two different types of app builders you can find - no code app builder and low code app builders. Let’s look into each type at a high level.
No Code - No-code app builders give you the opportunity to build out an app using absolutely no code. These app builders have become useful for business teams who don’t want to rely on the IT departments to create all the apps. You can use these platforms as a drag and drop app builder meaning you don't have to write a single line of code to launch a successful app.
Low Code -Low-code app builders give teams the opportunity to build apps using very little code and sometimes give you the option to build with no code but customization can be through low-code. These types of app builders give the business team the same agility as no-code but with a little more flexibility to customize the app. If there is a feature or integration that is not included with the app builder, your team may be able to create that feature by coding. Some low-code platforms have specific languages you have to code with or others allow you to use any type of code. Make sure you know what type of language the low-code platform asks for.
It’s important to find the best app builder for your use case before you start building. Make sure you know the business goal and strategy for the app and it can help answer the above questions. Also, understanding the true budget and time to market your team is working with is imperative to choosing the right app builder!