Monday, October 19, 2020

Is a No Code App Builder Free too Good to Be True?

An island full of dogs you can play with, 365 vacation days a year, and vegetables that taste like chocolate cake. Unfortunately all of these things are too good to be true (sad I know). But something that isn’t too good to be true is a no code app builder free of charge. Yes you heard that right. You can build an app for free, without writing a single line of code. However, a no code app builder free is not the end all be all when it comes to the app building process. You actually have a lot more options than you might think.

No Code vs. Low Code

A no code app builder isn’t the only option you have when it comes to building an app without code. You can also look into a low code app builder. Don’t be fooled by the name “low code” this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to use a little bit of code. All “low code” means is you have the option to bring in your own code if you want to. However, if that isn’t something you want to do, you can continue building the app with no code required (just like a no code app builder). So in simple terms, no code and low code platforms are essentially the same, but low code platforms leave the door open for bringing in outside code to further personalize the app while no code platforms close the door.

Free vs. Paid

If I have the choice between getting something for free or paying for it, almost always I will choose free. However, when it comes to app builders I often rethink that logic. There is nothing wrong with using a free app builder, and depending on what you want to do, free might really be the best option for you. However, when you use a free app builder you are sacrificing some features and functionality you could have access to with a paid app builder. For example, with a paid app builder you might be able to include more complex content or possibly more integrations to include videos, calendars, or wayfinding in the app. So, before you decide to go down the free route, you should make sure you’re getting all of the functions you need to have a successful app. If that is not the case with a free app building platform, then paying a little more will go a long way.

Progressive Web App vs. Native Mobile App

What a lot of people don’t know is that there is more than one kind of app, so the term “app builder” is very general. When it comes to looking for an app builder, you need to know what kind of app you are looking to build. You could build a native mobile app, web app, hybrid app, Progressive Web App (PWA), etc. Hearing all of these options can make this decision seem very overwhelming, so let’s focus on two specific apps: native mobile and PWA.

A native mobile app is the app you have probably used most of your life. These are the apps you download from the app store. Native mobile apps are great because they are compatible with many smartphone features like camera, geolocation, and push notifications. However, they are also much more expensive, difficult to build, and take up more data on a user’s phone.

On the other hand we have PWAs. These apps are hosted through the web (like a web app), but can be installed to a phone’s home screen. They possess most of the same functionality as native mobile apps, plus they don’t have to be downloaded and take up less data on a user’s phone.

So while a free no code app builder does sound great, it might not be the right fit for everyone. Before making a decision on what app builder to use, make sure you weigh all the different options and know what code level is right for you, what your budget is, and what kind of app will best fit your brand. While this might sound overwhelming at first, the great thing about having options is that everyone can find an app builder that matches their goals. Therefore, all you marketers out there have no excuse to not incorporate an app into your mobile messaging strategy.