Monday, October 12, 2020

Open Source No Code App Builder Explained

I personally hate when people use buzzwords to make it sound like they know what they are talking about, but can’t actually back them up. This is something I see happening a lot when it comes to app development. Low code. No code. Open source. Mobile tools. App builder. WTH does this all mean? So today we are going to dive into explaining what an open source no code app builder is (talk about a buzzword packed phrase). And hopefully, by the end of this, you will know if this is an app builder that will work for you.

What Does Open Source Mean? 

Let’s start by defining open source. “Open source” refers to software that is publicly available rather than controlled by the original programmers. Therefore it can be modified, copied, and shared with others. So in terms of an app builder, open source means users can easily access, use, and modify the code of the builder. However, open source doesn’t mean that you have to know how to code; they can still be low code or no code platforms. The concept of open source initiatives is simply just to embrace collaboratively, an open-dialogue, and transparency when it comes to development.

No Code or Low Code… What’s the Difference? 

Defining the difference between no code and low code can be confusing. While these two concepts are similar, they are not interchangeable. A no code app builder means no coding is required to use the app platform and there is likely no option to change the code. Low code means there is no coding required to use the app platform, but you can make changes to the existing code or bring in your own code if you want. Both options will help someone with no coding experience build an app, but low code platforms allow for a little more flexibility when building an app.

Can It Build Any App? 

When we say “app builder”, what are we really talking about? Are we talking about all apps? Just native mobile apps? Just Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)? Technically the term app builder can refer to any and all of those things because they are all apps. You can use an open source no code app builder to build any kind of app, you just have to know what your options are. They include:

  • Native mobile apps: Apps downloaded from the app store. They are compatible with the hardware of a smartphone and can access features like the phone’s camera and geolocation. However, native mobile apps are declining in popularity, and the future appears to be straying away from these classic apps.
  • Web apps: Web apps are like glorified web pages. They are still considered mobile apps, and (if done correctly) are built with a mobile-first mindset. A great example is Google Docs.
  • Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): PWAs combine everything that is great about native mobile apps and web apps into one, easy to use, mobile experience. PWAs are run through a secure web connection, installable to the home screen, and avoid the dreaded app store download. Overall, this means they work faster, take up less space, and drive higher adoption.

So instead of going out and just looking for any old app builder, try looking for “PWA builder” or “web app builder” (you can look for a native mobile app builder if you want, but it will just lead you to an iOS or Android developer that will charge you way too much money).

Now that we have broken that down, I think we can confidently say that an open source no code app builder refers to a platform that is publicly available, doesn’t require any coding experience to use, and can build a PWA or web app or native mobile app. Sound like something you’re interested in? Then why waste any more time. Create a free Lumavate account today, and get started building your first PWA.