What is App Development? (and How to do App Development Without Coding)

Mobile apps have grown up. 

A few years ago, there was something of a goldrush among businesses to get a native app developed and launched on digital storefronts. 

Today? Things have changed a bit. 

Brands have realised that investing in bespoke app development is simply too costly and, often, presents too many hoops for an average customer to jump through. It’s true that websites are easier and quicker for consumers, but they’re often not as feature-rich as a fully-fledged mobile app. Offering customers a mobile app is practically essential for businesses, but it has to be done in a way that’s cost- and time-effective. 

So how do brands strike the balance? The answer is no-code app development

If you’re unfamiliar with the no-code movement and how it can liberate and democratise app development, this guide’s for you. 

Let’s get started. 

What is app development?

What is app development? 

There was a time when having a mobile app was something of a luxury for a business. Now, it’s practically a necessity. 

With 3.8 billion smartphone owners in the world, it’s no longer really a choice: if you want to reach your complete audience, you need a mobile app. 

App development is the process of making this happen. 

Today, it broadly breaks down into three different types:

  • Native app development is the process of coding an application which will only run on a certain device. For example, you could develop an iOS or Android app, but neither would run on the other device.

  • HTML5 app development takes advantage of web technologies to create app experiences within mobile browsers. This makes them cross-device by design.

  • Hybrid app development is essentially the same as HTML5 web app development, except that the app is “wrapped” in a layer of app code so it can be published to the various app stores. 

But, as we mentioned above, developing a bespoke native application for a device can be incredibly resource-intensive, in terms of both time and money. To make app development a reality for most businesses, there needs to be a better way to create cross-platform mobile apps with a “develop once” mindset. Or, at least an option to remove the hassle of hiring an entire development team and investing thousands in the process. 

This is where no-code development steps into the spotlight. 

How to develop apps without writing a line of code 

No-code app development, as the name suggests, is a form of app development without coding.

It allows non-technical users to create mobile apps which are just as engaging and useful as those created by developers — without the need to write any code. 

No-code app development tools usually use visual editors to enable drag-and-drop functionality, meaning it’s simple for practically anyone to build a beautiful app from scratch. Think of the type of workflow you’d see in a photo editor like PhotoShop: you can rearrange buttons, text, entry fields, and preview it all without fiddling around with any technical code. 

That opens up the entire process, and makes it much more affordable, as most no-code tools can be used for a low monthly fee. 

So what are the best no-code tools you can use to create your own mobile app?

5 of our favourite no-code tools for developing mobile apps 

App development might sound complicated, and it is, but the joy of no-code is that the really complicated stuff is done for you. 

Just glance at the most popular no-code tools and app builders and you’ll see that these platforms are designed to get you up-and-running as quickly as possible. 

With that in mind, we’ve picked out 5 of our favourite no-code tools to help you develop your very own mobile app without code knowledge.

1. Glide

If you’ve ever put together a spreadsheet, you can create an app with Glide. 

Could it be that simple? It really could. With Glide, you simply plug in an existing spreadsheet and it builds an app right on top. Look up data, make calculations, create, edit, or delete entries — it’s all possible. When you think about it, all apps are built on databases, and what is a database if not a spreadsheet? That’s the logic behind Glide, but it really comes to life with the visual UI elements. Glide comes complete with hundreds of templates for any use case you can imagine. 

Prefer something more bespoke? Use the drag-and-drop editor to create your own design language — it’s totally up to you. 

Glide apps interface

2. Bravo Studio

Bravo Studio is somewhat unique in the world of no-code apps because it bridges the gap between native and web apps. Fully integrated with Figma design studio, Bravo allows you to import the designs for your app then seamlessly connect them to a database via REST API. 

The best part? Once these simple steps are completed, your “Bravorized” app is ready to be published to either Android or iOS app stores. No need to hire an entire development team, no need to wade through app publishing red tape — just sign up for Bravo Studio, and make the rest a breeze.  

3. Bubble

We couldn’t talk about no-code app builders without mentioning Bubble. Unlike other tools and platforms, which are designed to create very specific types of applications, Bubble takes a more holistic approach to app design.

It’s the perfect way to create a hybrid application, which works in both web browsers on desktop or on mobile devices. 

Bubble has been built from the ground up to help creators prototype, launch, iterate, and scale their apps. You can even expand the functionality of your final product with an ever-growing library of third-party integrations, including Facebook, Google Maps, Slack, Zapier, and more. 

4. Xano

No-code platforms tend to focus on the front-end user interface, and for good reason — it’s the part that users will interact with most. But every app also needs a back-end. 

The beauty of Xano is that building a no-code back-end isn’t too different from building a front-end. It’s all about designing logic-based pathing so that the platform knows what to do with different pieces of information, then storing them in a database. Talking of databases, Xano uses a PostgreSQL database to deliver the ultimate in scalability, so businesses of any size can use Xano to power their no-code products. 

Xano also comes complete with a ready-to-use API, making it easy to link it up with any front-end product to complete the digital daisy chain. 

5. Thunkable

If you’re looking for a dedicated mobile app without writing code, Thunkable is the way to get there. 

We’ve already talked about the different types of no-code app, and Thunkable is able to cater to all three of them. It’s a visual drag-and-drop app creator that can produce native iOS apps, native Android apps, or web apps to be used in a browser. The platform uses a system of ‘blocks’ to represent components which you can chop and change to create the app you want to build. 

In all three cases, you can either start on a template and tweak it, or begin with a totally blank canvas and create something entirely from scratch. 

Save time and money with the power of no-code

Now that you’ve discovered just how easy it can be for anyone to develop an app without code, the only question is, what will you build? 

At NoCode.Tech, we’re here to help you answer that question. 

Hit the ground running with expert tuition, discover more than 200 no-code tools and app builders, and learn how to use them with on-demand video lessons.

Ready to get started? Become a member today and start building your dream — without code. 

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