Want to build an internal tool or a client portal for your team? Sick of wrangling with Excel sheets and waiting for your IT department to deliver? You can build your own custom software without needing any technical skills or learning to code: whether that's whipping up dashboards, automating workflows, controlling access to data and plenty else besides.
When considering a no-code tool, we always recommend taking 4 key factors into account:
Ease of use. How easy is it for a non-technical person with no coding skills to use this tool to make apps? Is there a big learning curve? Can someone who has a basic grasp of Microsoft Office also get a grasp of this tool? Or does it require a lot of up-front training? This is perhaps the most important factor to consider.
Flexibility. How much flexibility does this tool have in terms of what you can build? Can it handle complex decision-making behind the scenes and allow you to bring any app idea to life without any coding at all?
We award extra points here for tools which allow you to integrate with other tools for extra functionality, or let you add your own custom code. Consider whether or not all of your desired functionality is supported by a tool before you use it.
Design freedom. Does the tool give you full freedom to bring a design to life? Not all no-code tools have complete flexibility. Remember, this can be a double-edged sword. If you're not confident in your design abilities, you may wish to pick a tool with less design freedom, as often these tools will set beautiful defaults for you.
Glide is a great example of this. You can customise the branding colours and the order of components, but Glide ensures your design stays looking like a proper app appropriate for either the iOS or Android platform.
Cost-effectiveness. Simply, how affordable is this tool? Remember, this can get complex. Some tools will start with a trial while you build, but charge you to publish your app live. Other tools have specific limits, such as a certain number of records in your database or not being able to integrate other tools into your app without paying extra. As long as you can afford the lower tier plans and have a solid monetisation for your app, don't worry too much about scaling or long term costs as often you'll have income in future to supplement these.
Remember: A low score in any one category does not mean the tool is bad. For example, a tool with a high ease of use, but low flexibility and design freedom could simply indicate that this tool is incredible easy to use and perfect for a beginner. It could also mean the tool is focused on being the best tool on the market for a very specific type of app, like a portal or marketplace.
Make sure you check out our individual reviews for more information.
Not sure which tool is right for you?
Want to know which platform is the best? Check our buying criteria here then select a tool from the list below