If you wanted to build an app 8 years ago, chances are youd need to hire an expensive developer or learn how to code. Both of these options are big drains on your money and your time.



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But in the last few years, weve seen the rise of the no-code, app builders. These platforms offer business owners and individuals the chance to create their own apps in a fraction of the time.

They use a pre-existing framework and widgets to allow users to move features and images around an empty app and construct one as they see fit. These drag and drop app builders are great for people who are building their first mobile app and need a helping hand to get their vision off the ground.    

Not a coach? Dont worry you can check out our list of drag-and-drop app builders suitable for any business idea here: The 7 best app maker platforms for any business idea

Where did drag and drop app builders come from?

The advent of the internet was the key spark that ignited the drag-and-drop revolution (If you can call it a revolution). Instant communication and knowledge sharing broke down the traditional boundaries people faced when collaborating.

With ideas being shared across continents and countries so rapidly, creative people needed quicker ways to get their ideas off the ground. No longer could industrious individuals wait days for a development team to deliver the first draft of an idea. People wanted to see the result fast, and they wanted to see their vision actualized in front of them.

Step in technology. Chasing the internet was a myriad of SaaS companies, all looking to help savvy entrepreneurs on a budget, who were willing to roll their sleeves up and build their products themselves.

Fast forward to today, and there are thousands of drag and drop SaaS companies, all helping business, entrepreneurs and individuals visualize and build their ideas.

So, where did it all begin?

WordPress, 2003, the beginning!

Before WordPress, if you wanted a website you needed to build it yourself. Or, pay someone quite a lot of money to do that for you. WordPress exploded onto the scene in 2003 and was the first tool you could use to build a website with no-code.

It wasnt quite drag-and-drop, like some of its competitors are, but it was the first step towards moving to development by dragging and not writing hundreds of lines of code!

Throw Shopify into the mix, which landed a year later, and you can see how the world was gearing itself towards more streamlined, automated ways of working.

More Software, more problems

After WordPress, the cat was out of the bag. Every software company under the sun was looking for ways to make peoples lives easier when it came to developing a business online.

Zapier, for example, was created to link different no-code, drag-and-drop platforms together. There was software being built to make the software that had been built even easier. Thats a head-scratcher.

As this trend continued it led to more and more, tools, platforms, and services being developed. Each specializes in solving a specific problem for consumers. Whether thats building a website, creating an app, or designing a poster.

Where are we now?

So, are there too many drag-and-drop app builders and platforms? Has all the demand and competition led to a decrease in quality as ambitious software companies try to cash in and make a quick buck?

We dont think so, it's true there are some less than stellar products out there but overall the increased competition has increased the standard of products on offer. Its also seen companies get a very niche in regards to what their drag-and-drop tools do.

If youre in the market for a drag and drop platform today, theres a wealth of different companies to choose from. By doing a thorough research and having a good understanding of the functionality you need from your app builder you will be able to find the perfect product to fit your needs.

Drag and drop app builder - advantages

 

There are many advantages to using drag-and-drop app builders that go beyond simply not having to write a line of code. Drag-and-drop app-building platforms are powerful tools that can help you scale your business quickly and cheaply. Weve listed the main advantages below:

No development team

Unlike traditional app development that requires you to work with a development agency or freelancer,  app building platforms let you get hands-on and create an app yourself.  

This means you have 100% control over your vision. You dont need to brief a team or work with people who might not share your passion for your app. Bringing a lot of other people in on your idea can also lead to conflict and other team members trying to stamp their own mark on your product. Building an app yourself avoids this issue.  

Quicker than a development team

Using an app builder also means you wont have to wait whilst an external team builds something for you. You can set your own deadlines and work at your own pace.

Communication is the biggest drain on your time when working with external developers. Briefs and revisions can eat away at your productivity and cause a simple project to become a nightmare.

Cheaper than a development team

The average cost of a simple app can climb into the tens of thousands! Dont believe us? Check out this article we wrote about the cost of app development. A simple app could cost upwards of $100,000 and that price doesnt include the continued maintenance and updates.

Freelancers and development teams are out of reach for most startups. But you can get around this financial block by using an app-building platform. Most drag-and-drop app builders have several feature-based pricing bands for users. So you have the flexibility to choose a price that works for you. A subscription to an app builder platform can be in the range of $80-$5000 a month so show around.

Easy to grasp User interface

Drag-and-drop app builders are easy to learn and even easier to master. They are built for beginner app developers and are geared towards people with little technical knowledge. This makes them super intuitive and easy to use.

Subscription model means you get constant support

Most drag-and-drop app development platforms operate on a subscription basis. This means you pay monthly to use their platform. This also gives you access to their support team and platform updates for no extra cost.

If youve hired a development team or freelancer each app update or support ticket could cost you extra.

Drag and drop app builders - Disadvantages

There are some disadvantages to drag-and-drop app builders. They can be temperamental if you don't stay on top of your admin and when you're the only person working on the app builder you've got no one to turn to if things break.   Weve listed them below.

The builder can be limiting

Using an app platform doesnt give you the flexibility of working with an app development team. A developer can build you a bespoke app from scratch. They arent constrained by the limitations of the drag-and-drop tools. This is really useful if you have a very complex app that needs a lot of unique features.

The easy solution to this problem is to research the right app builder platform for you. Most drag-and-drop app builders focus on serving one niche or business type. If you find an app platform that is designed for your business model youll find that the builder isnt limiting but liberating.

No one will help you market your app

Using a no-code app builder is a solo mission. What you see if what you get. A platform to build an app. When you partner with app agencies they will often factor app marketing and promotion into their fee. Or at least mention it to you when they produce a roadmap for your app.

If youre happy to do your own marketing then this isnt a problem (If youre using a drag-and-drop app builder to create an app, then marketing it will be easy). But if the thought of scheduling Facebook ads, email marketing, and ASO sends a cold shiver down your spine it might be worth investing in a professional...

Or using our resources to research your marketing strategies.

Need some app marketing tips? Check out this article: 8 tips for getting more app sales

What do a drag and drop app builder look like in action?

Drag and drop app builders are powerful tools that let you select a template for your app and use tried and tested frameworks to ensure your content is successful. 

 

You have full control over how you label and arrange your content. You can decide how your users interact with and remember your lessons.

 

You can see what your app will look like whilst youre building it. If something doesnt look right you can simply drag, drop, and replace it in real-time. You dont need to worry about waiting on developers to make the changes youve asked for.

 

Drag and drop app builders put powerful tools at your fingertips that are straight out of the box. You dont need to struggle with code or formatting issues. Its as simple as picking a widget and building your app.

 

You can add, remove, drop, and replace widgets to get the right look and feel for your app. You can play around with styles and get things just right before your app goes live. WYSIWYG app builders put the vision for your app into your hands.

Conclusion

App builders are a great way to create an app quickly and cheaply. If youre new to app development, or you dont need an app thats super complicated, an app-building platform can give you a solution immediately.

If you need your app to have various features and a lot of complexity it may be better to look for other solutions. Just make sure you thoroughly research all your options. Youll be surprised at how powerful drag-and-drop app builders are.

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