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10 Cool Tools To Build Apps Without Code
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Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2016 | 5:35:18 PM
Let's build 10 apps together!
Wow, this is a great list of services I haven't heard of before now! I expected to see a few familiar brands, but I saw none. If I had a reason to rapidly build an app, I would certainly consider some of these platforms. I'm always so impressed with the quality of many of these app builders that don't require code.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2016 | 1:28:43 PM
Re: Let's build 10 apps together!
@Michelle, thanks for your comment: I'm always pleased when I can bring companies or services you aren't familiar with to your attention.

I've used one of the tools fairly often over the years (FileMaker) and I'm looking forward to spending time with the others. As you say, it's amazing just how good the application produced can be -- faster CPUs are an application framework's best friends!
WallisB562
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WallisB562,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2016 | 3:07:20 AM
What about line of business apps?
These are great! I would like to see something like this for building line of business applications. We use Warewolf for doing this - little to no coding required, all pretty much drag and drop for creating microservices.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2016 | 1:47:55 PM
Re: What about line of business apps?
@WallisB562, thanks for the suggestion -- I'm always looking for article ideas.

What do you like about Warewolf? Is it something you would suggest for other companies?
WallisB562
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WallisB562,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2016 | 1:55:46 AM
Re: What about line of business apps?
Hi @Curt Franklin
We like the simplicity to use, there is some learning curve (about a half day for a skilled developer to become completely familiar with it), but after that you can get a lot of the repetative, heavy lifting out of the way and get on with the solution.
Definitely suggest it to companies looking to get more efficiency and to move away from a monolithic architecture.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/15/2016 | 4:15:57 PM
Re: What about line of business apps?
Thanks for that, @WallisB. I'll definitely have to take a closer look!
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2016 | 9:13:01 AM
Canvas
Curt, 

Thanks for the nice list of cool tools. I am surprised there are so many tools to buid apps without code. Not that I think it's a bad thing, but just surprised. I also imagine there are plenty more, which would be signaling a trend. 

You ask if we have used any of these platforms. I am not sure about Canvas. Time ago I downloaded a "Canvas" which I sadly have to confess I never used and went forgotten, just like so many apps I have downloaded. :( 

I checked the Website from the link you provide, but I couldn't remember. I should check. It all sounds like it's something I could have downloaded when I was frenetically wanting to transition to a more paperless life --something that, to my regret, I haven't accomplished so yet. 

-Susan 

 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2016 | 1:51:33 PM
Re: Canvas
@Susan, to me the amazing thing isn't that there are these 10 no-code app builders -- it's that there are so many more. I often think that the easiest way for me to do research on a topic like this is to publish an article with a small list: Every company not included on the list will be in touch with me within a few days!

I got my start doing traditional programming but I love some of these tools. As an example, I built my database knowledge writing ISAM and VSAM routines using punched cards on a mainframe. I learned a lot about database internals, but I don't miss those days when I'm putting a form together on Filemaker!
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
6/18/2016 | 3:26:40 PM
Re: Canvas
Curt, 

Yes. And you have to consider that maybe some companies don't contact you to let you know about the list. Then you have to imagine that there could be even more since there are so many app builders. 

-Susan 
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2016 | 12:47:02 PM
Life Cycle
It will be interesting to see how they support backwards compatibility as time goes on and they create new versions and functionality. 

Also a little fuzzy to me where all this code is kept when apps generated from a phone and database is automatically created. Simple when you have one user using app but what about 100 users? And one of them decides to make a little tweak?

Third question would be what tools can read these "databases" if you need a report? SQL? ODBC drivers? REST API's?

As you hinted at, line gets very blurry comparing things like this and what we traditionally think of as IDE/WYSIWYG. For example, something like Sencha Architect generating Extjs/Touch code. 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2016 | 1:57:55 PM
Re: Life Cycle
@TerryB you bring up some great questions, here.

When it comes to sharing the application you build, it depends on the system. Some, like Filemaker, have a server edition and a combination of free mobile app and web client, so the system looks a lot like the traditional client/server architecture under the hood.

Other systems, like QuickBase, are all in the cloud. The application you create and the database that supports it are both in the cloud, to be accessed by any folks who have access.

In general, there's a distinction between the edit/create function and the user function so you can keep the two separate. I can't imagine a database app that allowed anyone to change the code!

As for exporting data to use with a third-party report generator, that's highly variable. Some systems will happily export a file, others are riding on a SQL database that you can access from any app you'd like, and some are closed systems. It's definitely a question to ask aggressively when you're in the purchase cycle!
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2016 | 12:55:16 PM
Filemaker
I was actually considering downloading Filemaker.  Has anyone else tried it?  Or any of the other tools on this list, for that matter?  And able to offer insight/opinions/advice?
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
6/14/2016 | 10:53:34 AM
Re: Filemaker
@curtis -- great list. Filemaker was the only "old" application - if its the same one that was on the MAC years ago. Worked great then, btw.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2016 | 2:04:49 PM
Re: Filemaker
@jastroff, you're absolutely right -- Filemaker has been around forever. Filemaker 15 is a much different animal in terms of capabilities than those old-time Mac applications, though: It's a serious tool that's still pretty darned easy to use.

Now, if I could just my flying toasters back...
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
6/14/2016 | 3:03:25 PM
Re: Filemaker
Glad Filemaker has kept up -- can't think of anything else around that long except WORD, etc. Yes, I miss the flying toasters as well -- 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2016 | 2:00:06 PM
Re: Filemaker
@Joe, I've used Filemaker fairly frequently during the last decade or so. I like it for my personal projects. It is massive overkill for many things (I miss their Bento product for simple database apps) but it will let you easily created very powerful tools for yourself or a company.
BruceB360
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BruceB360,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2016 | 1:50:26 PM
Surprised you didn't include Zoho Creator
Great list, and there were two I didn't know about, so thanks for the diligence. I'm surprised that you missed Zoho Creator, though. Zoho has a pile of tools for SaaS-type leanings, including CRM and so on, but one that seems to be under appreciated is Zoho Creator. It's very similar to Quickbase, in that you can quickly build data-centric apps around a simple form, and then customize and enhance as you need. I built a database system for a non-profit (via Taproot assignment) using Zoho, and then when it quickly gained steam, was pleasantly surprised at how powerful and feature-rich Creator turned out. I was able to build a rich application with many different views, reports and forms, tracking multiple parts of their business, and even include workflow capabilities, email notification and web forms. Zoho Creator was far more powerful than I originally thought, and since then I've now created dozens of applications solely within their toolchain. Best of all, they offer a free tier (up to 3 apps) that works perfectly for small businesses. This one should definitely be on your list for the next time...

Second, I would put a plug out for the Oracle Application Express (Apex). It's a RAD environment that is focused on building great Oracle-based applications. It's also free for up to 5GB (or 50GB? can't remember!) databases, using Oracle XE. Apex is the development tool, and is totally free. Anyhow, if you have on-prem needs and want a solid database, then Apex is an excellent option. You can keep it very simple, or go very deep, depending on your needs on both the UI and backend side. They have a very active support community as well, and ODTUG also sponsors an active training and forum-based community for Apex. It's a bit different from the other offerings in your list because it's more like Filemaker (from the perspective of on-prem hosting and app dev), but still something that many small businesses may find to be a perfect fit.

Thanks folks! -Bruce
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2016 | 2:02:47 PM
Re: Surprised you didn't include Zoho Creator
@Bruce, thanks for both of these suggestions!

I've covered Zoho Creator in the past and have covered Zoho since they launched. It is, indeed, a very good system. I've got absolutely nothing against them and look forward to covering them again in the future.

Thank you for the pointer to the Oracle tool. I'll have to take a closer look at it; I also want to explore whether SAP offers anything in this space. Perhaps I'll be able to do a comparison sometime soon.

Thanks again -- I really appreciate all the suggestions from my readers!
msanders85201
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msanders85201,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/16/2016 | 1:48:30 PM
Self 'programming' is great, until one has to support it
While the concept of these tools are good, how many can also help in the back end of area, such as data protection, DLP, patch support for the tool, etc.? Even in a small group, just wanting a report type output, the question of long term support, is it secure, etc is always present. In your opinion, how should these standard IT items get accomplished with these types of tools?
varese
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varese,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2016 | 11:50:34 AM
what about buzztouch
Has anyone ever heard of it/used it?
kthan804
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kthan804,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2016 | 5:01:14 PM
10 Cool Tools to Build Apps w/o code
Does anybody remember a company called Magic Software? They have been around a long time a I believe they merit inclusion in here as well.


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