LATEST NEWSAugust 22, 2021

No-Code And Low-Code Internal Tool Builders

Depending on your tech skills and possibilities, there are two approaches to internal tool building: with code and without code. The second option implies the use of an internal tool builder.

Although coding is much more flexible, the use of internal tools allows you to build the needed app faster, with less effort, and without spending all your budget on it.

Low-code internal tool builders comparison

What is an internal tool builder

An Internal tool is usually internally-facing software you build to automate or simplify some internal operations within your company. The main aim of creating internal tools is to automate microprocesses, increase your teams’ productivity, improve customer support and ticket management, etc.

An internal tool can be a CRM, a database GUI, an admin dashboard, and more. Since custom internal tools are always created with your business processes in mind, they outcompete ready-made general out-of-the-box solutions.

There’s a huge amount of no-code and low-code internal application builders available on the market today. Let’s see the main criteria you should pay attention to when choosing the right one for your team.

Criteria for choosing an internal tool builder

  • Interface intuitiveness.

How easy is it to onboard and start building your internal application within this platform? How pleasant is it to use this internal tool builder?

  • Responsive design.

Does a created internal tool automatically fit different screen sizes (laptop, tablet, mobile)?

  • Predefined building components and templates.

Are there ready-made UI components you can use not to create your app from scratch?

  • Third-party integration.

Does this internal tool builder integrate with data sources like third-party APIs, databases, business apps, plugins?

  • Writing custom code.

Can you extend your internal tool functionality with custom code if needed?

  • Customer support level.

What support types does the internal tool builder vendor offer? Email support, community support, phone calls, video guides, etc.?

  • Available documentation.

How comprehensive and helpful are the tutorials and documentation the vendor provides their users?

  • Custom app branding.

Do you have an ability to create a white-label internal tool and brand it according to your corporate style guide? Is it a paid option?

  • App deployment and hosting.

Does this internal tool builder allow you to deploy and host your internal software?

  • Security

Where is your data stored? How secure is it?

  • Price

What is the price? Is it a monthly/yearly subscription? Do you have to pay for each developer, end-user, app?

Taking into account these criteria, we compiled a list of the most feature-rich internal tool builders you can try today.

1 – UI Bakery

UI Bakery interface

No free plan. Paid subscription starts from $7/month per end-user.

Key features based on the criteria:

  • Very intuitive drag-n-drop building interface.
  • A customizable Eva Design System – under the hood.
  • An unlimited number of internal application pages you can add.
  • Perfectly working automatic responsive design.
  • A great number of predefined layouts and UI components like Tables, Charts, Maps, Links, Inputs, Buttons, etc. Plus – you can create and use your own components.
  • growing library of ready-made app templates.
  • Almost limitless data connection and API integration capabilities with your own APIs, databases, third-party tools like Google Sheets, Airtable, Firebase, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Salesforce, Zapier, Stripe, and more.
  • Ability to add JavaScript code to modify your app.
  • Vibrant customer support (live chat, email support, community, onboarding online meetings, demo calls, webinars).
  • Tutorials, how-to’s, video guides available in the UI Bakery documentation.
  • App deployment & hosting either on UI Bakery or a custom domain – available at an affordable price.
  • 100% ensured data security: UI Bakery doesn’t store your data.
  • Very affordable price compared to the competitors.

Key weaknesses:

  • Custom app branding not available for free.
  • Not many ready-made templates yet.

2 – Retool

Retool interface

Offers a free plan. Paid subscription starts from $10/month per end-user.

Key features based on the criteria:

  • A convenient drag-and-drop building interface.
  • Predefine building blocks you can use not to start from scratch (Text, Input, Dropdown, Button, Wizard, and more). Plus – you can create custom components.
  • 40+ ready-made app templates.
  • Integration with databases, third-party APIs – PostgreSQL, Firebase, MongoDB, Stripe.
  • Custom JavaScript code support anywhere within your internal tool.
  • Vibrant support (community, support forum, email, live chat).
  • Very comprehensive documentation including how-to guides, FAQs, etc.
  • High security level: Retool doesn’t store even a piece of your data.
  • Rather affordable price.

Key weaknesses:

  • Bad responsive design and annoying modals.
  • White labeling is possible only within the most expensive plan.
  • Deployment is possible via Docker or Kubernetes only.

3 – Internal

Internal interface

Offers a free plan. Paid subscription starts from $25/month per user.

Key features based on the criteria:

  • A convenient drag-and-drop UI builder.
  • Predefined building blocks like Tables, Inputs, Texts.
  • Ability to connect with data sources – PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB, Stripe, etc.
  • Ability to add piece of JavaScript code to modify your business logic.
  • Quite comprehensive educational documentation with various how-to’s.
  • SOC 2 Type II certified platform ensuring high security level.

Key weaknesses:

  • Email support only (other support options are paid).
  • A limited number of data sources you can connect and business apps you can integrate with.
  • Only up to 5 users allowed to work on the project within a free plan.
  • Very few ready-made templates.

4 – JetAdmin

JetAdmin interface

Offers a free plan. Paid subscription starts from $24/month per end-user.

Key features based on the criteria:

  • A simple drag-n-drop UI building interface.
  • 50+ pre-built UI components for accelerating internal tool building process. Plus, you can create your own components using HTML/CSS, Javascript, React, Angular, Vue.
  • In-built team collaboration feature.
  • Third-party integration with such tools as PostgreSQL, Firebase, GraphQL, MySQL, Google Cloud Storage, SendGrid, etc.
  • Live chat, email support.
  • Structured and comprehensive platform documentation.
  • Automatic app deployment.

Key weaknesses:

  • Slow bug fixing and customer support.
  • Custom domain available only on a paid basis.
  • App branding available only on a paid basis.
  • 2FA available only within the most expensive plan.
  • The necessity to pay for each viewer, not only editor.

5 – DronaHQ

No free plan. Paid subscription starts from $100/month per 2 admins.

Key features based on the criteria:

  • A rather comfortable drag-and-drop internal tool builder.
  • Mobile responsive design.
  • 150+ predefined controls like Texts, Toggles, Buttons, Inputs, Charts, Dashboards, etc.
  • 24+ ready-made web app templates for various use cases.
  • Third-party integration with databases (MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle), APIs (Airtable, Github, GMail, Freshdesk, Twilio, HubSpot).
  • Ability to add JS code at the API or Database response.
  • Active community support, live chat, email support.
  • ISO 27001 and SOC-II certified, including GDPR compliant.

Key weaknesses:

  • A very high price compared to competitors.
  • No educational documentation.
  • Custom app branding available only for $500/month or more.
  • Custom domain available only for $500/month or more.

Choosing a perfect one from a range

All the listed internal tool builders have their pros and cons. They vary in customization opportunities, price levels, data protection they can ensure, third-party integration capabilities, customer support level, and more.

Before you engage with a particular internal tool / internal database app builder, you’d better see and try all of them inside. Most of the internal tool builders we’ve mentioned either offer a free trial (UI Bakery, DronaHQ) or a forever-free plan (Retool, Internal, Jet Admin). Generally, such plans set limitations in the features you can try. However, you’ll still be able to get a foretaste of how comfortable it is for you to work within this or that internal tool building platform.

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