No-code instruments are gaining more and more popularity, completely changing the world of programming. The market is full of ready-made solutions for any user request.
Many options complicate the selection process, but a good comparative analysis can solve such a question.
This article provides you with a detailed analysis of two platforms - AppMaster.io and Adalo. We compared their capabilities, functionality, and affordability. Read and decide what suits you best.
What is AppMaster.io?
AppMaster.io is a no-code platform with automatic code generation and a full-fledged backend created by AI. The tool allows you to build server, native mobile, and web applications without writing code. The platform allows working with visual blocks and provides a convenient interface with a drag & drop builder.
AppMaster.io is a professional tool that allows you to build server, web, and native mobile applications with backend generation in the Go language, create databases running on PostgreSQL, build business processes, upload source code for further independent work.
With AppMaster.io, you can create ready-made applications, working with both the backend and the frontend without knowing any programming language.
What is Adalo?
Adalo is a no-code platform with broad functionality for building web and mobile applications. It is an all-in-one solution for app development that does not require writing code.
Adalo also allows you to work with the backend and the frontend using databases, integrations, and business logic. The tool offers a wide range of ready-made templates for creating mobile applications — a good option for a quick start.
Let's start our review with the database.
For the work of most applications, you first need to set up a database that will store all information.
The ability to create, integrate or use external databases and manage them is one of the key features that should be present in an application builder.
In Adalo, you will have the ability to create Collections — an analog of a database. Within each collection, you can add different properties. The platform only works with the main types of fields: text, number, boolean, date & time, date, image, file.
You can configure relationships between properties. In Adalo, these are standard database relationships: one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many.
On the left, there is a panel where you can edit tables. All necessary elements are grouped and presented as lists. This approach complicates the visual perception and presentation of relationships between tables.
Databases play a much more significant role in AppMaster.io. The platform has a Data Models Designer where you can create data models and work with field types. The list of supported field types in AppMaster.io is more extensive than in Adalo. In addition to the basic types, there are integer, boolean, string, enum, float, geo point, and many others.
All database models are represented as blocks. They can be freely moved around the workspace and arranged in the desired order. You can also add custom fields to each model. When creating a new field, you need to enter its name and description and specify additional settings.
When a new model is created, several fields are assigned by default: ID, creation date, update date, deletion date.
It also uses standard relationships between relational database tables: one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many.
The database in AppMaster.io is powered by PostgreSQL, a flexible and robust DBMS with high performance that can create, store and retrieve complex data structures.
The database designer simplifies and makes creating a database more convenient, which developers appreciate. All models and links between them are displayed in the workspace as a diagram. You can connect the models by simply stretching the arrow from one block to another.
Data must not only be stored but also processed. For this, you should be able to work with business logic.
Adalo allows you to work with the application logic in a certain way. In reviews, platform users often highlight the tool's simplicity, which limits the functionality of the platform. Sometimes it is not enough to build full-fledged business logic.
All available elements for working with logic are located in the Screens tab. You create a blank screen and add the necessary elements: buttons, icons, lists, images. All components are divided into groups for convenience: Navigations, Lists, Buttons, Simple, Forms & Fields.
You can add new screens, edit existing ones, assign actions to added components, and link them to data collections.
Adalo allows you to configure standard actions: Link, Data Changes, Create, Update, Delete. You can also create a custom action. It is based on the API, but this option is only available in the paid version.
Of course, in Adalo, you can create business logic for your application, but it will be pretty simple. For example, most applications built on the platform are delivery or e-commerce applications that do not require implementing complex business processes.
The AppMaster.io platform has a more professional approach to business logic. It is one of the most important advantages of the platform. Unlike similar tools, AppMaster.io allows you to build business processes of any complexity without limitations. With the platform's robust functionality, you can create a full-fledged flexible backend without a single line of code.
In the business processes editor, processes are built using blocks. Blocks are interconnected using connectors that specify how operations are performed, and data is processed. Each block can contain both an atomic operation and complex logic. And each business process can represent a block of another process.
Every process has start & end blocks by default. Business process blocks resemble a flowchart. Each business process block has two types of connectors:
- flow_connection — execution flow connector, describes the queue of blocks (which one to execute after which);
- var_connection — variable connector, describes which variable to take from where.
Business processes by location are divided into three categories:
- backend business processes — compiled into source code in the Go language, executed in a server application;
- mobile application business processes — delivered to mobile applications and executed in them (Swift for iOS, on Kotlin for Android).
As a result, you build complex logic, directing it however you like. Everything is visualized and presented in blocks that can be easily moved. You will have the whole process in front of your eyes, and you will be able to track its directions by moving the blocks for your convenience.
With AppMaster.io, you can implement any functionality, including the creation of chatbots, blockchains, the development of corporate services for any custom requests.
Integrations and API
When creating an application, you often need to get data from other sources. For example, to find out the weather forecast or stock charts. Then there is a need to connect third-party services.
Adalo allows you to extend the functionality through Zapier, Integromat, Airtable, and External API. Working with API makes this task much easier: connecting different services and developing exciting solutions. The functionality is called External Collections, which works through the API. Each collection allows you to configure one of five endpoint actions:
- Get All Records
- Get One Record
- Create a Record
- Update a Record
- Delete a Record
Each action has a method (GET, POST, PUT, PATCH, or DELETE) and a URL.
Through Zapier, you can integrate applications with many services: social networks, task tracking services, tools for email automation, and many more. Adalo claims that there are over 1500 services available for integration.
In AppMaster.io, additional functionality can be added using built-in modules or an external API request editor.
The list of modules grows with the platform's development, but their main advantage is that each of them can be added in just one click.
External API allows you to create expanded projects by easily connecting various third-party services with an open API.
AppMaster.io works with endpoints. All endpoints are divided into folders depending on the data they work with. For example, all endpoints working with mobile applications are located in the Mobile Applications folder.
In addition to system endpoints, you can create your own. AppMaster.io allows you to create several types of API endpoints:
- API for accessing the backend from the web interface and third-party systems;
- webhooks for receiving notifications from third-party systems;
You can select a business process with the necessary data and configure middleware for each type.
Adalo is suitable for creating web and native mobile applications. The paid plan allows you to adapt your projects to Android and iOS systems. You generate a project build-file and upload it to the App Store or Play Market.
Popular types: delivery apps, online catalogs, booking systems. You can find more examples on the Showcase page.
AppMaster.io opens up opportunities for creating more-complex digital solutions, including internal products (CRM, ERP, training programs, etc.), native mobile applications, web applications, and server applications requiring more complex business logic.
Web applications are built on Vue2 with automatic binding to the generated backend. Mobile apps are created with native APMS framework using Swift (for iOS) and Kotlin (for Android).
It is enough to publish mobile applications once in Google Play or App Store. All subsequent updates will be instantly displayed in the application without re-publishing to the store; you only need to re-publish the backend.
Each application type has its editor. Let's consider each of them in more detail.
The Mobile application designer is tightly integrated with other platform parts and uses the same data models, business processes, endpoints, and modules as web applications.
There are lists of screens, UI components, and widgets on the left part that can be moved and added to the desired screen. On the right, you will find the settings for the selected item.
The Web application designer is designed to create admin panels and Single Page Web Applications (SPAs), such as customer portals.
You can place new pages in the Main menu block to form the navigation bar. In the Application components block, you can place hidden elements to call them from any part of the application. These can be modal windows or nested pages. The header and footer will be visible on all pages. You can place here components that should be visible to users at all times. The central zone of the workspace is designed to contain the content and components of the page.
Adalo allows publishing mobile apps to Google Play and Apple Store. You can use Adalo subdomain or custom domain for web applications if you have one. To use a custom domain for publishing, you need to activate the paid Adalo plan.
AppMaster.io offers multiple publishing options - you can use AppMaster Cloud, any third-party cloud, or a personal server. Mobile apps can be published directly to the Apple Store and Google Play. What's more, you can create multiple deployment plans for development, pre-production, and production. Availability of deployment plans varies by subscription plan. You can also export the source code if you stop using the platform.
Adalo is perfect for those who are not familiar with programming. Freelancers, startups, hobbyists mostly use it. It doesn't require too much time to get started and finish the project. So it is perfect for small businesses to quickly turn the idea into a product and create an MVP.
AppMaster.io is primarily designed for business users and complex technical solutions that require more reliable and robust resources. The platform is actively used by large enterprises that need to implement custom solutions for workflow automatization and optimization.
The platform is also suitable for studios specializing in no-code development, freelance developers, startups, and people who are passionate about programming.
The tool is more sophisticated than Adalo and is equipped with professional tools to create a wide range of products.
Both tools have an intuitive interface and user-friendly builders. You can see and configure all elements of the future application in real-time.
To place the desired element and component in Adalo, you can drag and drop them to the desired location. There is a convenient navigation panel in the left part of the window where most of the settings are located. By selecting an element, you access its parameters for more detailed customization of the visual and functional parts.
AppMaster.io also has a navigation bar. Using a fixed menu, you quickly access sections such as modules, business logic, web and mobile application designers, endpoints, databases.
In application designers, component panels and their settings are separated, which makes the interaction more convenient provides a clear separation between elements and settings.
However, both tools work with visual modeling, which is the main advantage of no-code platforms.
Adalo is considered to be a simple tool. You can start creating right away, mainly because the tool's functionality is limited and does not take much time to learn. It will take you no more than an hour to get started. This amount of time will be enough to explore the platform's possibilities and get started.
The toolbar is intuitive and not overloaded so that a beginner will figure it out quickly.
You will probably spend more time observing and learning AppMaster.io. The complexity of AppMaster.io is due to the functional diversity and higher level of the developed products. The tool offers many different features and gives you more control over the development process. The business process editor is just one of those components of the platform that requires a lot of time and attention.
For a user who is not familiar with the basics of programming, the process of working with AppMaster.io will seem complicated. It will take a tech-savvy user much less time to figure out the processes and get started.
Both tools have a detailed knowledge base with video tutorials and communities to connect with other developers and authors of the platforms.
Adalo has three subscription plans. The first option is free and is mainly used to explore and test the product. It has limitations of 50 lines of data per application and the ability to use only the Adalo subdomain for deployment. The other two plans cost $50 and $200 per month. Features and functionality expand as the plan changes, but the free package is unlikely to be enough to create a good product. But you can test the tool and decide if it suits you.
AppMaster.io offers four subscription plans. It doesn't have a free plan, but the starter package costs $5/month. Compared to the free plan of Adalo, which only has 50 database records available, AppMaster.io offers 10,000 records for only $5. It gives you a lot more features for a relatively low price. You can expand the chosen plan by adding different options without changing the package.
There is an enterprise plan where you can request a custom price depending on the functionality provided in the package.
Before you subscribe to one of the plans, you can test and explore the platform — a free trial period of 14 days is provided upon registration on the platform. During the trial period, you get access to most of the functionality. You can also take part in the beta testing and share your opinion
Adalo: limited functionality that makes it impossible to create more complex products but makes it easy to understand the tool itself.
AppMaster.io: broad functionality and the ability to create projects of any complexity, which requires more time to learn the platform.
Adalo: allows you to create applications with simple logic. It significantly reduces the number of applications that can be created and requires the use of solutions and services outside the platform more often.
AppMaster.io: allows you to work with complex business logic, making it possible to implement absolutely any solution within the platform.
Adalo: offers three plans, one of which is free but provides limited access to the tool's functionality. It is better to purchase the most expensive package ($200).
AppMaster.io: offers more flexibility despite not being the cheaper option. For enterprises, there is a plan where you can request a specific price depending on the options provided. It is also possible to purchase additional options separately without changing the current plan or to assemble your plan.