The app development area has evolved dramatically from a time-consuming and costly endeavor to a streamlined and accessible process. AppMaster's app builder has emerged as an innovative solution for creating apps easily and efficiently in 2023. This platform caters to experienced developers and beginners, simplifying the app creation process for brand promotion, community engagement, or product sales.
We will guide you through the benefits and features of AppMaster's app builder, providing insights on creating a custom application that saves time, money, and effort in today's fast-paced tech environment and answering the question of how to create an app in 2023.
Create your app with AppMaster app builder
AppMaster distinguishes itself from other no-code platforms by emphasizing the creation of comprehensive projects rather than isolated applications. Each project can encompass numerous server apps, mobile apps, and web applications, all working in concert.
The primary advantage of utilizing projects within AppMaster lies in the robust interconnectivity of the applications. This enables both mobile apps and web applications to readily access the backend, with pre-configured methods available for seamless integration.
Any modifications made to the backend, whether in the web app or mobile app, are automatically disseminated throughout the entire project. This eliminates the necessity for manual updates and fosters a streamlined app development process. Let's see how to create an app in steps:
Step 1: Registration and creation of Workspace
To initiate a new project, users are required to register with the AppMaster platform. This can be achieved by visiting studio AppMaster. Users can opt to register through a social media account or the traditional email method, creating a password in the process. To ensure a secure working environment, we will ask for email verification and phone number verification in order to enable two-factor authentication.
Upon successful account creation, a Workspace is automatically generated for the user. The Workspace serves as a dedicated area where multiple projects can be developed. This process is seamlessly automated, requiring no manual input from the user.
To create their first project, users simply click the "Create Project" button, input the project's name, and an empty, pre-configured project will be available within moments. By default, each new project includes a primary backend application (the server application) and a web application for management purposes, known as the admin panel.
Step 2: Creating database tables
The most expeditious and effective method for developing an application within the AppMaster platform begins with the creation of data models. These models primarily function as database tables with which your application interacts and enable the creation of data structures containing grouped fields that can be utilized across various sections of your project.
To initiate this process, navigate to the "Backend" segment and access the "Database" option, which will reveal a visual editor. Utilize the right mouse button to create tables, incorporate fields within these tables, and designate field types. If required, establish connections between multiple models. To achieve this, hover the mouse cursor over the edge of the designated table, and once the circle illuminates, drag it to another table, and the link will be automatically created. By default, a one-to-one relationship is generated.
To modify the relationship type, right-click on the connection and choose the "Edit" option, allowing for alterations to one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many relationships. Upon completion of the data model and table creation for the future database, be sure to save the DBMS schema. Locate the green "Save" button in the top-right corner and click it, which will automatically save all models and pre-generate logic for database interaction.
Step 3: Creating and setting up a business process
The subsequent stage in developing your application involves establishing the business logic. To accomplish this, navigate to the "Backend" section, where you will find a subsection titled "Business Processes." Here, you can view a catalog of business processes; however, by default, no business processes are displayed, as system business processes are not shown.
To generate a new business process, click on the "Create Business Process" button and assign it a name. Please note that specific restrictions apply to the naming of business processes. Refrain from using special characters, as the name will be utilized during code generation. Additionally, it is advantageous to provide comprehensive descriptions for each business process, enabling you to effortlessly comprehend the purpose of your business process in the future.
Upon establishing a new business process, a canvas will be presented to you, featuring two essential blocks: start and end. This approach to business processes closely mirrors traditional programming, where a function (in this case, the business process) commences with a start block and concludes with an end block.
The start and end blocks are integral components of the process and cannot be removed. However, the variables within them can be altered, and there is currently no limit to the number of variables permitted. By incorporating new variables into the start block, you create incoming variables that will be transferred to your business process for processing. Similarly, in the end block, you can introduce outgoing variables, which represent the data or results that your business process will yield upon completion.
To begin constructing your business logic, direct your attention to the left pane of the business process editor. This panel houses an array of available blocks that can be incorporated into the canvas. To add a block to the canvas, simply left-click and drag the desired block onto the workspace.
The block will be automatically generated. Each business process block contains multiple connector types, which serve as connection points. The first type, flow connectors, are represented by bold blue arrows and dictate the order in which blocks are executed within the logic sequence.
The second type, variable connectors or "var-connectors," come in two forms: incoming and outgoing. Incoming var-connectors are situated to the left of the block and pass variables into the block for processing. Outgoing var-connectors, located to the right of the block, represent output variables that describe the results of the block's logical execution.
Upon completing the arrangement of blocks on the canvas, and establishing connections between Flow and VAR connectors, your business process will be prepared for preservation. To save your work, select the "Save" button located in the top right corner, and the business process will be automatically stored. Your application might necessitate a limited number of business processes, ranging from one to two, or it could require a more extensive array. There is no technical limitation to the number of business processes you can create.
Additionally, it is feasible to invoke one business process from within another, which proves beneficial when you must repeatedly execute shared logic across numerous scenarios. To accomplish this, develop a distinct business process and save it. While editing a new business process, the previously created one will be accessible as a block within the left pane and can also be incorporated into the canvas.
Step 4: Create endpoints
Although the data models previously established and the initial business processes suffice for the server application to function and perform certain logic, these applications are typically not utilized in isolation, as they lack interaction with user interfaces such as web and mobile applications. To facilitate communication between the server application and external systems, it is necessary to create endpoints.
Endpoints serve as unique connection points enabling remote clients, including web and mobile applications or any other system seeking access to the server application, to invoke specific functions. To create an endpoint, navigate to the "Endpoints" section of the backend and initiate a new REST API type endpoint. As the designation implies, this endpoint will conform to standard RESTful principles and employ JSON for data transmission.
For the endpoint to function effectively, it must be linked to a corresponding business process. Once a business process is selected, the system will automatically associate the endpoint with the chosen process, incorporating all incoming and outgoing variables. Consequently, when the logic is invoked over the network, the server application anticipates user input variables and provides corresponding output variables, facilitating data exchange with each request.
Each endpoint features a limited set of configurable settings designed to customize the behavior of that specific endpoint. One crucial setting is the Middleware, which refers to the software layer executed with every request made to the endpoint. Typically, Middleware houses all service-related functions.
In the given an example, there is a Middleware component called "authorization." This component serves to verify whether the current user is logged in. We strongly advise against leaving endpoints without proper authorization, meaning the middleware should not be disabled. Moreover, it is crucial to meticulously select user groups with access to each endpoint.
By minimizing the number of endpoints with insufficient authorization within your application, you effectively reduce the risk of exploitation by malicious actors. Once the Endpoint is fully configured, don't forget to click the "Save" button so that your backend's Endpoint is saved. At this point, the backend setup is almost complete, and we can finally move on to our web and mobile.
Step 5: Create a web application
In order to develop a new web application, please navigate to the "Web Applications" section and select the "Create" button. Within your account, you may have the option to create either a blank web application or one based on a template. For this example, we will proceed with a template-free application. Upon creation, you will be directed to the web application editor.
On the left-hand side, you will find the navigation panel, which includes elements for the canvas, layout settings, and page configurations. The right-hand side features the properties panel. To begin, you must create the first page by clicking the plus icon in the top-left corner and selecting the "Create Page" button. Once a page is generated, you can display it in the primary preview area by clicking on it within the left-side tree structure.
Moreover, you can add various elements from the left panel to the "Arrange" page using a drag-and-drop interface, such as buttons, tables, containers, and standard components. By clicking on each element, you can view its settings in the right-side panel, where it is possible to modify them interactively. This includes altering their style, adjusting their behavior, and modifying their display conditions to accommodate different screen resolutions.
In order to enhance the interactivity of your web application and manage user events such as button clicks and element hovering, each highlighted element on the main canvas includes an additional input on the right side, labeled "Business Logic." Within this business logic, you can establish event handlers tailored for each element. For instance, a button features an event handler called "On-Click," which activates when a user clicks on the button placed on the canvas.
By selecting "Edit" for this handler, you will access the familiar business process editor, where you can develop click processing logic by dragging and dropping blocks from the left panel. However, you may notice that the business process editor appears slightly different in this context.
While it includes a trigger start block, such as our On-Click, it lacks an End block. This is intentional, as triggered business processes do not yield any return values. Instead, they proceed through the entire execution cycle and simply conclude upon completion. This is a fundamental aspect of logic implementation in web applications.
In the left-hand menu of the web application interface, you will discover the Triggers section, which is an essential component for customizing your entire web application. One of the key features within this section is the Application Level Triggers, which facilitates the configuration of global behavior and responses to common events occurring within your web application as users interact with it in their browsers.
For instance, the On Page Load trigger enables you to monitor events that transpire as your application loads within the client's browser, allowing you to perform actions related to the initiation of the web application. These actions may include requesting data, retrieving user profiles from the server, or executing other system tasks.
Our platform supports numerous system triggers to track events within the user's browser, ranging from the Visibility API when users navigate away from your application's tab to WebSocket triggers. You can create custom logic for these events using the Business Process Editor. To do so, simply click on and edit each trigger, then develop the logic that will execute when the corresponding event occurs.
On the AppMaster platform, we employ a real-time collaboration system for the majority of our editors. However, it is crucial to remember to save your application, as unsaved changes will not be included in the final build upon publication. Upon completion of your web application, ensure that you save your work by clicking the "Push Changes" button situated in the top right corner of the web application interface.
Step 6: Create a mobile app
Upon developing a web application, it is advisable to proceed with the creation of an application. To initiate this process, navigate to the "Mobile Applications" section within the primary left-side menu and select the "Create a Mobile Application" button. A pop-up window will prompt you to designate a name for the forthcoming mobile app and choose the desired platforms for its availability. By default, a "Cross-Platform" application is generated, which encompasses both iOS and Android platforms; however, this can be altered at any time to abandon one version or transition between platform types. Our platform accommodates all such working scenarios.
After entering the application's name and selecting an icon, click the "Create" button. Within moments, our platform will automatically generate the main screens for the mobile application, and the mobile app editor will be displayed. The editor shares a similar layout with the web application editor, with screens and renderable elements situated on the left side and an element properties panel on the right, featuring a secondary tab for managing business processes.
The approach to working with mobile UI elements mirrors that of web application creation, with screens replacing pages and UI elements being placed upon these screens. Element properties allow for customization of user interactions, such as taps and long taps, which substitute for clicks in applications. Additionally, applications support global variables, shared business processes, and application-level triggers.
For each mobile app, it is crucial to modify the On Launch trigger, which activates upon application launch. Failure to specify the necessary actions during launch may result in an empty user interface. A common behavior to implement includes configuring the initial screen. Ensure that the On Launch trigger contains a minimum of one Navigate block, which designates the starting screen and directs the user upon application commencement.
Step 7: Project deployment
Upon completing your work on the apps for mobile devices and saving it, the next step is to prepare the project for publication. To achieve this, navigate to the deployment section of the plans. If a deployment plan has not been created yet, you will need to establish a new one. Click on the "Create Deployment Plan" button, which will open a modal window where you can configure the publishing parameters for your entire project.
Our platform offers a wide array of publishing options for your backend, frontend, and mobile applications. You can either utilize our globally distributed cloud infrastructure, predominantly powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), or host your applications on your own servers. In this example, we will employ our AppMaster Cloud.
As a user, your responsibility is to set the deployment plan's name for easy identification, select whether it is a production or testing environment (the latter will have a slight difference in error and log collection), and choose a region. It is crucial to select a region that is as close as possible to your users while adhering to your country's data storage laws. If you cannot find the desired region or country on our list, please contact us, and we may be able to add additional servers in your region to ensure compliance with local data storage laws.
After configuring the settings, click the "Save" button, and the deployment plan will be generated within seconds. With the deployment plan in place, it is time to publish the project for the first time. To do so, execute the deployment plan by clicking the "Publish" button located at the top right corner of the interface, then select the newly created deployment plan.
The system will automatically process your work on the platform, including the data model, business logic, backend endpoints, UI, web applications, and mobile applications. It will assemble everything, generate source code in various programming languages (Go for the backend, Vue 3 for the frontend, Kotlin and Swift for mobile applications), and compile, test, and package it all into containers.
We utilize Docker for application hosting, which provides fully isolated containers that enhance data security. The entire package will then be deployed to the server chosen during the deployment plan creation process. This process typically takes no more than 20 seconds.
Step 8: Test your app
Upon the successful publication of your project, it is essential to test the running application. To assess the web application you have developed, simply choose your web application and its associated deployment plan using the preview button situated at the top right corner of the interface. This action will open a new browser page where you can interact with your web application as an actual user, allowing you to verify the correctness of your initial development efforts.
Should your project necessitate backend testing, you will require tools such as Postman or other Curl utilities for Windows or Linux that can execute REST API requests to your backend. However, this subject warrants a separate discussion, which will be addressed in subsequent modules and lessons.
After evaluating your web application, you may wish to examine your mobile app. The most straightforward method for previewing your mobile app involves downloading the AppMaster Developer app from the App Store or Play Store, depending on your platform. Once installed, log in to the AppMaster Developer mobile app.
Mobile authorization is available in the top right corner, where pressing a button in the web browser will display a QR code that can be scanned with your mobile device for automatic login. Access to all your projects and mobile applications is provided through the AppMaster Developer mobile app, enabling you to launch any mobile apps without publishing it in the App Store or Play Store.
Step 9: Account in Google Play and App Store
By the time you decide to publish mobile apps, you should already possess a developer account in the pertinent app store, either Google Play or the App Store. For Google Play, our team will generate your app but will not automatically upload it. Once the Android mobile apps publishing process concludes, we will supply links for downloading the AAB and APK files. You may utilize these files to independently publish your apps on the Google Play Store website.
For iOS apps, we require access to your Apple API key to generate and automatically upload the app to TestFlight. During the publishing process, you must select the platform for which you are publishing. To publish on both iOS and Android, execute the wizard twice, as each app store entails distinct steps. Throughout the publication, we will request your application's precise name, application ID, Bundle ID, and additional keys from Firebase to facilitate push notification support. Additionally, we will need a list of permissions that users will be prompted for upon installing your mobile applications.
For more information on how to publish mobile apps, please see our help article or our University's "How to" section.
As you progress with your project, which includes backend, web, and mobile applications, periodic publishing is necessary to ensure that users have access to the latest updates. While publishing is a required step for backend and web applications, mobile applications benefit from an automated process.
We store screens, UI elements, and app logic on the server, enabling users who have installed your application from Google Play or the App Store to automatically view the updated interface upon the next launch. This eliminates the need for manual updates and republishing through app marketplaces, streamlining the process and enhancing user experience.
Step 10: Acquiring your App's source code and self-hosting on your server
For advanced users who need to host applications on their own servers, possibly even offline, AppMaster provides a unique opportunity to download backend binaries, server applications, web application bundles, and mobile apps bundles. If you need to host your application on your server, then you just need to have a standard Linux, Windows, or macOS server with any architecture of modern processors. These are Intel x86 with support for 64-bit extensions if there is such an option or even ARM CPUs. Applications generated in AppMaster run on all of these architectures. If your server is already fully configured, you have Nginx, you have Docker, and you can go to the "Artifacts" section in the main AppMaster menu.
If your application has been generated and published at least once, then in the list of artifacts, you will be able to see the Docker container with the latest version of your application. Using the dropdown menu to the right of your container line, you can copy the Docker commands and run them on your own server. Usually, there are two commands. Docker-login, which will ask for your login and password from the AppMaster studio, and the second command is the Docker pull with the address of your container in our repository.
As soon as your container is downloaded, you need to change the configuration file that comes with your container, and specify the address of your RDBMS there. We currently support any PostgreSQL-compatible DB. Customize certain settings, specify domain names and general settings for your modules or API keys that you use in the process of your application. This will be enough to run and work with the container completely independent of the AppMaster platform. Each time you generate new versions of your backend, we will create the same container that you can also use the Docker pull to pick up and update on your server.
An alternative to using docker containers is to directly download the binaries and your server executables and run them on your server. For such a scheme, you need to go to the same artifacts section, find the corresponding artifact, and your binary application for your operating system, select the “download” button in the menu, and this binary file will be downloaded to your local computer in the browser.
Then you can take this file, unpack it and upload it to your server. To run it, you can use both command line utilities by simply executing it from the command line, and you can also use services such as systemd to run the application as a service or daemon or supervisord. Any of these schemes are supported. You need, before you run it, you need to mark the file as executable and, of course, write a configuration file so that the application knows which DBMS to access.
To host web applications on your own server, the approach is almost identical. We have only one option, and you can download your web application bundle, which will contain a fully generated and finished web application inside an archive. You can also download it from the artifacts section.
This bundle does not depend on the architecture of the operating system or processor, and it is completely universal. Next, you will need to upload all these files to your server and configure Nginx accordingly so that it can serve your application to your users. Detailed information about setting up Nginx and examples of configuration files can be found in the documentation.
Most popular app features on AppMaster
Each category of users derives distinct benefits from AppMaster. For instance, business and corporate users frequently take advantage of our capability to host applications on a client's own servers. Our platform offers a unique opportunity to be deployed on virtually any client infrastructure, utilizing an open-source corporate Postgres database and even operating in environments without internet access.
This means that applications can function entirely offline without needing to communicate with our platform. Furthermore, if our platform experiences downtime or becomes inaccessible, all applications will continue to operate seamlessly.
Another significant advantage for business and enterprise clients is that select subscription plans provide the option to download generated source code for applications. This feature enables clients to pass various security audits and significantly reduces risks for business and corporate customers.
AppMaster provides users across all categories unrestricted access to a unique opportunity to work with comprehensive projects that incorporate web applications, mobile apps, and backends, all of which are highly integrated. For example, mobile apps can easily call the server API, and server endpoint, send data, and receive data through a single business process block.
Each mobile apps, web application, and server application is aware of the global data structures used throughout the entire project, which includes understanding the models and endpoints. This facilitates seamless communication between different parts of the project and greatly simplifies and accelerates project development. Additionally, the tight integration ensures that any changes made in the backend or frontend are automatically applied to all aspects of the project.
Another commonly utilized feature by our clientele is the exceptional scalability of applications developed on the AppMaster platform. We employ the Go programming language for creating backend applications, a compiled language renowned for its cross-compilation capabilities across Windows, Linux, and macOS, compatibility with various processor architectures, and effortless scalability through clustering.
Should our customers require enhanced performance, multiple instances of the generated backend application can be deployed, for example, in Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, or another clustering system, allowing for virtually limitless performance augmentation. This is achieved independently of the AppMaster platform, enabling clients to procure additional resources directly from hosting or cloud providers, thereby minimizing associated scaling costs.
How AppMaster app maker builds your app technically
To gain a deeper understanding of the application creation process facilitated by AppMasterStudio, it is helpful to examine examples. Inputs provided within the software product, such as data schemas, business process schemas, endpoints, variables, user interface elements, and triggers, essentially serve as blueprints or specifications for a future project. These elements are stored as documentation in preparation for project development.
Upon clicking the "Publish" button, the AppMaster platform processes the provided specifications by generalizing, optimizing, and standardizing the information. It then proceeds to generate source code based on the standardized data. Backend code is produced in the Go language, frontend code in Vue 3, iOS applications in Swift, and Android applications in Kotlin.
The platform boasts impressive performance, generating code at a rate exceeding 22,000 lines per second by leveraging parallel processing within the RAM. Once the source code is generated, the platform compiles the application, focusing primarily on backend compilation and web application bundling. This process takes a few additional seconds.
Subsequently, the platform enters the testing phase to ensure all built applications function properly and are free of issues. Upon successful completion of testing, backend applications are packaged into Docker containers for isolation and uploaded to a dedicated Docker registry integrated within the product. These containers are stored temporarily until they are deployed to the target servers. Similarly, web application bundles are compressed into zip archives and uploaded to an artifact repository, where they await the user to download or deploy to the target servers.
In essence, the AppMaster platform streamlines and accelerates the development process, which previously involved manual coding, compilation, testing, packaging, and deployment. The platform can complete the entire process in as little as 20 seconds, vastly improving efficiency.
Three types of ways to create an app
Embarking on a mobile app development project is an exciting endeavor. To create an app that stands out, the first step is to have a unique app idea. However, getting your own app from an idea to a successful app requires understanding mobile app development and selecting the right app development company or app development agency with highly qualified app developers who have extensive experience in building apps (android apps, ios apps, native apps, cross platform app, app design, and test app, cross-platform app, app landing page, progressive web app, single app, app analytics, push notifications, ecommerce apps, and other mobile apps).
Your app idea serves as the foundation of your mobile app development project. This idea should fulfill a specific need or provide a solution to a problem users face. Transforming this app idea into a successful app isn't as simple as it seems. So, how to create an app? It involves various stages of mobile app development, such as market research, planning, design, development, testing, deployment, and app store optimization.
In the entire development process, one critical aspect is the design of the user interface. A well-designed user interface is user-friendly, intuitive, and visually appealing, fostering a pleasant user experience that can contribute significantly to your app becoming a successful app. It's often advisable to collaborate with an experienced app development company to achieve the best results.
Your own app should not only serve its intended function but also needs to be visually pleasing and user-friendly. Your chosen app development company plays a pivotal role in achieving this balance. An experienced app development agency can guide you through the app development process, providing valuable insights and applying industry best practices.
Once the app development process is completed and you are satisfied with your own app, the next step is to launch it on various app stores. With millions of apps available on these platforms, you'll need a robust marketing strategy to ensure that your mobile app development doesn't go unnoticed.
Getting your own app on app stores requires understanding the policies and guidelines of each platform. An experienced app development company can help with this. It is also important to gather and respond to user feedback once your app is live. This feedback is invaluable as it can highlight potential areas of improvement.
Creating an app involves a detailed app development process. From solidifying your app idea to choosing the right app development company, and from paying attention to a user interface to finally launching it on app stores - each step is crucial to develop a successful app. Understanding the complexity of the mobile app building journey can increase the likelihood of your app’s success, making your own app not just a dream but a reality.
If you are wondering how to create an app, you will be faced with a choice of three types of app development:
App builders are no-code platforms for creating your own apps without programming knowledge and programming language. They're cost-effective and time-saving and make an app-making process easy, but may limit the app's uniqueness and advanced features.
- Fast time-to-market
- Flexible, extensible, and scalable
- No coding needed
- Easy updates
Code your app yourself
Coding your app offers maximum control over features and design but requires programming knowledge or willingness to learn. Use best practices, design patterns, libraries, and frameworks to improve development and ensure thorough testing for a quality user experience.
- Maximum control
- Customizable features
- Requires programming knowledge
Hiring developers or an agency with a development team for app development projects allows you to focus on other project aspects but may require a larger investment. Research potential candidates, establish clear communication, and set expectations.
- Expertise in development
- Focus on other project aspects
- Higher costs
- Finding reliable professionals