Learning how to build Android apps is a fantastic idea whether you are a company that wants to reach a wider audience, an entrepreneur looking for a passive income (or a lot!), Or just a hobbyist who wants to want to learn a fantastic new skill.
The problem is, app development usually involves coding. And coding is hard!
Fortunately, there are plenty of options for those who want to know how to build Android apps without learning Java or Kotlin. So, if you think you have the “next big app idea” but don’t know how to turn it into a reality, keep reading!
Likewise reDisplay:Kotlin vs Java for Android: Key Differences
How to build Android apps without code
This article explains the main options you can use to build apps without code. They are:
- Use an app builder
- Using a game maker
- Create a website
- Using PhoneGap
- Outsourcing (getting someone to do the hard work!)
Each of these options has its strengths and weaknesses. And of course the potential will always be a bit limited compared to building an app from scratch! With that in mind, you should find that either of these options offers the solution that you need.
Most app builders have a drag and drop interface so you can easily find the items you want and arrange them in an interface. You can then create an APK (the installation file for an Android app) and in many cases create an iOS app as well.
App Builders not only accelerate the development process and eliminate the need for complex code, but also offer a cross-platform solution for developing apps on multiple operating systems.
The problem is, app builders have a limited range of what they can be used for. This is because most of these apps use HTML5 to display the UI elements, with some native functionality supported by background code.
For example, while many app builders support sending text messages or even the use of push notifications, they cannot implement custom animations or combine features in unique ways.
In short, if you just need an interface to view information and possibly edit orders and queries, an app builder can do a great job. However, if you have a new “idea” for an app that uniquely combines native functionality, look further.
Also note that these builders typically charge a fee or offer a limited license to use for free. Be sure to read the fine print before you decide which option or the other.
Top Android App Builder
If this is still a good option for you, check out the recommended builders below:
- AppYourself is an app builder for HTML5-based apps. It’s cross-platform and based mostly on HTML5. Building apps is easy and there are some great business-centric features like Open Table sync. The tool can also be used to build websites, which creates great synergies.
- AppInstitute is again a business-oriented app builder for iOS and Android. It has a user-friendly interface and many useful features such as social media integration, analytics and the ability to make purchases.
- Appy Pie is an app maker that offers simple templates to speed up app creation. Templates are aimed at real estate agents, radio stations, churches, and catering.
- Mobile Roadie is an app builder with some large clients including Disney and TED. As you’d expect, it’s one of the more powerful tools that can be used to create some highly professional looking apps. However, with this prestige comes a very expensive price!
- Appyet is the powerful and effective app builder we used to create this Android Authority App on Android. You can monetize the apps with AdMob and the basic functions are available for free!
You should also check out our dedicated guide to the best app developers.
Using a game maker
A game maker is a tool that – surprisingly – is primarily used to create games.
These differ greatly in terms of their complexity and capabilities. On the simpler end of the spectrum, there are game builders aimed at kids to get an interest in coding. If you’re looking to teach a kid how to create apps without coding, the no-hassle GameSalad is one of the top game makers out there.
At the slightly more complex end there are tools like GameMaker: Studio. This is a simple game builder with minimal code that still offers enough flexibility to create complete game experiences. Games like Hype light drifters were created with this tool, although it took a lot of code!
If you want to get even more complex, Unity is a fully featured game engine and IDE for professional developers. While Unity development takes a bit of coding, it is actually very minimal. In addition, Unity’s flexibility means it can be used to develop utility apps and other non-game solutions. In fact, I even wrote an article about it!
Create a website
If you know how to create a website but not how to create an Android app, you can use these skills to produce gratifying results. In fact, many of the Android app builders are “wrappers” that use website code to build apps! You can do the exact same thing yourself if you only want to write a few lines of code.
First, build your website from scratch or using a tool like SquareSpace or WordPress.
Also read: How to install Android Studio and start your first project
Next, download Android Studio. This gives you both the development environment you need to start coding and the Android SDK that will turn your code into an Android app. It’s all in a single package and everything you need is installed at once.
Now all you have to do is create a full screen WebView that will display your website. A WebView is essentially a widget that can be used to display HTML or a website. This is extremely straightforward and can be done without any code.
Go to the visual editor using the tabs below and simply drag and drop the WebView onto the screen. Change the size to fill the screen. When this view is selected, you can change the URL that is displayed.
Now unpack the app and run it. When it boots up, you will be greeted with a full screen rendering of your website. As long as the website is cellphone and the user has an internet connection, you have a working app of your own!
With a little more tinkering, you can even include the HTML and graphical elements natively in the package – no internet connection required!
PhoneGap is supported by Apache Cordova. The same tool is actually what drives many app builders. Once you get used to it, you will know how to build Android apps without relying on third-party solutions.
How to Build Android Apps Through Outsourcing
If you don’t want to learn how to build Android apps and you don’t have an in-house development team, hiring an outsider might be your best option.
When you hire a developer, you can do anything you can by building the app yourself. However, this also means that you are not just sitting in the driver’s seat. How well this works out for you largely depends on the quality of the developer you end up working with.
My advice is to see examples of the developer’s work before hiring. Ideally, choose someone on site to make collaboration easier. Spend some time prototyping your app layout and collecting samples of apps you like. All of this will help you communicate your ideas clearly to the developer.
Ultimately, however, it is important that you have just a little bit of control when using an app developer. After all, that’s their job – so they tend to know what they’re talking about!
Where to find developers, you can try freelance websites like Rent-a-Coder or UpWork, or alternatively use an app development agency. A quick google delivers lots of results!
Now you know how to build Android apps without code. All you have to do is choose the option that suits you best. There are compromises no matter which way you go, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create anything spectacular.
What if none of these options suit you? Then why not learn how to officially build Android apps? You can start with one of our simple tutorials like this Star Wars quiz.
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