So, you have an idea for an Android app? I imagine you’re excited to get started! Thanks to the Play Store, it couldn’t be easier to reach a gigantic audience of potential users. Whether you’re hoping to earn some profit from an entrepreneurial venture, build an app to promote your business, or just have fun; it’s always an exciting and rewarding journey. But there’s just one problem: what if you don’t know how to code?
Android development is a complex challenge, and is getting more fragmented and confusing by the day. Google is taking great effort to try and streamline and simplify the process with initiatives such as the new Jetpack Compose, and the recent emphasis on Kotlin.
But while these tools can make life simpler for experienced developers, they can also be a headache for those just starting out. There are just so many options that it can be tricky knowing where to start. And that’s on top of the steep learning curve that is Java, combined with XML, and the individual quirks of the Android SDK!
In short: learning Android development takes months or years – not days.
The good news is that if you want to make an app with no programming, you have plenty of other options. Read on, and we’ll explore what those are.
The best ways to make Android apps
Outsource app development
If you want to make an app with no programming, then the easiest solution is to get someone else to do it! Resources like Rent-a-Coder, UpWork, and Freelancer.com make it simple to find someone with the coding chops you need. A word of advice? Always ask to see examples of previous work, to ensure that the developer has the specific skillset you need.
Alternatively, if you are fortunate to know a friend who knows how to develop apps, then you can always ask them to help out. This is a great option, especially if they can explain what they are doing so that you better understand the process.
Keep in mind that most developers won’t want to put in lots of work for a share of your future profits, however. We get these kinds of offers all the time, and they just don’t pay the bills! Besides, we have our own ideas to be working on.
Use an app builder
An “app builder” is a tool that allows developers to build apps using simple drag-and-drop interfaces. These apps drastically accelerate and simplify the development process, and require little-to-no code on your part. They also have the benefit of being cross-platform in most cases, meaning that you can easily publish to Android and iOS simultaneously when you’re done.
While these builders will vary somewhat in terms of their precise functionality, they generally support a variety of Android features. For example, you will often be able to handle such things as online bookings, maps and directions, push notifications, and transactions. Make sure that the builder you select offers the features you need before going ahead. Remember to check pricing as well, which can also vary a great deal from one tool to the next.
These builders support a variety of Android features.
Of course, there are limitations regarding these types of tools. For starters, most will use HTML5 to display UI elements, with native functions provided by some ready-made code. That means you can’t easily apply your own logic, or fundamentally alter the way the apps work. This makes app builders best suited to apps that work primarily as portfolios or advertisements for businesses, and less appropriate for more interactive or dynamic options.
In other words, an app maker might be a good choice if you are making an app to serve as a way for users to interact with your business or as a way to provide information. If you are making an app because you have an “idea” for a game, tool, or service, then you should consider other options.
If you do decide to go ahead and use an app maker to make an app with no programming, then here are some great options to consider:
- AppYourself is an app builder for HTML5-based apps. It is cross platform and relies primarily on HTML5. Building apps is easy, and there are some great business-centric features such as Open Table synchronization. The tool can also be used to create websites, providing some great synergy.
- AppInstitute is once again a business-centric app builder for iOS and Android. It has a user-friendly interface, and lots of useful features such as social media integration, analytics, and the ability to handle purchases.
- Appy Pie is an app maker that offers simple templates to expedite app creation. Templates are designed to cater to real estate agents, radio stations, churches, and er… catering.
- Mobile Roadie is an app builder that boasts some huge clients, including Disney and TED. As you would expect, it is one of the more powerful tools, capable of producing some highly professional-looking apps. With that prestige comes a very expensive price tag however!
There are many, many more examples of app builders, so if this is the route you want to take, then check out our dedicated guide to Android app makers.
Use a game maker
Game makers are similar to app makers, with a focus on game development. While these won’t be useful for the majority of corporate solutions, they are great as a learning aid, and for having a bit of fun! And with a little bit of out-the-box thinking, they can actually be used to make non-game apps too. They’re also great for kids!
Popular game builders include the likes of GameSalad, which lets you make games by simply dragging and dropping elements into the scene, and letting them interact. Another extremely beginner-friendly option that is perfect if you want to make an app with no programming, is Stencyl. Neither of these options is free to use however.
If you want to get a little more advanced, you might consider using GameMaker Studio from YoYoGames. You can do nearly everything here using a “pseudocode” with drag and drop tools, but the software is powerful enough to build fully-functioning, commercial games. In fact, some well-known titles such as Hyperlight Drifter were built this way!
Make a website
I’m about to use a couple of words you might not be familiar with, but if you can get your head around just these few concepts, you can build a website and turn it into an app with no coding required!
First, make your website. Then go and download Android Studio. This will provide you with both the development environment you need to start coding, and the Android SDK that will let you turn your code into an Android app.
From here, it is a relatively simple process to add a full-screen “WebView” to your app, and to point that at your website. As long as the user has an internet connection, tapping your app will take them straight to your website in full-screen mode!
A word of advice
As you can see then, there are plenty of options available if you want to make an app with no programming on Android. The key is recognizing which methods are suitable for the type of app you want to make. If you plan on making a utility, or any app with new functionality, then the flexibility of full Android development with Java or Kotlin will be necessary. That means you should either outsource the process, or learn to code yourself!
If you really want to make an app with no programming,keep it simple!
App builders are only truly appropriate for very simple apps. But it’s important not to let your ambition grow too large anyway: if you really want to make an app with no programming,keep it simple!