WYSIWYG: When you see that acronym for the first time, it might look complicated — a little like alphabet soup. But "WYSIWYG" stands for "what you see is what you get," which means just that — something so simple and straightforward, you know exactly what the end result is going to be, without any surprises, because, as the name suggests, what you see is what you get.
That's exactly what you want when you need to build an app quickly and easily, which is why WYSIWYG app makers are some of the most popular no-code tools available. If you want to build your own app, while knowing exactly what the end product is going to look like at every step along the way, a WYSIWYG app builder might be just the tool you need. Read on to learn more.
What Is a WYSIWYG App Maker?
In the context of no-code development tools, "what you see is what you get," or WYSIWYG, means an app builder that allows you to see what your app is going to look like before you publish it. It's kind of like prototyping your app as you go — you can change layout, design, and functionality, and see edits you make to the interface in real time.
This is great for developers who don't have much coding experience, and would rather look at their app's interface as they build, rather than just looking at the code behind the scenes, or in the backend.
WYSIWYG app builders typically have design interfaces that are straightforward and very intuitive, generally with drag-and-drop elements. There are a lot of benefits to using a WYSIWYG app maker, especially for those looking for a very simple, no-code or low-code platform for building an app.
WYSIWYG vs No-Code vs Custom Coding
When you need to build an app, you have a few different choices: Custom coding, a no-code platform, or, more specifically, a WYSIWYG app maker. Here's how they all compare:
Custom coding means making your app completely from scratch. It requires at least one programmer (but more often a whole team of them) who will write the source code for the app from scratch. This kind of application development process takes a lot of time — and a lot of money. Large, complex business apps can take months or even years to code, and can cost tens or hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of dollars.
No-code apps are built on app development platforms that are designed to level the playing field for those without coding knowledge and experience. They allow you to use spreadsheets, templates, drag-and-drop interfaces, and other intuitive tools to build apps without writing any code.
WYSIWYG app makers are a type of no-code app building platform. They emphasize the app design process, allowing you to create your app by looking at its interface and adding or changing design elements from a view of how the app will look to its end user. Of all no-code platforms, WYSIWYG app builders are some of the most visual, and, for many people, the most intuitive.
Pros and Cons of a WYSIWYG App Maker
If you're considering using a WYSIWYG app maker for building the custom apps your business needs, first consider the pros and cons.
Simplicity. A WYSIWYG app creator is one of the simplest, most straightforward platforms available. You can use one without writing code, and it allows you to create your app in an extremely visual way. WYSIWYG platforms are known for offering an incredibly intuitive user interface, great for experienced app makers and beginners alike.
Speed. A WYSIWYG app builder can get your app up and running much faster than custom coding, which takes weeks, months, or even years. You can speed up the process even more by using an app template — many WYSIWYG app builders offer a library of them.
Affordability. Like many no-code platforms, WYSIWYG app builders are typically much more affordable than other solutions, like custom coding your app. Most of the WYSIWYG platforms listed later on in this article have plans that can help you build and host your app for less than $100 a month, making them ideal for small businesses.
Visual design interface. WYSIWYG app builders are great for people who need to see things visually, because you can build and edit the app within the interface that end users will eventually see. That also means that changes you make are reflected in real time, which can make it easier to catch and fix mistakes — no digging through pages and pages of source code to find and fix an error.
Design limitations. Because WYSIWYG app builders rely so heavily on templates and drag-and-drop elements, they're typically limited in how much they allow users to create apps that have extremely customized designs.
Functionality limitations. WYSIWYG app makers are generally powerful tools, ideal for about 80 percent of business use cases. But for businesses that need extremely specific, niche functionality in their apps, these kinds of tools just aren't ideal.
5 Best WYSIWYG App Makers
Whether you're looking for a mobile app builder or a cross-platform web app maker, there's a WYSIWYG platform for you. Here are 5 of the best WYSIWYG app makers available today.
Glide is the platform you need if you want to create beautiful apps from spreadsheets in just minutes, with no coding required.
If your business data lives in a spreadsheet, you already have most of what you need to turn it into an app with Glide. Glide supports mobile app development, or desktop-friendly web apps via our new Glide Pages.
What really sets Glide apart from other WYSIWYG app makers is its incredibly intuitive user experience. From the app editor, you can toggle your view to see your app interface on different mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Glide lets you create iPhone or Android apps and then easily convert them into native apps. And best of all, Glide automatically creates the most beautiful no-code apps out of any app builder available today. You don't need design skills to make a polished, professional app — Glide does that automatically.
Glide has a robust set of features and functionalities, including push notifications, customizable authentication requirements, and apps that can run partially offline. Additional plugins and APIs can expand Glide apps' functionality even further.
Glide's pricing actually starts with a free tier, and includes packages for businesses of all sizes.
If you want a powerful, beautiful app that's easy to create and can be up and running in minutes, you want Glide.
#2: Appy Pie
Appy Pie offers no-code platforms for building mobile applications, chatbots, and workflow automations, making it a powerful WYSIWYG tool for many businesses.
We love how easy Appy Pie makes it to create native applications and publish them to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. It's also a powerful choice for businesses that need to create in-app ecommerce stores. But some users say that Appy Pie has a steep learning curve, and that the UX can be frustrating, especially for new users. Appy Pie also claims to have advanced functionality that's really only available via integrations with other tools. Read about Appy Pie alternatives
Passion.io is an app builder for coaches, trainers, and course creators. It features cross-device functionality, drag-and-drop app design, and features like live streaming and payment processing.
The biggest drawbacks to Passion.io is that it's one of the more expensive app builders on the market, starting near $100 per month.. Many important features aren't available on the base plan, which means many users will need a more expensive plan to build the app they need. Passion.io is also just not the right app builder for every business, as it's made for creating online learning apps, specifically.
Bubble is one of the most powerful app builders available, able to support complex apps that require very high levels of performance. That's what draws in many users, especially those who are looking to build high-powered business apps.
But Bubble is one of the most difficult app builders to learn and use, generally requiring weeks or months to learn, and even longer to master. And despite having WYSIWYG functionality built into its app editor, Bubble isn't the most visual app builder, and does require some design knowledge to produce an app that has a professional look.
Finally, there's Softr, one of the newer platforms for no-code app builders. Softr turns Airtable spreadsheets and databases into apps, so while it boasts "zero learning curve," those who aren't familiar with using Airtable might need some time to learn how to get the most from their apps built with Softr.
Despite being newer to the market than most app builders, Softr allows for building some pretty complex and powerful platforms — and new features are being added all the time.
Use the Best WYSIWYG Platform: Glide
From internal tools to enterprise applications, Glide is the most powerful, beautiful, and easy-to-use WYSIWYG app maker. See for yourself — build your business app today, in minutes, with no code.