Build solid mobile apps with these 6 platforms

Friday, November 18, 2016

Mobile App Builders
A number of platforms are available for developers building mobile applications, but which ones will provide an enduring foundation? Janet Anthony reviews six promising choices: Shoutem, Good Barber, Como DIY, Bizness, AppInstitute and AppYourself.

Mobile apps are the way to go. Everybody is using them. In fact, in many countries, people are skipping the desk and laptop entirely and moving straight on to mobile telephony. Mobile use is growing globally, which means that your chances to sell your app are growing along with it.

Of course, if you want to build a mobile app, you’re going to need the right platform to do it. You can build on solid rock, or you can build on desert sand. One will keep your app standing, while the other will introduce all kinds of problems.

The question then becomes, which platforms are the bedrock? That’s what we’re going to explore in this article.


This one’s very pretty and well organized to boot. Shoutem has tons of very powerful options for you to choose from. They’ve also got some great monetization options, such as allowing you to integrate your app with Shopify and other mobile advertising platforms.

That’s probably a good thing, because if you want to be hosted in the Apple or Android stores you do need to pay a hefty 49 USD for the advanced plan. (Note that there is a more basic plan, at 19 USD a month, but that obviously won’t allow you to host in those places. And, let’s be honest about it, that will crimp your style).

Of course, they have a free trial, which you can access straight from their homepage.

Good Barber

This fantastic app builder (with a rather unusual name) is a great choice if you’re going for visual. Maybe that’s because it comes from the island of Corsica, which is a uniquely beautiful (and odd – hence possibly the name?) place.

Good Barber isn’t just pretty, either. It also has a lot of functionality built into it. This includes social media, chat capacity, geofencing, which his to use GPS or RFID to create virtual borders, and Ibeacons, which allows the app to pinpoint your position and react to your location on a hyper-local scale.

What’s more, the platform has a free trial and, once you exceed that, will give you your app for as little as 16 euros a month, which makes it very competitive indeed.

Como DIY

This one’s great as well. And that’s why so many people have chosen it (at least, if you can believe the creators) with them claiming that they’re supporting more than 1 million apps. It’s not a hard thing to believe, to be honest. Como is very versatile, which means that it’s easily adapted to whatever it is you want to build.

They seem to be the most used for event management, with many bands and restaurants finding these apps quite useful. This is because they’ve got a wide selection of basic building blocks that will help, such as appointment scheduling, loyalty card features, e-commerce, reviews and – of course – event scheduling.

Como has recently changed their pay structure. Now, if you want to pay monthly, it will run you 57 USD each 30 days. If you want to pay per year, you’re paying the equivalent of $48 per month, while if you’re willing to commit to two years, the total monthly cost drops to $41. A good strategy to lock people in, no?

One note of caution: they will over-market you in the first week, with them sending you at least an email a day. Annoying, but fortunately you’ve got the handy delete key to deal with that. Sometimes it seems like that’s the key I use the most on my keyboard (And I’m a writer!).


Want to create leads? Then take a look at the Bizness app builder, for that’s what they’re all about. They’ve got a huge number of ways to integrate third party apps, which will help you to boost your lead generation tremendously.

The result? A solid platform that will help you build an online business that can actually make you money.

Note, you will need to make money to pay for the service, as this platform isn’t exactly cheap. Their mobile plan will put you back a whopping 59 USD a month. That’s like 10 cups of coffee with an extra shot (or, at the rate coffee companies seem to raise their prices, two next year). So yeah, make sure that you put time and thought into your go to market process when you select these guys, because you will want your app to be up and available as quickly as possible.


Another good choice, the AppInstitute, has won numerous awards for being an innovative and well-run startup. Part of the reason is that they’ve got great e-commerce features, which means that if you’re trying to run some kind of online store this is a good choice.

They’ve also got unusual depth, allowing you do quite a lot – more than you initially expect, in fact.
The best part? If you’re willing to accept some restrictions you can build an app for android in as little as 6 USD a month. Now I’ve got to say, for those kinds of prices you’re doing well, don’t you think? Want to check them out? You can find them here.


The great news with this app is that you can also use it to build a website. That’s a nice two-in-one, don’t you think? What is more, your app and your website will automatically sign up, which means you don’t have to. That’s a nice little bonus if you’re short on time or personnel.

They’ve got a whole range of different price options. For example, the web only costs you 5 euro a month, while their business package puts you back 50 a month plus a 200 euro setup fee.

One nice bonus, you can try it out for free as long as you like. The only restriction is that you cannot submit it anywhere until you’ve paid for at least the basic plan. Still, that does give you some freedom to experiment and decide if you like it before you are forced to put down a wad of cash, so it’s great for those who are more experimental.

Last words

So there you go! Here are 6 different app builders that will give you a great bedrock to build on. Of course, you’ll still have to build the app yourself, but fortunately with these builders that will be quite easy and not too time-consuming.

Personally, I heartily advise that you try one of these out. Then, when you decide to go true hardcore and really get one built, you know what the programmers are up against and what they need to do. That will give you a much better idea of what’s going to happen and how much it should cost you, which might actually save you money in the long run.

 - Janet Anthony, B2C