App Building Platform Comparison
For the past 2 weeks, our assignment in Educational Media has been to evaluate 2 different App Building Platforms: AppMachine and AppyPie. Both of these services give the novice user the ability to construct a mobile app with little to no development knowledge. These platforms are based on selecting pre-built “modules” and then configuring them for your needs.
First up was AppyPie. It was a pretty simple and straightforward system. Select the different modules, customize them to suit your needs, select a layout template, customize the background, etc. Pretty easy to use. Didn’t really run into any obstacles with this one. Biggest problem here was determining what I wanted to include and how to categorize it. Just had to think about what was most important and then, the best way to organize it in the app.
The only thing I didn’t like about it was that in submitting it, we had to submit the “website view” of the app. This is fine and all, but after submitting it, I noticed that the layout was entirely different on the website than what I had designed for the mobile view app. There was still a lot of placeholder content, that I never saw in the app view. So, that kind of was a bummer.
Next up was AppMachine. Again, really simple interface that gave a user with little to no experience the ability to build an app. Instead of using “modules” like in AppyPie, AppMachine uses “blocks” which, after working with them, are basically the same things as modules. AppMachine provides you with a certain amount of pre-designed blocks that can be configured to your liking. Add a block, configure with links or text or whatever is called for, and save.
In my opinion, AppMachine was a little easier to use. Configuration and customization was a bit more advanced. But, this also was my biggest complaint about the platform: too many configuration options. That might sound silly, but giving a user that many things to tweak could backfire, especially with someone that doesn’t have a background in graphic design. The app could come across looking like a mess if you try to tweak everything possible. And that was also my biggest lesson learned: know when to stop. Apply the K.I.S.S. principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
In the end, I’d have to go with AppMachine as my recommended platform of the 2. Even though both platforms allow the users to, essentially, do the same thing, I think AppMachine does it a little better. From linking to embedded videos, it just out-performs AppyPie. And for that reason, I think it would be best utilized for educators looking to develop apps for learning. But, that’s just my 2 cents. Try out both systems and tell me what you think.