There’s a range of low-code and no-code frameworks, backend builders, mobile development platforms, and visual internal tools builders available today. Building an admin panel, a user portal, a customer support dashboard, a sales dashboard, or another tool you need can take hours instead of weeks now.
Retool is a popular internal apps development platform. It’s definitely one of the key options you’ll consider when you start looking for a perfect internal tools builder. Retool has a rich library of more than 50 UI components (Tables, Wizards, Charts, Maps, and more). It greatly simplifies and speeds up your development process. However, a lot of users are driven away by its pricing policy tied to the number of end-users. You have to pay at least $10/month for each user regardless of their role, be it an Admin, an Editor, or a simple Viewer.
In order to avoid overpaying, you can try an Open Source alternative to Retool. For instance, you can choose from Appsmith, Budibase, and ToolJet. These solutions will definitely be much more cost-effective than Retool. Below, we’ve covered each of these Open Source low-code frameworks individually.
Appsmith is a popular Open Source framework for building internal tools and hosting them on your own domain. It allows you to integrate with a number of databases and APIs to build your app on top of the existing data.
Budibase is a low-code platform with a self-hosted Open Source version for building business apps. Budibase allows you to create internal tools, admin panels, user portals, and dashboards.
ToolJet is an Open Source low-code tools builder allowing you to deliver internal applications and business apps in minutes. It has a special free offering for Open Source projects, and flexible pricing plans.
Although UI Bakery is not Open Source, it’s still a powerful internal tools builder offering flexible pricing plans. It’s a key Retool competitor today. UI Bakery allows you to build an unlimited number of apps via an aesthetically pleasing building interface with 25+ ready-made UI components (Tables, Buttons, Charts, Graphs, Maps, etc.). Each newcomer gets free training, and can always turn to the documentation with how-to guides thoroughly prepared by the team.
UI Bakery integrates with REST and GraphQL APIs, most well-known databases and third-party systems (MySQL, Google Sheets, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Airtable, Slack, etc). You can build your app functionality simply by writing SQL queries and sending HTTP requests, and deploy your internal tool in several clicks to the UI Bakery or your own domain. Thus, with UI Bakery you have no need to learn any new frameworks, you can simply apply the skills you already have.
All these and other features makes UI Bakery a good competitor not only to Retool but to the Open Source platforms like Budibase, ToolJet, and Appsmith that we've reviewed in the article. If you have any questions and need to clarify whether UI Bakery is a good internal tools builder for you, contact the team to get a free demo.