Gain more control over your no-code application with Wappler

Gain more control over your no-code application with Wappler

Joseph Harris

Monday, 17 July 2023

Wappler

Can Wappler compete with bubble.io? An insightful comparison written by Jof Walters and Million Labs.

Posted in:

No-Code

Recently, I’ve been looking into other no/low-code systems, usually considered to be the big competitors to Bubble. You may remember my last newsletters where I talked a bit about a system called “WeWeb” which was perfect for rapid prototyping and landing pages.

This time, I wanted to talk about another system I’ve been playing around with called “Wappler”. Wappler is the polar opposite of WeWeb, being much more in depth and offering significantly more control over all aspects of your application.

Wappler is a downloadable application that allows you to set up no-code/low-code projects directly from your computer. It still has the preview capabilities of Bubble, where Wappler will set up temporary “published” URLs for testing purposes, and you can host your sites once you’re happy with them.

One of the biggest things that make Wappler stand out from the crowd, however, is their editor interface. While it has your standard no/low-code “modules” that you can drag into your project and edit to your heart’s content, it has several other features that really expand the scope of your control over the application.

The first is that Wappler supports built-in CSS3 stylesheets, allowing you to easily declare and apply Classes and IDs, as well as build styles for specific HTML tags with complete code-level freedom, letting you freely edit the CSS itself, rather than through an interface. Wappler also supports VueJS, React and Angular as well, incase implementing/using any of those tickles your fancy.

Another is that Wappler provides a complete code view of your project as you build it. Those of you familiar with Adobe Dreamweaver may recognise similarities in functionality between these two. While you can use the pre-built modules or even save existing setups of yours as “templated modules” which you can easily re-use, you can also directly edit the code of the page, tweaking things at a very granular level to get them just right. Naturally, there is an extensive editor interface to let you control most aspects of the site through a GUI, but if you’re like me and familiar with web development it’s a real boon to be able to just dig right into the code itself to make particularly nit-picky or niche changes.

The final feature that I’ll espouse as a “reason to check Wappler out” is that it has built in Native App support & wrapping, powered by a service called “Capacitor”. While the system is very similar to BDK at the core, this approach lets you have considerably more control over the application, including re-wrapping apps yourself, on your own terms.

Naturally, no system is without its faults, and one of the big ones is definitely the skill floor/ceiling of this low-code offering. While not strictly necessary, having any familiarity with HTML/CSS/JS will prove very beneficial in using this application, as a lot of its power comes through the ability to freely implement your own code. However, once you’ve got that skillset down, you’ll find that you’ve got the entire platform at your fingertips.

Another important aspect to note is that Wappler doesn’t appear to provide its own data storage solution, unlike Bubble and other such platforms. While this will add some cost, it’s never a huge amount if you’re familiar with instantiating and managing your own databases. I’d personally recommend looking into DigitalOcean for the ability to spin up small databases, perfect for testing purposes and won’t break the bank either. Also helps kill two birds with one stone, as with a little technical know-how, you can even set up your Digital Ocean Droplet to run an Apache Webserver, set up an SSL certificate and then point your DNS to it for minimal extra cost, considerably cheaper than paying for monthly hosting, and you have complete control over it.

My closing thoughts on this is that Wappler is definitely a platform to consider if you’re wanting to build applications at scale and to have plenty of control over what you build. While it’s community isn’t anywhere near as large as Bubble’s, it’s still pretty large and very active, the forums always have new posts about issues, fixes and plugins for Wappler and is well worth checking out.



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