Low-code platforms are becoming increasingly popular among developers and businesses who want to build internal tools quickly and efficiently. Internal tools are applications that help teams perform specific tasks, such as dashboards, admin panels, customer support tools, approval apps, and more. However, building internal tools from scratch can be time-consuming, costly, and complex, especially when dealing with multiple data sources and APIs.
That’s where low-code platforms come in. Low-code platforms provide a visual and intuitive way to create internal tools without writing a lot of code. They typically offer drag-and-drop UI components, pre-built templates, connectors to various data sources and APIs, and the ability to customize and extend functionality with code. By using low-code platforms, developers can save time and resources, focus on business logic and user experience, and deliver internal tools faster and easier.
In this blog post, we will compare two low-code platforms that are designed for building internal tools: Appsmith and ILLA Cloud. We will look at their features, benefits, drawbacks, pricing, and use cases, and help you decide which one is better suited for your needs.
What is Appsmith?
Appsmith is an open-source low-code platform that helps developers build and deploy internal tools 10x faster. Appsmith allows developers to easily connect to popular databases and APIs, quickly build UI with ready React-powered widgets, customize and extend functionality with code, and deploy reliably and securely(1).
Some of the key features of Appsmith are:
- UI Builder: Appsmith provides a drag-and-drop UI builder that lets developers create beautiful and responsive UIs with 45+ ready widgets, such as tables, charts, lists, modals, forms, and more. Developers can also customize the UI with theming and branding options.
- Data Sources: Appsmith supports connecting to various data sources, such as SQL databases (PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB, etc.), NoSQL databases (Firestore), cloud storage services (Amazon S3), SaaS providers (Google Sheets, Airtable), or any GraphQL/REST API. Appsmith also supports database- and API-native operations to test connections and prepare data for the UI.
- Deployment Options: Appsmith offers two deployment options: Appsmith Cloud and self-hosting. Appsmith Cloud is a free hosted service that lets developers start building their apps on any device without any installation or configuration. Self-hosting is a free option that lets developers host Appsmith on their own servers or cloud providers for more control and security.
What is ILLA Cloud?
Some of the key features of ILLA Cloud are:
- SQL Generate: ILLA Cloud provides a SQL Generate feature that lets developers input natural language and get SQL statements that can be run directly on databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, Supabase, etc. This helps developers save time and avoid syntax errors when writing SQL queries.
- Real-Time Collaboration: ILLA Cloud enables developers to work simultaneously in ILLA Builder by sharing links. Developers can co-edit and communicate with others in real time to give timely feedback and improve development efficiency.
- UI Library: ILLA Cloud provides a fully responsive UI library with dozens of components that meet the needs of different scenarios. Developers can drag and drop components such as tables, charts, forms, modals, and more to boost their productivity.
- Deployment Options: ILLA Cloud offers two deployment options: ILLA Cloud and self-hosting. ILLA Cloud is a one-click deployment service that lets developers enjoy the easiest deployment experience without any installation or configuration. Self-hosting is a free option that lets developers host ILLA on their own servers or cloud providers using ILLA CLI, Docker Compose, or Kubernetes for better security and performance.
How do they compare?
Both Appsmith and ILLA Cloud are low-code platforms that aim to help developers build internal tools faster and easier. They have some similarities in terms of features, such as:
- They both provide drag-and-drop UI builders with various widgets and components.
- They both support connecting to multiple data sources and APIs and running queries and operations on them.
- They both offer cloud and self-hosting deployment options.
However, they also have some differences that make them suitable for different use cases and preferences. Some of the main differences are:
- Appsmith is open-source and free to use for both cloud and self-hosting options, while ILLA Cloud has a freemium pricing model for its cloud service and a free option for self-hosting.
- Appsmith supports more data sources and APIs than ILLA Cloud, including NoSQL databases like Firestore and cloud storage services like Amazon S3.
- Appsmith provides more UI customization options than ILLA Cloud, such as theming and branding.
- ILLA Cloud has a SQL Generate feature that lets developers write SQL queries using natural language, which Appsmith does not have.
- ILLA Cloud has a real-time collaboration feature that lets developers work together on the same app, which Appsmith does not have.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a low-code platform is the pricing. Appsmith and ILLA Cloud have different pricing models that may suit different budgets and needs.
Appsmith is completely free and open-source, regardless of whether you use their cloud service or self-host it on your own servers or cloud providers. You can use Appsmith to build unlimited apps with unlimited users, data sources, widgets, and custom code. However, Appsmith does not offer any premium features or support plans for enterprise customers.
ILLA Cloud has a freemium pricing model for its cloud service, which means you can use it for free up to a certain limit, and then pay for additional usage or features. The free plan allows you to build apps with one team member, all components, all resources, and basic security and support. The paid plans start from $10 per user per month and offer more team members, apps, resources, security, support, and collaboration features. ILLA Cloud also offers a free option for self-hosting, which gives you more control and security over your data and deployment.
Here is a comparison table of Appsmith and ILLA Cloud based on their features:
As you can see, both platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses. You should choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences. Alternatively, you can also try ILLA Cloud, a new and innovative low-code platform that combines the best of both worlds. ILLA Cloud is a managed service provider that supports both Appsmith and ILLA Cloud platforms, ensuring the smooth functioning of your internal tools. You can sign up for ILLA Cloud here or learn more about it here.
Which one should you choose?
The choice between Appsmith and ILLA Cloud depends on your specific needs and preferences. Here are some questions that can help you decide:
- Do you need an open-source and free platform? If yes, then Appsmith might be a better option for you. If not, then you might want to consider the pricing plans of ILLA Cloud.
- Do you need to connect to a wide range of data sources and APIs? If yes, then Appsmith might have more connectors for you than ILLA Cloud. If not, then you might find the connectors of ILLA Cloud sufficient for your needs.
- Do you need to customize the UI of your app extensively? If yes, then Appsmith might offer more UI customization options than ILLA Cloud. If not, then you might be satisfied with the UI library of ILLA Cloud.
- Do you need to write SQL queries using natural language? If yes, then ILLA Cloud might have an advantage over Appsmith with its SQL Generate feature. If not, then you might be comfortable writing SQL queries manually or using other tools.
- Do you need to collaborate with other developers in real time? If yes, then ILLA Cloud might be more convenient for you than Appsmith with its real-time collaboration feature. If not, then you might not need this feature much.
Ultimately, the best way to find out which platform works better for you is to try them out yourself. You can sign up for ILLA Cloud here or self-host it here. You can also check out their documentation, templates, and community channels for more information.
We hope this blog post has helped you compare Appsmith and ILLA Cloud and choose the best low-code platform for your internal tools development. Happy building!
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