Appsmith vs Retool: Low-code development platforms compared

In the ever-evolving landscape of low-code development platforms, Appsmith and Retool have emerged as strong contenders, each offering unique features and capabilities.

Appsmith vs Retool: Low-code development platforms compared

In the ever-evolving landscape of low-code development platforms, Appsmith and Retool have emerged as strong contenders, each offering unique features and capabilities. These platforms aim to simplify application development and empower organizations to build custom internal tools efficiently. In this comprehensive comparison, we'll explore the strengths and weaknesses of both platforms and introduce a top-tier alternative, ILLA Cloud, to help you make an informed choice for your low-code development needs.

Appsmith: The Low-Code Innovator

Appsmith, an India-based open-source platform, has quickly gained recognition in the low-code development arena. It boasts feature parity with many aspects of the Retool application builder, making it a formidable competitor. However, it's essential to delve into the specific characteristics that set Appsmith apart:

Advantages of Appsmith:

  • 1. Open Source Advantage: Appsmith is an open-source platform, providing developers with access to the platform's source code. This open nature encourages collaboration and customization, making it a preferred choice for those who require greater control over their development environment.
  • 2. Cloud and On-Premise Deployment: Appsmith offers flexibility by supporting both cloud and fully on-premise deployments. This duality enables organizations to choose the hosting option that aligns with their security and compliance requirements.
  • 3. Active Developer Community: Appsmith enjoys a growing developer community on platforms like Github. This community support leads to continuous improvements, timely bug fixes, and the development of new features, ensuring the platform remains current and responsive to user needs.
  • 4. Extensive Integration Options: Appsmith facilitates integration with a wide array of databases and APIs, enabling businesses to connect to their data sources seamlessly. This versatility ensures that your applications can interact with the necessary data resources.

Disadvantages of Appsmith:

  • Lacks Automated Workflows: One notable limitation is the absence of support for automated workflows or scheduled jobs within Appsmith. This could be a drawback for organizations requiring complex automation processes in their internal tools.

Retool: A Pioneer in Internal Tooling

Retool is a well-established development platform for creating custom internal software. It offers an intuitive drag-and-drop application builder and a library of pre-built UI components. However, it's essential to recognize both its strengths and shortcomings:

Advantages of Retool:

  • 1. Drag & Drop Application Builder: Retool provides an intuitive drag-and-drop application builder, making it accessible for users with varying technical expertise.
  • 2. Integration Library: With an extensive library of integrations, Retool simplifies the process of connecting to databases and APIs, allowing businesses to access and manipulate their data efficiently.
  • 3. Granular Permissions: Retool supports role-based access controls, providing a secure environment and ensuring that users have appropriate access to tools and data.
  • 4. Enterprise Features: Retool caters to enterprise needs by offering features such as single sign-on (SSO), audit logging, and dedicated enterprise support.
  • Native Mobile Apps: Retool Mobile provides a dedicated solution for building native iOS and Android mobile apps within the Retool environment.

Disadvantages of Retool:

  • 1. Limited Extensibility with Code: Retool's code extensibility is restricted, primarily supporting JavaScript. This limitation can pose challenges for developers who require more diverse coding options.
  • 2. Poor Performance: Users often report performance issues with Retool applications due to browser-based code execution, single-step queries, and a lack of global edge caching.
  • 3. Limited Workflows & Scheduled Jobs: Retool's workflow offering is still in beta and lacks full functionality. Additionally, it is only available on Retool Cloud, limiting its accessibility to self-hosted customers.
  • 4. SQL-Only Generative AI: Retool's generative AI functionality is limited to SQL, which may not fully meet developers' requirements for code generation and optimization in various languages and use cases.
  • 5. Legacy On-Premise Deployment: Retool's on-premise deployment model is resource-intensive, making it complex for businesses to maintain and update. This can divert resources away from tool development.
  • 6. Expensive Pricing: Retool employs an inflexible pricing model with hefty platform fees, making it expensive for many organizations.
  • 7. Slow Feature Rollouts: New features are sometimes slow to roll out, particularly for on-premise customers, leading to delays in leveraging the latest technologies.
  • 8. Closed Source Code: Retool is closed-source, limiting code audits and extensibility options.
  • 9. US-Cloud Only: Retool Cloud is hosted in the US, which may result in performance degradation for users and data centers outside the US.

ILLA Cloud: The Top Retool Alternative

In the quest for the ideal low-code development platform, ILLA Cloud rises as the top alternative to Retool. ILLA Cloud excels in numerous facets, offering users a robust, developer-friendly, enterprise-ready solution. Here's why you should consider ILLA Cloud:

Advantages of ILLA Cloud:

  • 1.Limitless Code Extensibility: ILLA Cloud empowers developers with limitless code extensibility, supporting NodeJS, Python, JavaScript, and React. This flexibility enables the creation of custom backend APIs and frontend components, enhancing your development capabilities.
  • 2.Enterprise-Ready Architecture: ILLA Cloud's architecture is tailored for enterprise-scale performance, featuring multi-threaded front-ends for smooth UI rendering and elastic back-end queries. This ensures the platform can handle the demands of complex applications and high workloads.
  • 3.Generative AI Native: ILLA Cloud's generative AI is context-aware and supports a wide range of languages. The AI Copilot helps generate, explain, and debug code, including SQL, JavaScript, Python, HTML, JSON, and REST API integrations.
  • 4. Efficient Self-Hosted Agent Architecture: ILLA Cloud offers a lightweight, stateless On-Premise Agent, simplifying self-hosting while ensuring data remains secure within your network. This architecture minimizes resource consumption.
  • 5.Production Monitoring & Observability: ILLA Cloud seamlessly integrates with observability providers like Datadog and Splunk, providing in-depth insights into your applications through metrics, traces, and logs.
  • 6.Flexible and Fair Pricing: ILLA Cloud only charges editors, users and viewers are free. It can help users save a lot of money. For example, if a company has 20 people using it, only one of them is an editor, and the remaining 19 are viewers, we only charge $20. Retool costs $400.

Disadvantages of ILLA Cloud:

  • 1. Newer Entrant: ILLA Cloud, founded in 2021, is a relatively new platform. However, its rapid growth and financial backing suggest its potential and market appeal.
  • 2. No Support for Native Mobile Apps: As of now, ILLA Cloud does not offer support for building native mobile applications for iOS and Android. However, it does support mobile-responsive web applications.
  • 3. User Analytics in Private Beta: The feature for tracking user analytics is in a private beta phase as of July 2023, potentially limiting accessibility during this period.
  • 4. No Air-Gapped Deployments: ILLA Cloud's deployment model does not support air-gapped configurations, relying on cloud connectivity.

In conclusion, both Appsmith and Retool have their strengths and weaknesses, catering to different user requirements.ILLA Cloud represents an exciting and forward-thinking alternative in the low-code development platform space. Its commitment to limitless code extensibility, enterprise scalability, generative AI, and observability, combined with flexible pricing, make it a compelling choice for businesses seeking to enhance their internal application development capabilities. As a newer entrant, ILLA Cloud is on an upward trajectory, and its features are positioned to address the evolving requirements of modern development teams.

Join our Discord Community:
GitHub page:
Try Free
Build Your internal tools at lightning speed!
Try For Free