Build native mobile apps without code.
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Native Mobile Apps
Last updated on:
April 13, 2022

Thunkable is a drag and drop native mobile app builder for iOS, Android as well as for web apps. I personally have not built with it. However, we have a very experienced Maker that I respect a lot Drew Thomas who has and we are fortunate enough for him to share his thoughts on what he learned while building with it. 

High level recommendation is use this for the most complex builds and projects that you have in mind. It is much more heavy of a lift to learn but with that comes greater complexity that you can build with. For example it has greater power and ability to connect with API’s than Adalo.  

Below you can see actual Maker products and “In their words” Makers who launched using Adalo as part of the side project stack.

How might this tool be a fit for you:

  • Ability to hit API's (this is a more powerful tool and capabilities than using Adalo). "I've used a completely custom API in there before, so I'm pretty confident it can handle any API" Drew Thomas
  • "Today, I’d choose Adalo for anything that’s generally straightforward (forms, databases, lists), which is probably 90% of all app ideas. I’d use Thunkable for everything beyond that, though!" - Drew Thomas
  • Audio and recording playback ability
  • Thunkable does native, android and web app build from the same build
  • Higher level of customization with a tool like Thunkable. "If you want to do something completely custom Thunkable you can definitely do it. I might have been able to achieve the same goal with Adalo but wasnt sure." - Drew Thomas

How might this tool not be a fit for you:

  • With higher customization comes higher learning curve.

Notes from Makers

Drew Thomas: **
**Native Mobile App – Read Drew’s full interview of what he learned

Yesterdays Weather is a native mobile app and a web app that tells you today’s weather in terms of yesterday’s. So it might say, “Today, it’s 3 degrees cooler than yesterday, but there’s less wind.�?

  • In this case, I actually chose Thunkable before I chose to make this app. I wanted to try Thunkable, and I had the weather API from before. In fact, I had Yesterdays Weather in the Apple app store a few years prior, but it had been neglected and removed. I was excited to get it back, and Thunkable could do everything I needed… third-party API data, conditionals and object manipulation, etc. Most other nocode native app builders are limited to common use cases (at least for now), but Thunkable has an entire visual coding system that makes it more robust and flexible.

  • At the time I built this, Adalo was younger and had less features. I ultimately chose Thunkable because I wanted to make something that was completely custom, and I was sure I could with Thunkable. I might have been able to achieve the same goal with Adalo, but I wasn’t sure.

Today, I’d choose Adalo for anything that’s generally straightforward (forms, databases, lists), which is probably 90% of all app ideas. I’d use Thunkable for everything beyond that, though!

  • If I look at this project as a whole… across ThunkableBubble, and Carrd… the whole thing was incredibly easy, relatively. I’ve built all of the pieces for Yesterdays Weather before… in code, in previous versions. The difference in time spent on each part (native app, web app, marketing site) is truly incredible. The Thunkable app took 2-3 days to get to 95% of what it is today. Same for the web app version in Bubble. The Carrd site was completely finished in one sitting.

I’m usually careful to not brag about short build times. Any real business or worthwhile project is a marathon, not a sprint. In this case, I just wanted to illustrate the contrast with writing code, where each of those would take weeks.

Read more about what Drew learned from his app getting rejected by the App store, what his experience was launching an app for money, and more.

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