Low-code/no-code platforms like Appsmith and Retool are becoming increasingly popular. They simplify application development especially of internal tools and open it up to a wider audience. Appsmith, with its open-source approach, and Retool, known for its simplicity, are at the forefront of this movement. The surge in interest towards these platforms necessitates a well-rounded comparison – “Retool vs Appsmith” enabling developers and organizations to make informed choices.
Before we get started lets look at what exactly are Internal tools. They are internally-facing software that is developed and utilized within an organization to improve processes and operations1. These tools can range from database graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to employee wikis and are highly tailored to an organization’s processes.
Internal management systems and tracking tools, for instance, are integral to keeping an organization well-oiled and effective at what they do. These tools help in managing various organizational processes, tracking progress, and ensuring that tasks are completed efficiently.
Appsmith is a prominent open-source low-code platform that simplifies application development through its user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. Its core features include a range of pre-built templates and widgets, as well as the ability to integrate with various databases and REST APIs. This level of customization makes it a flexible choice for building bespoke applications. Furthermore, Appsmith has a strong community support system, with forums, documentation, and tutorials readily available to aid both novice and seasoned developers through their development journey, showcasing the platform’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive user ecosystem.
Retool is a low-code platform known for its intuitive design and robust integration capabilities. Its core features include a drag-and-drop interface, pre-built templates, and extensive data source integrations, enabling swift application development. Retool is recognized for its ease of use, making the platform accessible to a broad range of users. Its robust integrations with over 50 different data sources, including databases and APIs, make it a powerful tool for building complex applications. With a strong focus on enterprise needs, Retool provides granular permission controls and other security features, catering to businesses requiring a secure and collaborative development environment.
Five also provides a comprehensive suite of tools for database management, business logic implementation, and hassle-free deployment. This contrasts with Appsmith’s open-source community-driven approach and Retool’s enterprise-focused integrations. Five’s one-click deployment, alongside its built-in MySQL database and ability to connect to multiple data sources, may present a more streamlined solution for businesses looking to rapidly deploy applications while maintaining a high level of customization and control.
All are great for building nearly whatever internal tool you wish – so the main consideration should be pricing.
Pricing is the language that everyone speaks – here are the pricing models for Retool, Appsmith, and Five.
|Features / Plans
|Free: $0/month (Up to 5 users, 500 workflow runs/month, 5GB storage)
|Community: Free (Unlimited users, Versioning with Git, 3 repos)
|Entry Level Plan
|Basic: $29.99/month (1 Developer, 3GB Storage, 1 deployed environment)
|Team: $10-$12/month/user (Staging environment, >5 users, 5,000 workflow runs/month)
|Business: $0.40/hour/user (capped at $20/user/month, Unlimited repos, Audit logs)
|Team: $99.99/month (2 Developers, 20GB Storage, 2 deployed environments)
|Business: $50-$65/month/user (Audit logging, Unlimited environments)
|(No specific mid-level plan mentioned)
|Business: $279.99/month (3 Developers, 100GB Storage, 2 deployed environments)
|(No specific high-level plan mentioned)
|(No specific high-level plan mentioned)
|Custom Infrastructure, Enterprise Support, Enterprise-Grade Disaster Recovery
|(Custom pricing available upon request)
|(Custom pricing available upon request)
|Ranges from 3GB to 100GB based on plan
|5GB on free plan, further details not provided
Among the three platforms, Five emerges as the most cost-effective solution for teams looking for a fixed monthly fee per application with unlimited end-user access.
Note: Easiest to use doesn’t necessarily mean its the best fit for your needs.
While all three offer a degree of ease in setup and use, they cater to slightly different audiences and have unique selling points that affect the user experience and learning curve for new users.
Retool is known for its robust set of integrations and strong enterprise focus, which might appeal to organizations with existing systems in place. Its user interface is designed to be intuitive, enabling users to drag and drop components to design their apps. However, users might need a basic understanding of SQL and coding to make the most out of Retool.
On the other hand, Appsmith provides a straightforward setup process and a user-friendly interface, which can be advantageous for individuals new to app development. It prides itself on ease of use, customization options, and community support. The platform’s community support can be particularly beneficial for new users as they navigate through the setup process and learn to use the platform effectively.
Five, though tailored more towards developers, strives to simplify the development process with features like a visual database builder and one-click deployment. The platform’s user community can be a resource for new users to learn and get accustomed to the platform. Furthermore, Five offers a balance between ease of use and advanced functionalities, making it a viable option for both novice and experienced developers.
In essence, the ease of use and setup across these platforms can vary based on the user’s prior experience and the specific needs of the project at hand.
The “Appsmith vs Retool vs Five” discussion extends to customization and extensibility. Each offer a unique set of features catering to developers looking to build and deploy applications with varying levels of customization and extensibility.
Similar to Retool, Appsmith provides a drag-and-drop interface to build applications, along with a code editor for custom logic. It supports a plethora of widgets and integrations, enabling developers to customize the UI and backend interactions. It also offers a self-hosted version, giving more control over the setup and further customization possibilities
Here’s a summary of user reviews and ratings for Appsmith vs Retool based on information from various sites:
Using Five, we’ve been able to take a new approach to the way we manage and develop digital products at Canstar: the platform’s ability to allow quick testing and iterations has empowered us to solve problems and deliver new functionality for clients with innovative low-code technology.Paul Duggan – CEO, Canstar Gold
Five took away a lot of headaches of frontend development by providing a highly customizable UI and navbar alongside a MySQL database. A literal lifesaver for software developers.Shweta Kale – Software Developer
I wanted to rebuild and update an application previously built with React and AWS Amplify on Five. To my surprise, I could replicate the application with much less effort using all the available prebuild components provided in Five. Also, kudos to the support team behind Five who went above and beyond in providing detailed explanations in the documentation and community forum.Nebiyu Elias – Software Engineer
The choice between Appsmith vs Retool vs Five hinges on your project needs and budget constraints. For comprehensive pre-deployment testing with cost-effectiveness upon deployment, Five stands out. All are great for building your internal tool so its therefore advised that you delve into each platform, leveraging the free tiers or trial versions they offer, to get a hands-on feel of what aligns best with your objectives.