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AndroidKodular

Build Android and iOS Apps without Coding with Kodular and Thunkable

Build Apps without Coding

Developing Android apps was not so easy ever as it is today. With the advent of Google’s Blockly library and MIT App Inventor 2 one can make amazing android apps without knowing a single line of code. With Blockly one can write complex code just by connecting blocks of code with other suitable ones and see one's ideas in action.

App Inventor for Android was originally made available by Google as an open source project in 2011. After that, the MIT Center for Mobile Learning developed its own version of App Inventor with the help of Google. The MIT version was launched in 2012. In 2013, MIT released an improved version of App Inventor and named it MIT App Inventor 2. In the meantime, Blockly editor was being developed for app inventor which could run within the browser. In MIT App Inventor 2, OpenBlocks was replaced with Blockly. It made the app inventor easy to use within a web browser. However, later the horizon of Blockly was expanded and it became an independent library. At present Blockly editor is being used with many other tools (like Blockly Games, Microsoft MakeCode, Micro:bit etc.) apart from MIT App Inventor 2.

Blockly Editor
Blockly Editor for App Inventor
The MIT App Inventor 2 comes with MIT AI2 Companion Android App using which users can test their apps in realtime with Wifi or USB connection. App Inventor consists of two things: Components and Blocks. With components, one can design the user interface and with blocks, one can program the functionality of an app.

App Inventor 2 also added support for third-party extensions to add more functionality and features to developed apps. Many third-party extensions were developed which became popular among users.

The motto of MIT App Inventor -
Anyone can build apps that impact the World.

With the gaining popularity of MIT AI2 many new tools like Thunkable, Kodular etc. were developed. These tools were basically a spin-off of the App Inventor 2 Open Source Project. Nevertheless, these tools offered many new features and components as compared to MIT AI2. While Thunkable gives the ability to develop cross-platform apps for iOS and Android, Kodular has an unmatchable number of components and features. These two tools surpassed the functionality of MIT AI2 by a great extent.

We are going to discuss the features and functionality of Thunkable and Kodular in detail and try to find out in which sphere one is better than the other.

Thunkable

Thunkable

Thunkable is a cross-platform and a closed source tool based on the MIT App Inventor 2. The apps developed with Thunkable can be exported to work on Android and iOS. So, no need to develop apps for Android and iOS separately.

Like MIT AI2, Thunkable also comes with a companion app called Thunkable Live for both, Android and iOS, to test and debug apps in real time. But unlike AI2 Companion, it does not require you to scan a QR code. It just connects automatically by recognizing your Google Account.

The interface design is more focused on iOS, so users may find trouble if they want material design for their apps.

Regular updates are provided for Thunkable. The updates are more focused on fixing bugs and improving stability than adding new features and components. It may disappoint some of the users but it is good for the stability of the apps developed with it.
Thunkable Designer
Thunkable Creator
One great thing that Thunkable provides is comprehensive documentation and official video tutorials. This teaches and motivates users to create good apps with Thunkable.

One feature that has been removed in Thunkable is the ability to export project file (.aia) to PC as a backup.

Thunkable also offers AdMob and Payment by Stripe components through which one can monetize one's app. But it charges 5% of the ad revenue generated by the app as maintenance fees. However, nothing is charged for free or ad-free apps.

All the apps developed in Thunkable are automatically listed in the public gallery of Thunkable. From there other users can test your apps, check your code or use your project as a template for their apps. This is good for collaborative development but for a professional who wants to keep his code private, this is not good at all.

So, to keep ones project private one have to sign up for the Pro Membership. Yes, there are other benefits of Pro Membership as well, like the ability to customize the splash screen. By default, all the apps developed with Thunkable will show Thunkable logo in the splash screen. The pricing of Pro Membership can be found here.

Kodular

Kodular

Kodular (formerly known as Makeroid) is another popular closed source spin-off of MIT App Inventor 2. At present, Kodular supports app development only for Android. However, MIT AI2 developers are working to add support for iOS as well. So, maybe in future Kodular will also support cross-platform app development. This was one of the reasons for changing its name from Makeroid to Kodular.

Kodular also comes with a Kodular Companion app like App Inventor but is more polished and well designed. Users can connect by scanning QR Code from Kodular Creator and test their apps in real time.

Kodular comes with an attractive and clean user interface. It fully supports Android Material design. So designing Android apps with material themes is a breeze.

One of the main features of Kodular is that it has lots of features. With every update, new features and components are added. With the availability of a large number of components, users can create complex and professional apps. With other features, it also provides the facility to add in-app purchases to apps.
Kodular Creator
Kodular Creator
Kodular is free and will forever be free to use, its website claims. However, if users implement AdMob Ads in their apps for monetization then Kodular will charge some commission. The commission may vary from 5% to 20% depending upon the complexity of the apps. Yet, users can use other ad components (like Facebook Ads, Chameleon Ad, Amazon Ads, In-App Billing etc.) and won’t be charged a penny.

Unlike Thunkable, Kodualr offers the facility to export Kodular projects and screens as AIA and AIS files respectively. So, in Kodular users can easily backup their projects.

Again, unlike Thunkable, Kodular doesn’t make the free users’ projects public. Hence, users can peacefully work on their private projects. Kodular also has its own Kodular Store where users can publish their apps and get feedback from other users.
Kodular Modules
Kodular Modules
Apart from giving a platform for Android app creation, Kodular also provides a facility to create extensions for Kodular Creator. The platform is called Extensions IDE. Users can also share their extensions through Kodular Store.

The Documentation of Kodular is not fully complete yet. They keep adding new components but do not care much to add corresponding documentation. Hence, it sometimes becomes difficult for new users to catch up with new components. Also, there is no official tutorial available like that of Thunkable. However, there are many unofficial Kodular tutorials available on Youtube. We will also offer Kodular tutorials through our Official Youtube Channel.

Video

Check out this video for live demo of each tool:


Conclusion

Apart from Kodular and Thunkable, there are many other tools available. But only these two tools are significantly better than MIT App Inventor 2. The communities of both these tools are amazing and very helpful. The choice of the tool between Thunkable and Kodular mostly depends on the needs of users. If anyone wants to make an app for Android and iOS both then he can choose Thunkable. If anyone wants to make a complex android app with lots of features, then he can go with Kodular. Hence, we leave the choice of the tool to the readers themselves.

Image Source:
Banner Image: Freepik
Other Images: Screenshots from kodular.io and thunkable.com

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