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5 Appsmith alternatives to rapidly scale your internal tooling in 2024

The Superblocks Team

The Superblocks Team

Updated January 17, 2024

7 min read

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If you are an Appsmith user or prospect who is excited about the capabilities of an internal tooling platform, but are dissatisfied with Appsmith's functionality or performance limitations - then this article is for you.

We’ve thoroughly evaluated the top alternatives to Appsmith for 2024 by performing in-depth customer interviews and research, focusing on key decision criteria commonly used by enterprises such as product functionality, generative AI capabilities, extensibility with code, enterprise-readiness, pricing, maintenance costs, security, and customer support.

5 best Appsmith alternatives & competitors in 2024

The market for internal tooling platforms is rapidly evolving, with vendors constantly advancing their application builders as well as introducing new features around automated workflows, AI, extensibility, and more. 

In our analysis of the market, these platforms stood out as the 5 best Appsmith alternatives in 2024:

  1. Superblocks - Best enterprise-grade solution to build any internal app or automated workflow
  2. Retool - Good for teams needing basic business logic and comfortable with full on-prem deployments
  3. UI Bakery - Good for smaller teams 
  4. DronaHQ - Good for organizations on a tight budget 
  5. Budibase - Good for companies looking for an open-source no-code development platform

Rank

Company

Headquarters

Product suite

AI capabilities

Last Round Funding

Superblocks

🇺🇸  USA

Apps

Workflows

Scheduled Jobs

$37M (Aug 2022) Jobs

Retool

🇺🇸  USA

Apps

Workflows

Scheduled Jobs

$45MM (July 2022)

Appsmith

🇮🇳  India

Apps

$41MM  (June 2022)

UI Bakery

🇱🇹  Lithuania

Apps

Workflows

Scheduled Jobs

Not publicly available

DronaHQ

🇮🇳  India

Apps

Workflows

Scheduled Jobs

$0.5MM (February 2018)

BudiBase

🇬🇧  UK

Apps

Workflows

Scheduled Jobs

None

$7MM (November 2022)

What is Appsmith?

Appsmith, founded in 2019 and headquartered in India, is an open-source low-code platform that enables developers to create internal dashboards and applications. Appsmith offers a library of drag-and-drop components for building user interfaces and integrates with diverse data sources including databases, APIs, and third-party services.

Appsmith strengths

  • Component library: Appsmith has an extensive component library, allowing developers to easily craft UIs using drag-and-drop.
  • Frontend JavaScript: Developers can write JS on the frontend in Appsmith for dynamic behavior and data manipulation. 
  • Integration library: Appsmith integrates with various tools and software, including databases and APIs, aiming to simplify the process of connecting businesses with their data sources.
  • Open-source codebase: Developers have full access to review and contribute to Appsmith's entire codebase, ensuring transparency and trust. 
  • Active community collaboration: Due to its open-source nature, Appsmith features a vibrant community of developers who benefit from mutual support, shared contributions, and knowledge exchange.
  • Customizable component styling: Developers using Appsmith have the flexibility to change the appearance of components using various styling properties for a look and feel tailored to their organizations’ bespoke needs.
  • User-centric pricing: Appsmith adopts a usage-based pricing model tied to end-users of its applications. This approach is intended to allow businesses to pay only for actual usage without additional costs for developers who create applications within the platform.

Appsmith limitations

Appsmith caters to organizations seeking a low-code solution, particularly those with a strong preference for open-source software. However, businesses considering Appsmith should be prepared to compromise on performance, extensibility, and support compared to other solutions in the market. When considering Appsmith, it's essential to take into account the following key limitations:

  • Lackluster performance: In Appsmith, data processing and business logic are coded in JavaScript, running directly in the browser. This architecture confines performance to browser memory and CPU, leading to suboptimal performance when scaling.
  • Limited extensibility with code: Appsmith solely supports client-side JavaScript, restricting developers' capability to extend the platform with custom logic and functionalities beyond JavaScript. In addition, Appsmith's offering of custom components is confined to an iframe widget, rendering only raw, sandboxed HTML.
  • Absence of workflows & scheduled jobs: Appsmith lacks a built-in workflow feature, requiring businesses to engage with another vendor to manage programmatic server-side workflows.
  • Legacy on-premise deployment for self-hosting: Keeping sensitive data in your VPC with Appsmith requires installing the entire platform on-premises. This deployment method results in elevated ownership expenses, encompassing dedicated infrastructure, DevOps resources, and downtime for upgrades.
  • No US-based support: Appsmith is based in India and does not have US-based support, which is crucial to US-based enterprises.

The 5 Best Appsmith Alternatives in 2024

In 2024, among several alternatives to Appsmith, Superblocks stands out as the premier choice, surpassing rival vendors with its extensive feature set, code extensibility, self-hosted agent architecture, enterprise-readiness, scalability, and innovative AI capabilities. Retool, UI Bakery, DronaHQ, and Budibase are also alternatives to Appsmith which may be suitable for certain businesses, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.

For a feature-by-feature comparison of each vendor, see the matrix below.

1. Superblocks

Superblocks, the #1 Appsmith alternative, is an enterprise-grade low-code platform for building custom internal applications, automated workflows, and scheduled jobs effortlessly. Developers have the power to infinitely extend Superblocks with code, expedite development through an AI Copilot, self-host with ease, and deploy high-performing applications at scale. 

Strengths
Infinite Extensibility with Code: Superblocks is infinitely extensible with code, allowing developers to write complex backend APIs with NodeJS and Python, leverage Javascript on the front-end, and build custom components with React within their own IDE and filesystem.
Architected for Enterprise Scale & Performance: Superblocks application front-ends are multi-threaded for smooth UI rendering, while back-end queries scale elastically with on-demand cloud compute - critical for the enterprise.
Generative AI Native: The context-aware Superblocks AI Copilot supercharges development, with support to generate, explain, and debug SQL, JavaScript, Python, JSON, and HTML, as well as integrate with REST APIs.
Self-Hosted Agent Architecture: The Superblocks On-Premise Agent is lightweight, stateless, simple to deploy, and new App Builder features are instantly available from the cloud, while ensuring that customer data never leaves your network.
Production Monitoring & Observability: Superblocks integrates with observability providers like Datadog, Splunk and New Relic, so you can view metrics, traces, and logs within your preferred provider.
Real-Time Streaming Apps: Superblocks natively supports event-driven architectures like Kafka, Confluent, and Kinesis, enabling developers to operationalize real-time insights without any streaming expertise.
Weaknesses
Newer Entrant: Superblocks was founded in 2021. However, Superblocks has seen rapid growth, having raised $37,000,000 in a Series A round led by Kleiner Perkins.
No Support for Native Mobile Apps: Superblocks does not support building native mobile applications for iOS or Android. However, Superblocks does support building mobile-responsive web applications.
User Analytics in Private Beta: The ability to view user analytics for usage of your applications, such as number of views, time spent in an app, and more is currently in private beta, as of January 2024.
No Air-Gapped Deployments: Superblocks does not support an air-gapped deployment model, as businesses self-host Superblocks with an agent architecture rather than a legacy on-premise model.
Strengths
Unlimited extensibility with code: Superblocks is infinitely extensible with code. Developers can write complex backend APIs with NodeJS or Python, leverage Javascript on the front-end, and build custom components with React within their own IDE and filesystem.
Enterprise scalability and high performance: Front-ends for Superblocks apps are multi-threaded for smooth UI performance, and back-end queries scale elastically with on-demand cloud compute - critical for the enterprise.
Comprehensive AI: The context-aware Superblocks AI Copilot supports developers with the ability to generate, explain, and debug SQL, JavaScript, Python, JSON, and HTML, and integrate with REST APIs.
Lightweight on-premise agent: The Superblocks On-Premise Agent is lightweight, stateless, and simple to deploy. New App Builder features are made instantly available from the cloud, all while customer data never leaves the network to deploy, and new App Builder features are instantly available from the cloud, while ensuring that customer data never leaves your network.
Production monitoring & observability: Superblocks integrates with observability providers like Datadog, Splunk, and New Relic, so users can view metrics, traces, and logs within users’ preferred provider.
Real-time streaming apps: Superblocks natively supports event-driven architectures like Kafka, Confluent, and Kinesis, enabling developers to operationalize real-time insights without any streaming expertise.
Weaknesses
Newer entrant: Superblocks was founded in 2021. However, Superblocks has seen rapid growth, having raised $37M in a Series A round led by Kleiner Perkins.
No support for native mobile apps: Superblocks doesn’t support native mobile applications for iOS or Android. However, Superblocks does support building mobile-responsive web apps.
User analytics in private beta: The ability to view user analytics for usage of users' applications, such as number of views, time spent in an app, and more is currently in private beta, as of February 2024.
No air-gapped deployments: Superblocks does not support an air-gapped deployment model, as businesses self-host Superblocks with an agent architecture rather than a legacy on-premise model.

Conclusion: Superblocks is the #1 alternative to Appsmith and remains the only vendor offering a fully-featured low-code internal tooling platform without limits. Notable benefits of Superblocks compared to Appsmith include:

  • Complete extensibility with code: Superblocks supports React, JS, Node, & Python and provides full extensibility with React. Appsmith’s custom components rely on a single HTML file, with web-based imports limited to an iframe.
  • Scalable architecture and better performance: Application front-ends in Superblocks are multi-threaded for smooth UI rendering, while back-end queries scale elastically with on-demand cloud compute. Appsmith JS queries are executed in the browser, and are limited by browser CPU & memory, resulting in high latency for large apps.
  • Drastically less overhead when self-hosting: Superblocks offers a lightweight on-premise Agent, that is simple to deploy and provides access to new features instantly from the cloud. Self-hosted Appsmith offers legacy on-premise deployment, requiring dedicated infrastructure and DevOps upgrades with required downtime to address bug fixes or new features.
  • Production monitoring & observability: Superblocks integrates natively with observability providers including Datadog, Splunk, and New Relic, to provide visibility into metrics, traces, and logs from internal tools within users’ preferred provider. Appsmith does not have native observability integrations, leaving users blind when errors arise.
  • Support for real-time streaming apps: Superblocks has native integrations with streaming platforms like Kafka, Kinesis, Confluent, OpenAI, making it easy to build apps for real-time fraud alerting, live gameplay dashboards, best-in-class AI chatbots, and more. Appsmith lacks support for streaming, preventing organizations from utilizing real-time insights.
  • Best-in-class customer support: Superblocks offers exceptional support across all tiers - customers consistently highlight responsiveness and dedication to customer satisfaction in G2 testimonials. Appsmith is based in India and does not offer US-based support - often critical to US-based enterprises.
Compare Superblocks vs Appsmith

2. Retool

Retool was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in San Francisco. Retool offers products to build internal web apps, automated workflows, and native mobile applications. Retool also supports embedding web apps into external websites, as well as a hosted PostgreSQL database.

Strengths
Drag-and-drop editor: Retool’s drag-and-drop editor makes it easy for any user to build frontends.
Integrates with databases and APIs: Developers can connect to any data sources by leveraging Retool’s library of 50+ databases and SaaS platforms.
Automated workflows: Retool Workflows allow businesses to quickly build automations that replace manual scripts and cron jobs. These workflows can be event-driven or run on a schedule.
Frontend JavaScript: Developers can use JavaScript in app frontends to customize component behavior and manipulate data.
AI features: Retool offers built-in AI functionality to connect to AI models like ChatGPT from apps and workflows, as well as a managed vector database to store unstructured text for use in AI. Retool also offers pair programming via an AI assistant for JavaScript, SQL, and GraphQL.
Weaknesses
Performance bottlenecks: Retool apps suffer from lacking performance due to browser-based code execution, single-step queries, and lack of global edge caching.
Limited code extensibility: Retool code extensibility is limited due to a lack of language support beyond JavaScript in applications as well as limited support for writing custom components.
Legacy on-premise deployment: Retool's legacy on-premise deployment is resource-intensive due to DevOps, infra, and downtime costs. It also inhibits businesses from accessing new features without a lengthy upgrade period.
Lack of observability: Retool does not integrate natively with observability providers like Datadog, Splunk, or New Relic, preventing developers from detecting errors and viewing aggregated data from their apps and production environments.
No support for real-time streaming apps: Retool does not support streaming, preventing organizations from empowering ops teams with real-time insights.
Security breach in August 2023: Retool had a significant data breach in August 2023, with many customers’ accounts being compromised, resulting in leakage of sensitive data and reported losses of up to $15MM for a single customer.

Conclusion: Retool’s offering to build web apps is competitive with Appsmith’s, and its workflow features, AI capabilities, and US-based team may make it preferable for US-based enterprises. However, like Appsmith, Retool struggles with performance issues from browser-based execution as well as limited extensibility in code, posing roadblocks to developers. Additionally, the legacy on-premise deployment model when self-hosting Retool may make it prohibitively expensive to own and operate. Budibase emerges as an alternative to Appsmith, particularly for organizations that prefer open source but are also seeking a stronger out-of-the-box and no-code approach. It offers an extensive component library and templates that let users get started right away.

Compare Superblocks vs Retool head-to-head

3. UI Bakery

UI Bakery was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Lithuania. UI Bakery secures the third position. Besides an application builder, UI Bakery offers comprehensive support for workflows and scheduled jobs. With its backing for multi-step application APIs, businesses can develop intricate business logic seamlessly. The UI Bakery team, consisting of approximately 10 employees, is based out of Lithuania.

Strengths
Controlled costs at scale: UI Bakery’s pricing is reasonably affordable and costs are controlled at scale, with their premium offering being priced at a flat rate of $250/month for unlimited single-access users.
Automated workflows & scheduled jobs: UI Bakery offers a workflow builder that can run workflows by triggering webhooks or by scheduling cron-like jobs.
Multi-step APIs: Developers can build APIs that execute on multiple steps, minimizing overhead and making the application’s logic easier to understand and debug.
Python support: UI Bakery supports Python which runs server-side to provide greater flexibility to developers.
Weaknesses
No support for streaming: UI Bakery's lack of real-time data streaming support is a notable drawback for those needing dynamic data handling, which is particularly limiting for IoT and applications that require real-time analytics.
Legacy on-prem deployment: UI Bakery requires a legacy on-premise deployment that can lead to increased maintenance costs and complexity, resulting in challenges for businesses requiring agile and up-to-date solutions.
Minimal resources to support enterprises: UI Bakery currently has <15 employees on Linkedin and no publicly available funding or financial information.
No US -based support: UI Bakery’s team is based in Lithuania and does not have US-based support, which is often critical to US-based enterprises.

Conclusion: UI Bakery is a basic low-code solution with strengths in cost, automated workflows, multi-step APIs, and Python support for enhanced flexibility. However, it faces limitations such as no support for real-time data streaming, reliance on a less flexible legacy on-premise deployment model, limited resources for enterprise-level support, and lack of US-based customer service. These factors position UI Bakery as a feasible option for certain scenarios, while also presenting challenges for larger, more dynamic enterprise environments.

4. DronaHQ

DronaHQ was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in India. Claiming the fourth position, DronaHQ offers a specialized set of features at a lower price point. DronaHQ offers an application solution with a variety of built-in components, along with a workflow and scheduled job builder. Notably, DronaHQ's pricing structure adopts a flat-rate model, treating developers and end-users alike.

Strengths
Low price per developer: On a per-developer pricing structure, DronaHQ is a cheaper alternative with a flat fee per user and does not distinguish between developers and end-users.
Workflows & scheduled jobs: DronaHQ offers an action builder to support automated workflows and scheduled jobs.
Broad component library: DronaHQ offers 150+ built-in components that streamlines app development by offering diverse building blocks for easy customization and accelerated productivity.
Native mobile apps: DronaHQ provides a dedicated offering for building native mobile apps in addition to web-based applications.
Weaknesses
Limited extensibility with code: DronaHQ's limited code extensibility includes the absence of Python support and no custom components, which can be a drawback for engineering teams that require more flexibility.
Legacy on-prem deployment: DronaHQ requires a legacy deployment model for on-prem which results in difficulty in updating to new software versions, higher maintenance costs, and potential issues with scalability and accessibility.
Inflexible per-user pricing: DronaHQ’s flat rate per user does not distinguish between developers and viewers of tools, resulting in a higher bill for organizations with many viewers of internal tools. Additional core capabilities are also locked with hidden add-on costs.
No US-based support: US-based Enterprises typically require US-based customer support and DronaHQ’s support team is not US-based.

Conclusion: DronaHQ offers an alternative internal tooling platform with an app builder, automated workflows, and scheduled jobs support. However, it's not as feature-rich as Appsmith and is seen as less user-friendly. While its pricing doesn't differentiate between developers and end-users, DronaHQ's flat per-user cost makes it a budget-friendly option for organizations with more developers than end-users.

5. Budibase

Budibase was founded in 2019 and is headquartered in the United Kingdom. Budibase is a no-code open source internal tooling platform offering automated workflows, a component library, and significant out-of-the-box capabilities to help get users up and running; it may lack the richness found in other platforms.

Strengths
Open source accessibility: Budibase provides developers with open access to its codebase, promoting transparency, security, and collaboration of the platform.
Extensive component library: Budibase's component library utilizes Adobe's Spectrum and offers an out-of-the-box approach to UI design, making it easy for users to get started.
Automation with multi-step APIs: Budibase's Automation simplifies backend processes, enabling actions like email alerts based on data changes or conditions. It facilitates integration with external platforms for data exchange, improving operational efficiency with little manual effort.
Native mobile apps: Budibase's pre-built templates are building blocks that expedite development by offering ready-to-use designs and features for quick application deployment.
Weaknesses
Full on-premise deployment: Budibase's requires a significant on-premise installation. This can hinder businesses from obtaining timely updates and security enhancements, leading to a higher total cost of ownership, especially for enterprises with strict data security needs.
No version control: Budibase does not offer version control for Git which means developers can’t create, preview, or revert back to different versions of their applications within the platform.
Lack of observability: Budibase does not have native observability integrations with providers like Datadog, Splunk, or New Relic, which prevents developers from easily detecting issues across all of their applications.
No AI-copilot: Within Budibase, developers miss out on valuable assistance and speed of development with a lack of code generation, error detection, and optimization, which can slow down the app development process.

Conclusion: Budibase emerges as an alternative to Appsmith, particularly for organizations that prefer open source but are also seeking a stronger out-of-the-box and no-code approach. It offers an extensive component library and templates that let users get started right away.

Feature Breakdown by Low-Code Vendor

Retool

Superblocks

Appsmith

UI Bakery

DronaHQ

Budibase

Pricing

Pricing

Pricing Model

Per Creator, User

Per Creator, User

Per Hour Per
User

Flat Monthly Rate

Per User

Per Creator, User

No Self-Hosted Fees

No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Application Builder

Drag & Drop App Builder

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Integrate with any Database or API

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Multi-Step Application APIs

No
Yes
No
Yes
No
No

Build Streaming Applications

No
Yes
No
No
No
No

Native Mobile Apps

Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No

Open Source Execution Engine

No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes

Workflows & Scheduled Jobs

Build Webhooks with Workflows

Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes

Execute Scheduled Jobs

Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes

Build API Endpoints with Workflows

No
Yes
No
No
No
Yes

Intuitive Visual Builder for Business Logic

No
Yes
No

Limited

No
Yes

Self-Host Workflows Without Additional Overhead

No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No

Extensibility with Code

Write Frontend JS

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Write Backend Code with NodeJS

Workflows Only

Yes
No

Workflows Only

Workflows Only

Workflows Only

Write Backend Python

Workflows Only

Yes
No
Yes
No
No

Build Fully-Featured Custom
Components with React

No
Yes
No
No
No
No

Build Custom Integrations

No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes

Performance

Fast Query Performance on Large
Datasets

No
Yes
No

Limited

No
No

Global Edge Caching Network

No
Yes
No
No
No
No

Generative AI

User-Friendly AI Integrations

Yes
Yes
No

Limited

Copilot for Code

JavaScript, SQL

JavaScript,
Python, SQL, JSON, HTML

JavaScript, SQL

No

SQL

No

Copilot for REST API Calls

No
Yes
No
No
No
No

Generate Mock Data with AI

No
Yes
No
No
No
No

Enterprise Security

Granular Permissions (RBAC)

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

SSO / SAML

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

SCIM

Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Yes

Audit Logs

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Secrets Manager Integrations

Self-Hosted Only

Yes
No
No
No
No

Security Extensions

No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes

Security Auditability

No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes

Software Development Lifecycle

Commits & Previews

Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No

Source Control with Git for Both Cloud & Self-Hosted

Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No

Integrate with Multiple VPCs through a
Single Deployment

No
Yes
No
No
No
No

Production Observability

No
Yes
No
No
No
No

Hosting

Keep Data in Customer's Network

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

US & EU Cloud Hosting

US & EU Hosting Regions

US & EU Hosting Regions

US-only

Not disclosed

Not disclosed

EU-only

Self-Hosted Deployment Effort

High (Legacy On-Premise)

Negligible (Lightweight Stateless Agent)

High (Legacy On-Premise)

High (Legacy On-Premise)

High (Legacy On-Premise)

High (Legacy On-Premise)

Platform Upgrade Effort

High (Full upgrades with downtime required to access new features, critical security and bug fixes)

Negligible (New App Builder features available instantly from Cloud)

High (Full upgrades with downtime required to access new features, critical security and bug fixes)

High (Full upgrades with downtime required to access new features, critical security and bug fixes)

High (Full upgrades with downtime required to access new features, critical security and bug fixes)

High (Full upgrades with downtime required to access new features, critical security and bug fixes)

Enterprise Support

In-App Live Chat with Technical Support Engineer

No
Yes
No
No
No
No

Extended Support Hours

No
Yes
No
No
No
No

Recognized by G2 for Best Support

No
Yes
No
No
No
No

Superblocks - The #1 Appsmith Alternative

Superblocks is the top alternative to Appsmith, providing the only fully-featured low-code internal tooling platform without limitations. Unlike Appsmith, Superblocks enables businesses to enhance tools with custom code, self-host efficiently, build real-time streaming apps, and deliver high-performance apps at scale – all while ensuring cost-effective scalability across the organization. Start your app development journey with Superblocks today!

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