The Bottom Line: Softr is a great no-code app builder for people who want to build a simple app and have their own database. However, the platform does come with some limitations. 

長所:

  • Softr has a variety of premade page templates and components (Softr calls these components “blocks”) for quick app building.
  • AI features let you generate your own app fast; you can customize parts of it to your taste before publishing. 
  • Softr comes equipped with effective SEO capabilities. 

短所:

  • Softr can only make PWAs, not fully-native mobile apps. 
  • Limited design freedom.
  • You must bring your own database to build your app. 

Pricing: Softr has a free version with enough tools to build a simple app. The Basic Version at $59/month allows up to 1,000 external users, and the Professional Version at $167/month gives you a branded app suitable for small businesses. 

What is Softr?

Softr is a no-code app builder that lets you create your app by selecting a template using an intuitive building method that lets you select premade “blocks” to build your app. These blocks are essentially premade designs, features, and integrations. 

Here are some of the components that Softr blocks can bring to your app:

  • Sign-up forms
  • Basic screen layouts, like an app homepage, about us page, etc. 
  • Stripe billing portal
  • Google sign In 
  • Kanban and CRM Boards
  • Sales funnels 
  • Charts, graphs, and data analysis tools
  • Google map integration 
  • …and many, many more

Softr can only make progressive web apps (PWAs). These are apps that function exactly like a mobile app that you download to your phone, but they’re actually websites that you access from a browser. While you can optimize a PWA for Google, you can’t publish it in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. 

This is a limitation if you want to make your app available to a wider audience on the app stores. 

Once you have selected your template, you’ll need to connect your own database - which is a hurdle to those who want a “plug and play” no-code app builder. Unlike other no-code app builders, Softr does not come with its own database, which is another limitation that first-time app builders may find difficult to overcome. 

Softr integrates with 4 databases only: Google Sheets, Airtable, HubSpot Beta, and Smart Suite Beta. This is yet another limitation, as people unfamiliar with how to set up a database and properly integrate one will have to take the time and read through a tutorial before building their app with Softr. 

When you’re ready to start building your app, you can easily add new pages and build out features. Use the vertical dashboard on the left-hand side to select the page you want to work on.  

You’ll be able to link information directly from your database to the blocks you select. This simply puts information from your database into your app. For instance, if you are building an app for your restaurant, you’ll link your restaurant’s data, like menu items, pictures, and prices, from your database to its appropriate block so your app’s users will see that information. 

Linking your database to your app and distributing the data to blocks comes with a learning curve, so beginners will need to watch a few tutorial videos and read up on some guides. Luckily, the Softr Academy has got you covered - you just need the time to go through the tutorial. 

Once you figure out how the blocks work, you’ll find that the block-based interface does have some limitations. You can only adjust the placement of a picture or text box to a few predetermined positions on your app screen. Unlike other app builders, there’s no room for free-form adjustments. 

A Few Softr Features I Liked:  

  • While Softr has a solid number of templates for specialized apps, skip selecting a template entirely and generate your own template using Softr’s AI. Just enter a prompt of up to 200 words, and Softr will generate a template to your liking. This AI feature is a great jump-start for those wanting to build an app in a hurry.
  • Softr provides an SEO tool to help get your app in front of web users. This tool automatically indexes your app to Google, writes a meta description for search engines, and makes sure keywords are properly placed.  
  • Softr’s AI text generator is a huge help. In a prompt, I described what I wanted written in my app’s text boxes. After it generated the text, I gave the words a quick polish. This feature helped me power through the haze of writer’s block. 

Is Softr Right For You? 

Softr is an app builder that has a limited audience. Select Softr if: 

  • You’re a business owner or entrepreneur with a pre-existing database that you want to use to build out internal tools for enhancing your business’s operations. 
  • You know exactly how you want your app to appear and what functions you want to add on. 
  • You don’t feel constrained by limited design freedom - you just want it to look good.  
  • You want to run your app as a website and get it in front of a wider audience using SEO.

However, you should consider other app builders if:

  • You need to run your app as a native mobile app that can be downloaded directly from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. 
  • You don’t have experience with databases, and you don’t have the time to learn how to create one and connect it to Softr. 
  • You want a tool that gives you more design freedom.     

What Kind of Apps Can I Build with Softr?

If you know your way around a database, Softr excels at building internal tools for businesses, and it’s a great platform for building out complete websites (it has templates specifically designed for website building) - but you’ll always need to bring your own database. 

Softr is ideal for building apps for internal business use, such as data analysis and project management tools, CRM systems, and more. While it doesn’t have the design freedom of other app builders, Softr also works well at building apps that list and maintain products, like an online store or directory.

If you need a lot of design freedom, Softr is not a good fit. In this case, your ideal app builder should be one that prioritizes ease of design. You need to remember that you can’t create native mobile apps with Softr - only PWAs. 

Softr Pricing: Is it worth it?   

For those building internal business apps with limited users, Softr is a great value for your money. The subscription costs are based on your number of internal users (part of your organization) and external users (either people who’ve signed up to use your app or clients you’ve onboarded).

The free version provides access to enough tools and features that will give you and your users a good feel for what more robust versions can bring. It generously allows you to create unlimited apps to experiment with. You get up to 5 internal/100 external users. 

The Basic Version, at $59/month, gives you up to 10 internal/1,000 external users. A special feature here is the ability to embed your Softr apps on other websites - if you want to build a sign-in portal for your wine social network and embed it on affiliated sites, Softr’s Basic Version has got you covered.  

The most popular Professional Version, at $167/month, is specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses with up to 50 internal/5,000 external users. It meets the needs of small and medium-sized businesses by providing tools for building complex Kanban Charts and CRM systems

Softr accommodates big teams with 100 internal/10,000 external users with its Business Plan at $323/month. You’ll get features like SMS login and the ability to download your apps to mobile devices using a link. 

If you’re a massive company and need customized features at gigantic proportions, contact Softr directly for Enterprise Pricing. Softr doesn’t advertise its enterprise pricing, but it will likely be in the $1,000s/month

Softr alternatives: What other tools should you try?

Softr is a great choice for building out apps for a small and medium-sized business. Other app builders exist that work well for individuals and entrepreneurs, too. Take a look at these no-code app builders:  

  • Adalo, an app builder that offers tons of integrations, native mobile apps, and a seamless drag-and-drop interface.    
  • GoodBarber, an easy-to-learn, no-code mobile app builder that’s so intuitive that you can start building your app right out of the box. 
  • Bravo Studio, a design-focused no-code app builder that allows you to transform your Figma designs into gorgeous apps.  

評決 

The gavel has struck the bench! What’s my verdict on Softr? - should you avoid it, shortlist it, or drop everything you’re doing and sign up now? 

If you’re a small business with a database and need to build business tools for internal operations, sign straight up to Softr. You’ll be able to immediately plug your database into Softr so you can start building your tools right out of the box. 

If you know your way around a database but aren’t sure how you want your app to look or function, you should shortlist Softr. After spending some time scrolling through Softr’s massive templates and block libraries, you’ll probably get an idea of what kind of app you want to build with Softr. 

If you need design freedom or want to build a native mobile app, check out Adalo, a no-code native mobile app builder that offers heaps of design freedom. 

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