Until now, AppGyver was mostly known for its app prototyping tools and Steroid.js, a command-line based tool for quickly building HTML5 apps. Today, the company is bringing both of these ideas together with the public beta launch of Composer, a drag-and-drop HTML5 app builder that can work with data from any REST API and integrates with popular backend services and tools like Facebook’s Parse, Built.io and Kimono Labs.
The company is targeting this service at developers who want to quickly bootstrap a mobile hybrid app.
I’ve been testing the service, which has been in private beta for a while now, for the last few days and its interface is indeed very easy to use and self-explanatory for the most part. While it suffers from the same kind of problem that most visual editors like this do in that you sometimes want to do things the system simply can’t accommodate, the list of tools is exhaustive enough to allow you to at least create a working prototype of an app quickly.
From there, you can always export your app and work on it in a more full-blown HTML5 development environment. The apps are based on Google’s AngularJS, the Ionic HTML5 hybrid app framework and PhoneGap, as well as AppGyver’s own Steroids, which forms the basis of much of the service.
One nice feature of the service is that you can generate a QR code for your app, scan it from AppGyver’s mobile app and then see all of the changes you make in development on your phone in real time.
So far, the company’s users have created about 10,000 mobile apps with its existing tools. The Composer feature will likely bring its services to a much wider range of users — including those who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves developers.
With this launch, AppGyver is entering an increasingly crowded field for drag-and-drop app builders. They vary greatly in quality and depth, but this is definitely a field where standing out is becoming very hard for newcomers. AppGyver’s tool, however, hits the right balance between complexity (in large parts thanks to its backend integrations) and ease of use.
Composer will be available for free during the beta period, which the company expects to last until at least the third quarter of this year. Even after that, though, the company will continue to offer a free tier.