Setting Our Sites on Web Apps

The first half of 2022 was huge for Adalo. It’s been our most productive year ever! We’ve launched a ton of top maker requests and improvements:

We’ve been on a roll with launches, and lots of folks are asking us the same question: What’s next!? What are we going to do with the second half of the year?

The answer is, of course, a lot! One of the initiatives we’re most excited about though is what we’re calling “Web Apps 2.0.” We firmly believe that Adalo is the best way to build a mobile app without coding and we’ve spent the vast majority of our time and energy making sure that’s the case. But we want to go bigger. Literally.

We want Adalo to be the best way to build an app for ANY device or screen size.
We’re seeing more and more makers build amazing desktop web apps with Adalo and we want to ensure that experience is up to par with our mobile app building tools, so we’re going to go big and spend the next six months investing in web app improvements.

Here’s a high-level overview of what we have planned for web apps in 2022. Keep in mind that plans change as we do more research and start building. That’s how the process works! But this is our current thinking…

Responsive Layout Constraints
To build apps that look good on both desktop and mobile, you need much more control over how components adapt based on the user’s screen size. Now, responsive design is an enormous topic that covers so many different things. We don’t want to disappear for a year as we rebuild our layout engine from scratch. Instead, we want to start making incremental improvements here that give you increased flexibility and power over time while making sure Adalo keeps the simple and friendly UX that has made us successful in a sea of hard-to-use no-code tools.

The first step on this path is layout constraints. With constraints, you’ll have greater control over how each component in your app is positioned and how it grows or shrinks based on the width of the screen.

Change List Column Count on Different Screen Sizes
Most mobile apps have only enough room for one or two columns in your lists. As the screen size grows, you should be able to use that extra horizontal space to add more columns. We’re exploring adding some controls that make it easy to create lists that adapt to the user’s screen size.

Show/Hide Components on Different Screen Sizes
For some components like lists, you want them to adapt as the screen size increases. For others, you simply want to hide them. Most apps for example have different navigation experiences for desktop vs. mobile. To help you pull this off, we’re going to create new visibility rules that allow you to target different device widths.

Visibility is where we’re starting, but we’ll need to do a lot more. We know you’ll also need to be able to set visual styles, the number of columns in a list, and more based on screen size.

Change Component Styles on Different Screen Sizes
Style settings like font sizes also need to be dialed in on different devices. Just like with columns and visibility, we’re looking into how we can make it easy to set up your core styles to adapt as the screen size changes.

Easily See Your Design on Different Screen Sizes
If you’re designing an app that works on multiple devices, you’ll need to see how your layout looks on small, medium, and large screens. Also, what you see in the Editor should better reflect how the layout will respond in the actual app. We’re going to make it easy to jump to different device widths in the Editor and in Preview, and improve the accuracy of the Editor’s layout engine so you don’t have to jump to Preview as often.

Web App Publishing
Today, as you’re working on a web app in Adalo, your changes go live immediately. We know this isn’t a good workflow and we’re going to make it better! You need an environment to create, experiment, and make changes to your web app that’s entirely separate from the version that’s live for your users. We’re going to build a new publishing flow that will enable you to do this.

Come Along for the Ride
This is only a high level overview of the kinds of projects we’re envisioning for web apps over the coming months. We’d like for you to join us on this journey and give us feedback along the way that helps us shape each release. Over the next two months, we’re going to work on our first batch of this work and then release an early beta that you can opt into where you can play with the new features in an isolated environment that won’t affect any of your existing apps. It’ll be rough and incomplete and you can tell us what you think we should add or change, and then we’ll do another batch of work. We’re committed to this as a major pillar of work through the rest of the year and we’re confident with your help we can make Adalo the best way to build apps for every platform.

I’ll post an update here when we’re ready for beta participants to sign up!

“This isn’t what I want Adalo to build next.”
If this is you, no worries! As we spend time improving our cross-platform experience, we’ll continue to invest in core platform performance as well as the experience of mobile-only makers. Our mobile app makers are the heart of our community today and that’s not going to change!

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Count me in @adalojosh

I really want this, so I’ll happily work with your beta.

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When will answers to town hall questions & new pricing be released?

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Nice! Well done! But improve on Performance. Thank you

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This is great news, and I’m excited about it!

The changes you outlined here are all great priorities. But I’d like to ask you to add one more:

The ability to create (or at least start creating) a web app from an existing mobile app

I’m essentially asking you to let me copy a whole mobile app (in the editor) to a web app without having to copy one screen at a time. The more functionality I can copy, the better. things like links and button actions.

Currently, at least as I understand it, there are only 2 ways to copy a mobile app into a web app. I can either copy each screen one by one, which requires me to redesign the layout of each screen and to recreate all the links and actions, or I can build the web app from scratch. Neither are great options.

Keep up the good work, and please consider my request.

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Nice! I am really excited because I have 3 ready websites which I would switch to Adalo when the web app builder is improved. :slight_smile:

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Although I’m partially in the
“This isn’t what I want Adalo to build next.” category, I’m still pleased about this announcement. There are significant benefits to being able to deploy universally across all platforms with the same app, and of course, not have to deal with bizarre layout configuration when trying to build for non-mobile - I have yet to make anything look reasonably good on a large screen with the current setup. Being able to have an administrative backend for my apps available on desktop would be ideal and a necessary selling point for some potential clients.

So, all to say, I’m not opposed to this direction. However, if performance suffers more as a result, it’ll end up being a moot improvement.

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@adalojosh

Great news, setting sights on WebApps is important for those of us building backends and gives me faith in a complete offering for Adalo builds for native apps and a matching web presence.

As you say, handling more columns is essential. I think you need a table component:

  • Choose columns from multiple collections
  • Grouping
  • Pagination option
  • Search keyword across all columns
  • Accordion expand child fields
  • Rename columns
  • In line editing option
  • Alternate row colours and header colour / formatting borders / padding etc…
  • Conditional formatting of cells
  • Display relationship arrays as comma separated strings
  • Filtering multiple columns / multi select dropdowns
  • Sort by each column
  • Sort by multiple columns
  • Custom formula / magic text in column (Tax Rate), (Full name) etc…
  • Totals / Counts
  • Export as CSV
  • Toggle / switch in column
  • Drag and drop columns

Telerik and MUI have great examples.

Perhaps the same component could be the basis for refreshing the Adalo Collections Editor.
Some users will be happy to do any backend tinkering from within Adalo, others will prefer a proper web app to control user permissions and so on.

Reactive design would be amazing, thanks for putting this on your horizon Adalo.

As an aside, I think you do a great job on the forums @adalojosh, great work!

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That sounds amazing. As I’ve developed a number of web-based apps and I am a big Adalo supporter, I’m happy to this will now be focused on and would love the opportunity to be a beta tester.

If possible one of the major functionalities I would like to see is the ability to copy your native at work to a web-based app that you can save you a lot of time. Also if possible vice versa from a web-based app to a native app. This would be a great time saver and should be well thought out at the start of this journey you’re about to take. This would help to take a dollar in an area that no other no code Builder has done.

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Just to make sure this gets visibility, here were the answers to some questions on web apps from our latest town hall:

Web Apps

3:42 - Why did Adalo choose improvements to Web Apps’ for its next major technology push?

6:11 - What sort of changes can Adalo makers expect to see with responsive Web Apps?

9:37 - What could building a responsive Web App in Adalo look like?

11:39 - When building responsive Web Apps, will things still work ‘Automagically’?

12:18 - Will Adalo’s Web Apps feature version control?

14:02 - Will Adalo Web Apps optimize for SEO and deep-links?

15:22 - Could you speak to the general rollout of the new Web Apps?

17:25 - Will Adalo users be able to keep using Adalo normally while Adalo’s new Web Apps are being developed?

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Thanks @barrettnash , gonna digest this, and kudos to you, you almost could never finish your questions hahaha, but kept chilled.

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It was the recording software! For some reason over time it would have David and I slightly out of sync. He never talked over me. Was super hard to edit, it’s why if you notice in the section on community I just did straight audio with David and cut me out entirely. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out a way to fix it.

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