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Appsmith vs Retool: Which open-source low-code platform is better?
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Appsmith vs Retool: Which open-source low-code platform is better?

In the ever-evolving landscape of low-code development platforms, Appsmith and Retool have emerged as strong contenders, each offering unique features and capabilities. These platforms aim to simplify application development and empower organizations to build custom internal tools efficiently. In this comprehensive comparison, we'll explore the strengths and weaknesses of both platforms and introduce a top-tier alternative, ILLA Cloud, to help you make an informed choice for your low-code development needs.

ILLA Cloud: The best software development tool

ILLA Cloud is an out-of-the-box low-code tool that allows quick construction of internal tools with simple JS, without the need to create new projects.

  • Web & App Admin Panel
  • Data Dashboard
  • Customized B2B Tools


Compared to building with a component library, ILLA Cloud enables 10x faster tool construction and supports collaborative editing within teams.



Appsmith, an India-based open-source platform, has quickly gained recognition in the low-code development arena. It boasts feature parity with many aspects of the Retool application builder, making it a formidable competitor. However, it's essential to delve into the specific characteristics that set Appsmith apart:

Advantages of Appsmith:

  • Open Source Advantage: Appsmith is an open-source platform, providing developers with access to the platform's source code. This open nature encourages collaboration and customization, making it a preferred choice for those who require greater control over their development environment.
  • Cloud and On-Premise Deployment: Appsmith offers flexibility by supporting both cloud and fully on-premise deployments. This duality enables organizations to choose the hosting option that aligns with their security and compliance requirements.
  • Active Developer Community: Appsmith enjoys a growing developer community on platforms like Github. This community support leads to continuous improvements, timely bug fixes, and the development of new features, ensuring the platform remains current and responsive to user needs.
  • Extensive Integration Options: Appsmith facilitates integration with a wide array of databases and APIs, enabling businesses to connect to their data sources seamlessly. This versatility ensures that your applications can interact with the necessary data resources.

Disadvantages of Appsmith:

Lacks Automated Workflows: One notable limitation is the absence of support for automated workflows or scheduled jobs within Appsmith. This could be a drawback for organizations requiring complex automation processes in their internal tools.

Retool: A Pioneer in Internal Tooling


Retool is a well-established development platform for creating custom internal software. It offers an intuitive drag-and-drop application builder and a library of pre-built UI components. However, it's essential to recognize both its strengths and shortcomings:

Advantages of Retool:

  • Drag & Drop Application Builder: Retool provides an intuitive drag-and-drop application builder, making it accessible for users with varying technical expertise.
  • Integration Library: With an extensive library of integrations, Retool simplifies the process of connecting to databases and APIs, allowing businesses to access and manipulate their data efficiently.
  • Granular Permissions: Retool supports role-based access controls, providing a secure environment and ensuring that users have appropriate access to tools and data.
  • Enterprise Features: Retool caters to enterprise needs by offering features such as single sign-on (SSO), audit logging, and dedicated enterprise support.
  • Native Mobile Apps: Retool Mobile provides a dedicated solution for building native iOS and Android mobile apps within the Retool environment.

Disadvantages of Retool:

  • Limited Extensibility with Code: Retool's code extensibility is restricted, primarily supporting JavaScript. This limitation can pose challenges for developers who require more diverse coding options.
  • Poor Performance: Users often report performance issues with Retool applications due to browser-based code execution, single-step queries, and a lack of global edge caching.
  • Limited Workflows & Scheduled Jobs: Retool's workflow offering is still in beta and lacks full functionality. Additionally, it is only available on Retool Cloud, limiting its accessibility to self-hosted customers.
  • SQL-Only Generative AI: Retool's generative AI functionality is limited to SQL, which may not fully meet developers' requirements for code generation and optimization in various languages and use cases.
  • Legacy On-Premise Deployment: Retool's on-premise deployment model is resource-intensive, making it complex for businesses to maintain and update. This can divert resources away from tool development.
  • Expensive Pricing: Retool employs an inflexible pricing model with hefty platform fees, making it expensive for many organizations.
  • Slow Feature Rollouts: New features are sometimes slow to roll out, particularly for on-premise customers, leading to delays in leveraging the latest technologies.
  • Closed Source Code: Retool is closed-source, limiting code audits and extensibility options.
  • US-Cloud Only: Retool Cloud is hosted in the US, which may result in performance degradation for users and data centers outside the US.

ILLA Cloud offers the best of both worlds

ILLA is one of the fastest platforms for internal tool development. It saves developers precious time on web design and other aspects of their job. One of the main reasons developers are increasingly choosing ILLA is the library. The platform has conjured a rich collection of code components that you can simply drag and drop and build complex applications within minutes.

You can also use application programming interfaces to join ILLA with a database of your choice. The platform can excellently integrate back-end and front-end data. As a result, developers can make vast information interactions possible with basic data calls.

Any developer will love ILLA for two reasons-freedom and the chance to work simultaneously with other developers. Firstly, developers can write JavaScript wherever they want. This permits more flexibility in their job and increased variety in results.

Secondly, developers can share links in ILLA Builder with other professionals in real time. Consequently, they can edit and comment on each other’s work as they go along. In other words, developers get to work in a fun and collaborative workspace. Naturally, this yields faster and improved results.

Lastly, developers can always carry their work with them when using ILLA cloud. Just one click from any device will give them access to the cloud and bring them to ILLA’s user interface.

Key features of ILLA

Here are the key features of ILLA you must know:

  • ILLA has a ready-to-use library for React components.
  • Most amazingly, the ILLA design tool has a typescript typing feature and supports predictable static typing.
  • ILLA Design provides quick and easy import, which helps in improving developers’ productivity.
  • You can access beautifully designed and powerful themes and components.

Upgraded ILLA features

Here are some upgraded features of ILLA that you must know:

  • Quick integration with any data source
  • You can connect ILLA to any mainstream database or any other data source. This tool allows you to get data from the backend using front-end components.
  • Real-time collaboration for enhanced efficiency
  • ILLA Builder allows developers to work collaboratively on a project. They can create and share links to different developers to co-edit their tools and communicate with other team members in real time.

Responsive UI library to meet your needs

ILLA Builder also has numerous components to meet every developer’s needs efficiently. So, developers can access the drag-and-drop builder to develop their desired internal tools quickly.


In conclusion, Retool and Appsmith are both excellent low-code platforms that can help you build applications quickly and efficiently. However, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to consider your needs before deciding which one is right for you. If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach with powerful management features, then Tooljet may be the better option for you. On the other hand, if you want a user-friendly platform that doesn’t require any coding experience, then Appsmith may be the better choice. Ultimately, it all comes down to what type of developer you are and what type of application you want to build.

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