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Tooljet vs Retool: Which open-source low-code platform is better?
8 min read

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


The demand for efficient and easy-to-use internal tools is on the rise, and low-code platforms have emerged as the go-to solution for businesses looking to streamline their internal processes. Retool and Tooljet are two popular low-code platforms that have attracted attention for their ability to build internal tools with ease. In this blog, we'll compare Retool and Tooljet, exploring their key features, use cases, and performance, and introduce ILLA Cloud as a supporting platform for app development and deployment.

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.



Retool is a widely-used low-code platform that makes it easy to build custom internal tools, including SQL GUIs and Airtable dashboards. With its extensive integration capabilities, Retool allows users to connect to various databases and APIs, making it a popular choice for developing Redis UIs and Airtable admin panels. Retool offers both self-hosted and cloud-based solutions, making it a flexible option for businesses of all sizes. However, some users may find Retool's pricing a bit steep, which has led to a search for open-source Retool alternatives.

Retool's key features and use cases:

  • Extensive Integration Capabilities: Retool supports a wide range of databases and APIs, such as SQL, Redis, and Airtable, making it a popular choice for developing Redis UIs, SQL GUIs, and Airtable admin panels.
  • User Interface and Experience: Retool features a drag-and-drop interface, which enables users to build internal tools without extensive coding knowledge. The platform also provides a range of pre-built components, such as tables, forms, and charts, to speed up the development process.
  • Customizability: With Retool custom components, users can create bespoke solutions tailored to their specific needs. This feature allows for greater flexibility and control over the appearance and functionality of internal tools.
  • Security and Compliance: Retool offers robust security features, including role-based access control, audit logs, and SSO. In addition to its cloud-based solution, Retool's self-hosted and on-premise options provide businesses with even more control over their data and infrastructure.
  • Pricing: Retool offers a range of pricing plans, but its relatively higher costs may lead some users to search for more affordable open-source Retool alternatives.



Tooljet is another powerful low-code platform that enables users to build and deploy internal tools and software quickly. Like Retool, Tooljet offers a wide range of integrations, making it easy to create GUIs for Redis and MySQL, as well as handle Redis queries. Tooljet's open-source nature makes it an appealing choice for businesses looking for Retool alternatives. In addition to its ease of use and customizability, Tooljet offers a secure and compliant environment for developing internal tooling, with features like SSO and Docker support.

Tooljet's key features and use cases:

  • Integration Capabilities: Like Retool, Tooljet offers a wide range of integrations, allowing users to connect to various databases and APIs, such as SQL, Redis, and Airtable. This makes it easy to create GUIs for Redis and MySQL and handle Redis queries.
  • User Interface and Experience: Tooljet provides an intuitive interface with a drag-and-drop builder, making it easy for users to create and customize their internal tools. It also includes a rich library of pre-built components to facilitate rapid development.
  • Customizability: Tooljet's open-source nature allows for greater customization and flexibility than Retool. Users can modify the source code and contribute to the platform's development, ensuring that their internal tools align with their unique requirements.
  • Security and Compliance: Tooljet prioritizes security, offering features like SSO, Docker support, and role-based access control. This ensures that your internal tools remain secure and compliant while using Tooljet.
  • Pricing: Tooljet's open-source model is free to use and modify, making it an attractive and cost-effective alternative to Retool, especially for smaller businesses or those with limited budgets.

Comparing Retool and Tooljet

When comparing Retool and Tooljet, several key factors come into play:

  • Integration Capabilities: Both platforms offer extensive integrations, allowing users to connect to various databases and APIs, including SQL, Redis, and Airtable. While both platforms excel in this area, your choice may depend on specific integration requirements or preferences.
  • User Interface and Experience: Retool and Tooljet both provide intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces and a library of pre-built components, making it easy for users to build internal tools like Google internal tools and Airtable dashboards. Personal preferences and ease of use will play a role in determining the best option for your needs.
  • Customizability: Retool offers custom components, while Tooljet's open-source nature allows for even greater customization. Consider the level of customization required for your internal tools when choosing between the two platforms.
  • Security and Compliance: Both platforms prioritize security, with Retool providing self-hosted and on-premise options, while Tooljet offers SSO and Docker support. Evaluate your organization's specific security and compliance requirements when making a decision.
  • Pricing: Retool's pricing may be a barrier for some users, while Tooljet's open-source model offers a more budget-friendly alternative. Consider your organization's budget and financial constraints when selecting the most suitable platform.

Choosing the Right Low-Code Platform for Your Needs

To choose between Retool and Tooljet, consider the following factors:

  • Integration Requirements: Both platforms offer extensive integration options, so your choice may depend on specific needs or preferences. Evaluate which platform best supports the databases and APIs essential to your internal tools.
  • Customizability: If custom components are a priority, Retool may be the better choice. However, if you prefer an open-source platform with greater flexibility, Tooljet could be more suitable.
  • Security and Compliance: Both Retool and Tooljet offer robust security features, so consider your specific compliance requirements when making a decision. Assess which platform best aligns with your organization's security policies and standards.
  • Budget: If you're searching for a cost-effective solution, Tooljet's open-source model may be more appealing than Retool's pricing structure. Take into account the long-term costs associated with each platform, including potential updates and maintenance.

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, Tooljet 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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