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Despite the fact that a low-code development approach appeared in the early 90’s, new platforms are still continuing to appear every day even at the end of 2021. Backend development, website building, mobile app development, internal tool building – all these and a lot of other processes are simplified and sped up thanks to the use of low-code tools. 

A lot of businesses now are going digital and face the need to automate their internal processes. The problem is that time is always a crucial factor in digital transformation. Companies have no free software engineers, spare budget, and time to spend on building internal software.

Retool vs UI Bakery – most powerful internal tools builders

No-code and low-code internal tools builders greatly cover the need of businesses for faster digital transformation. Especially such tools as Retool, one of the biggest players in the market, and UI Bakery, a key alternative to Retool.

If you’re making a choice between these 2 internal tools builders, it’s better to have all the meaningful information on their features, strengths, and weaknesses at hand. Below, we’re covering Retool and UI Bakery, reviewing its pricing plans, and determining the key differences between these two low-code platforms. Hopefully, this review will help you make the right decision.

UI Bakery

UI Bakery internal tools builder

UI Bakery is a speedy low-code internal tools builder. The tool has been created by developers for developers to allow them to save hours and days of development time. With UI Bakery, you have no need to hassle with default configuration and UI libraries, or learn new frameworks. You can work applying only those skills you already have by simply sending SQL queries and API requests, and drag-n-dropping ready-made building blocks to build a UI. Being a low-code tool,  UI Bakery is a good choice for backend developers, database architects, and anyone with no front-end development skills but with basic web development understanding. 

Key platform features 

  • 25+ ready-made UI components (Tables, Maps, Buttons, Forms, etc.) you can drag-and-drop.
  • Custom reusable components creation via React or JavaScript.
  • Automatic generation and configuration of UI components.
  • Data sources connection via SQL queries and HTTP requests.
  • A growing library of available integrations including Google Sheets, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Salesforce, Airtable, HubSpot, Stripe, and more.
  • A free one-click migration tool from Airtable to PostgreSQL.
  • An ability to add business logic, workflows, sequences, conditions, and custom JavaScript code wherever you need in your app.
  • JavaScript library connection (moment.js, lodash).
  • Self-hosted version of UI Bakery available for better security.
  • Custom roles and permissions you can create and manage, and audit logs you can use for debugging. 
  • Secure app shipment and deployment.

Since UI Bakery is a visual internal tools building tool, you don’t need to:

  • Have front-end development skills to build an app on your own.
  • Use CSS to build a UI for your application from scratch.
  • Bother about promptly updating JS libraries.
  • Spend time on building CI/CD pipelines.
  • Configure access controls and worry about data security.

UI Bakery has more than 25 ready-made UI components (and you can add your own ones), among which are: 

  • Tables.
  • Forms.
  • Charts.
  • Maps.
  • Buttons.
  • Details, etc.

4-step development process

  1. Connect the existing data source: a database (PostgreSQL, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, MongoDB, Firebase), a third-party application (Slack, Stripe, HubSpot, Airtable, Twilio), or any custom HTTP API.
  2. Add business logic, navigations, conditions, and workflows. Add custom code for creating more complex functionality.
  3. Drag-and-drop ready-made building blocks and/or create your own UI components to build a UI. Connect Actions to the relevant Components.
  4. Ship and deploy your internal tool, and start inviting users and end-users. Manage permissions and access controls.

UI Bakery pros

  • Intuitive and aesthetically pleasing UI building interface.
  • Fair pricing: UI Bakery doesn’t charge you for each end-user you add unlike Retool.
  • An unlimited number of app pages you can create within one tool.
  • Easy integration with databases, APIs, third parties.
  • A growing library of templates you can use not to start from scratch.
  • Comprehensive documentation with step-by-step written guides and videos.
  • Vibrant support team and community.

UI Bakery cons

  • UI Bakery doesn’t have a free plan, only a free 14-day trial.
  • UI Bakery isn’t suitable for complete non-techies, you need to have at least general web development understanding to build a functional app with it.

Pricing plans

Regardless of the plan you choose, the UI Bakery team provides a free onboarding session to each newcomer interested in the platform.

UI Bakery pricing plans

Try

Once you get on board, you have 14 days to play around UI Bakery and make a choice whether this internal tools builder is a good fit for you. Integrate your data sources, build a UI by drag-n-dropping the needed Components, connect Actions to the added Components. 

Start

We reckon that this plan could be a great choice for startups and small businesses with strict budget limitations. You can build an internal tool on top of your data, and publish it on the UI Bakery domain. Once it’s live, invite up to 50 end-users to your application, and manage access controls and permissions. 

Pro

The Pro plan is more suitable for small and medium businesses. In addition to all the features included in the Start plan, you can create custom UI components and reuse them across your application. 

Enterprise

An Enterprise plan is a good choice if you have a case that implies the need to create very complex functionality and add a huge number of end-users. You’re unlimited in the number of end-users. You can also deploy your app to a custom domain, and customize your application according to your company’s brand. An on-premise version of UI Bakery is also available for you. 

Retool

Retool internal tools builder

Retool is a rapid low-code platform for building internal tools. It’s mostly suitable for SMBs and enterprises. The features Retool offers allows you to automate a number of internal processes in less time. Retool focuses on helping businesses related to retail, media, and finances.

Key platform features

  • Tens of ready-made UI components like Tables, Wizards, Charts, etc.
  • A library of about 40 ready-made templates and dashboards. 
  • Connection with almost any data source with REST, GraphQL, gRPC API.
  • An ability to write SQL and POST queries to fetch data. 
  • A self-hosted version of Retool.

Just like UI Bakery, Retool has ready-made components you can use. They are:

  • Tables.
  • Charts.
  • Wizards.
  • Lists.
  • Forms.
  • Modals, and others.

3-step development process

  1. Connect a database, a third-party API, or any other data source you need. 
  2. Build an internal tool by drag-and-dropping Retool’s building blocks. 
  3. Publish your application in a few clicks, and invite users. You can manage user groups as you need to make particular users see and edit only exact pieces of data.

Retool pros

  • A rather intuitive building interface (with no dark theme though).
  • 40+ templates you can use not to start from scratch.
  • A big library of available integrations (Jira, MySQL, MongoDB, Stripe, and more).
  • Useful docs and a YouTube channel with educational videos, webinars.
  • A forever free plan.
  • An ability to test and debug your application thanks to the availability of staging and production environments.

Retool cons

  • Too many features that make Retool a little bit overloaded and too complex for a number of users.
  • Basic JS knowledge is required to build a working app with Retool.
  • Slow speed and performance issues arising often.

Pricing plans

Unlike UI Bakery, Retool charges per end-user, so keep in mind that the initial price will significantly increase once you start inviting users to your internal tool.

Retool pricing plans

Free

You can build (but not publish) as many apps as you need, connect your database, and write SQL queries. This plan is a great opportunity to test Retool before paying for it.

Team

Here, you can review your application in a User mode. You also have a version history that allows you to roll back any changes made if needed. 

Business

Control access, add user groups, review audit logs to see how your users interact with your app. The Business plan also allows you to add custom components and reuse them across your applications. Moreover, you can get discounts with the increase of the number of end-users. 

Enterprise

The Enterprise plan allows you to host Retool behind your VPN, integrate with SAML 2.0 SSO providers, and request the integrations that are not yet offered by Retool. You also get a dedicated support specialist that will help you with any arising issues.

Key differences between Retool and UI Bakery: summing up

Retool vs UI Bakery

Retool and UI Bakery internal tools builders offer similar functionality. Both of them are “low-code”, which means that they are not suitable for business users who do not have web development understanding at all. UI Bakery and Retool provide you with predefined UI components, templates, and dashboards, as well as an ability to integrate with databases and third-party systems.

The main differences between Retool and UI Bakery are:

  • Retool offers more templates and dashboards you can use out-of-the-box .
  • UI Bakery is more affordable than Retool, and it doesn’t charge per end-user.
  • A lot of users highlight that the UI Bakery building interface is much more pleasing and comfortable than the one in Retool.
  • UI Bakery is faster than Retool.

Both tools have strengths and shortcomings. Your final choice should depend at least on the feature set you need for your case, and the number of users and end-users you’re planning to add.