Is there such a thing as a self-hosted framework or CMS especially tailored towards the creation of interactive web applications without -- or with an absolute minimum of -- programming? (Substantially less programming than say a simple Rails app or a plugin for Wordpress, Joomla etc would require.)

As for desired features I'd settle for whatever is available, but some ideas could be:

  • A User authentication and Permissions system.
  • A GUI-driven input form builder.
  • A GUI-driven template / visual site design builder.
  • A simple scripting language (think AppleScript-like simplicity)
  • A highly modular architecture, with high-level business objects (users, forms data, etc) exposed for easy re-use.

If something like the above doesn't exist, then what comes near this?

Need: This is for self-hosted rapid prototyping of web applications, and limited user testing of webapp user interface designs in a closed user test.

Notes: I know about Ruby on Rails (Rails), Django, Pyramid etc. I'm looking for something much faster to work in, for making prototypes. I know about CMS's in general but find that most of them are tailored towards displaying information to the end users. If there is an exceptionally easy-to-master CMS with easy scripting (lets say much more so than for example Wordpress) then I'd be interested.

  • 1
    what has your research led you to? Any recommendations on what web app builder to use?
    – user22892
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 6:27

3 Answers 3


Have you looked at InfoPath? It has a GUI form designer, can handle scripting, can handle permissions... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_InfoPath

  • Thank you. I'm researching InfoPath right now. Just as a note to future readers, it seems to me that InfoPath requires SharePoint in order to convert forms to web forms. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InfoPath_Forms_Services
    – user1857
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 15:28

I suggest you to try CodeCharge Studio. I think that's the app you are looking for.


  • Thank you. Looks promising. :-) I'm researching this now.
    – user1857
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 15:29

Netbeans IDE has a visual design component that sounds pretty much what you're looking for.

I kind of understand where you're coming from with this, you either lack the time/knowledge to learn a new language, to learn a framework and to apply that knowledge all the while, whilst trying to design and develop something that people may actually use.

I've spoken and read up a lot on frameworks, and from what I've heard, a lot of it is plugging in code because a majority of it is already written and it requires you to simply 'hack' it to make it work. Some people may argue that actual coding is involved, but it's very minimal. Most of the time, what developers lack is the 'design' part, which from personal experience, is what I struggle with.

Getting that perfect layout and transferring what's roughly planned onto a computer screen can prove really difficult.

Apart from my ranting above, The NetBeans IDE Visual Design tool is something I'm going to try, simply because it's free and a

  • 2
    "and a..."? Do tell.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 13:17
  • It seems that when I typed out my entire answer, some of it apparently didn't get saved (either my fault or pro webmasters fault). Unfortunately I can't remember what i was going to say, but it could have been something like 'drag and drop'. Apart from NetBeans tools, I've also discovered a combination of software/apps that can be used to build apps with minimal coding. Like combining a frontend app with a backend app and using the 2 to build something. The problem usually lies with discovery of these things. Some of them are really great but not popular, which is why they're hard to find.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 14:34

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