Tom Johnson is no engineer. But that didn’t stop him from creating software that helps him market his wedding-video business. Johnson crafted an application, downloadable to the Apple (AAPL) iPhone, that plays a sample video, connects users to a blog, and lets would-be clients call his company, Alliance Video Products, by pushing a single button. Best of all for a non-engineer like Johnson, he did it in a single day, without writing a single line of code.
To create the app, Johnson relied on a company called Swebapps.com, one of a new crop of services that help clients order up their own smartphone apps—often in less time and for less money than it would take to develop an app from scratch. Like Alliance Video Products, churches, museums, schools, and other small businesses of every stripe can now get into the app-making game—creating downloadable games, travel guides, quizzes, and blog feeds—thanks to sites like AppBreeder.com, GameSalad.com, and MyAppBuilder.com. Often all it takes is plugging specs into online templates.