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Ways to Build Apps

There are different ways to build MATLAB® apps:

Each of these approaches offers a different workflow and a slightly different set of functionality. The best choice for you depends on your project requirements and how you prefer to work.


GUIDE is a drag-and-drop environment for laying out user interfaces (UIs). You code the interactive behavior of your app separately, in the MATLAB editor. Apps you create using GUIDE can display any type of MATLAB plot. GUIDE also provides various interactive components, including menus, tool bars, and tables. Use this approach to create simple apps that can display any type of plot.

Use MATLAB Functions to Create Apps Programmatically

Instead of using GUIDE, you can code the layout and behavior of your app entirely using MATLAB functions. In this approach, you create a traditional figure and place interactive components in that figure programmatically. These apps support the same types of graphics and interactive components that GUIDE supports, as well as tabbed panels. Use this approach to build complex apps with many interdependent components that can display any type of plot.

Use App Designer

App Designer is a rich drag-and-drop environment introduced in R2016a. It includes a fully integrated version of the MATLAB editor. The layout and code views are tightly linked so that changes you make in one view immediately affect the other. A larger set of interactive controls are available, including gauges, lamps, knobs, and switches. Most 2D plots and images are also supported, but other graphics features are not available. Menus and tool bars are also not available. Use this approach for apps that require some of the new interactive components but do not require graphics beyond 2D plots and images.

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