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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.

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 2-D and 3-D plots are also supported. This approach supports most apps that do not require polar plots, subplots, or graphics interactions such as mouse and key-press customizations.


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

You can also 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.

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