Learn how to build in Retool!

Welcome to Reschool

“Retool is a fast and easy way to build and maintain internal tools.”

If you want to learn more about how to build in Retool, you're in the right place! Reschool is a place to get started with Retool and learn more about SQL, Javascript, and how to build awesome Retool apps.

We’re going to go over some basics that will set you up for success as you build and maintain these internal tools in Retool. Our docs are a fantastic resource to search through depending on your specific use case (connecting to Google Sheets, setting up pagination, what even is the List View component?), but there are a few things you should know before embarking on your journey.

Once you're finished with this guide, you'll be able to connect your database or API into Retool, write queries to read and write your data, and utilize Retool components to build functional apps.

You can read through the guide below in order (recommended), or pick any modules that pique your interest.

Let’s get started! (5 sections, ~5 hours total)


Before diving into SQL, Javascript, and Retool basics, it's worth getting a firm understanding of what Retool does.

What is Retool? (5 min)

Remember, Retool has the following workflow:

  • Connect your API or database, like PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Google Sheets, Salesforce, and 20+ more
  • Get data into Retool from your database using queries to communicate with your connected resource
  • Show data and edit data by connecting your queries to pre-built Retool components (like tables, text inputs, and buttons) and writing Javascript


In short, API or database → Retool resource connection → Retool query → Retool component.

SQL & JS in Retool

In terms of languages, there are two big building blocks of Retool proficiency: SQL and Javascript.


SQL databases like Postgres, MySQL, and MSSQL are some of the most popularly connected data sources to build Retool apps. And even if you're not using any of these directly, our Query JSON with SQL query type is convenient when working with JSON data, so it's worth getting comfortable with the basics!

To get up to speed with basic SQL (and how it relates to Retool), run through the SQL guide below.

SQL (1 hour)


Javascript is how you connect everything together in Retool—like your data to your components—as well as transform data, trigger queries, and lots of other fun stuff. You don't need to be a full stack JS developer to be positively dangerous in Retool, so we'll walk you through the basics and how they relate to building apps.

Javascript (3 hours)

Almost nobody remembers date conversion functions (or even other specific Javascript syntax), so use the above guide as a reference continuously!

App and query anatomy

Phew! Now that you know the basics (plus a little more) of communicating with your database via SQL and communicating with Retool via Javascript, let’s dive a little deeper into Retool itself.

The Retool workspace is divided into 4 visual boxes: (1) the main canvas, (2) the right panel, (3) the bottom panel and (4) the left panel. Each of these panels (2, 3, 4) have special names and functions that we’ll explore now.

App anatomy (15 min)

You might have noticed that the bottom panel has a lot going on, and you'd be right—writing queries is arguably the most important part of getting your Retool apps in shape. The link below walks you through how to write queries in Retool.

Query anatomy (25 min)

App management

Just like with web apps, there's a lot to do once you've got your first Retool app working. The first place to get started is sharing apps: how to make sure your work gets used.

App management (10 min)

Best practices

Before embarking on your own, review this final doc on best practices for building performant Retool apps. This doc goes over a few small things you can be mindful of to keep your apps running as smoothly as possible.

Performant apps (10 min)


You did it! Go on with confidence and start building your own super cool, super fun apps.

If you get stuck, our docs are always available and we’re on Intercom from 9am-6pm PST ready to help. You can also engage with the community to see what other Retool users are building and troubleshooting. Have fun!

Updated about a month ago


Learn how to build in Retool!

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