GUIs (also known as graphical user interfaces or UIs) provide point-and-click control of software applications, eliminating the need to learn a language or type commands in order to run the application.
MATLAB® apps are self-contained MATLAB programs with GUI front ends that automate a task or calculation. The GUI typically contains controls such as menus, toolbars, buttons, and sliders. Many MATLAB products, such as Curve Fitting Toolbox™, Signal Processing Toolbox™, and Control System Toolbox™ include apps with custom user interfaces. You can also create your own custom apps, including their corresponding UIs, for others to use.
App Designer is an environment for building MATLAB apps. It integrates the two primary tasks of app building―laying out the visual components and programming app behavior―and allows you to quickly move between visual design in the canvas and code development in an integrated version of the MATLAB Editor.
GUIDE (GUI development environment) provides tools to design user interfaces for custom apps. Using the GUIDE Layout Editor, you can graphically design your UI. GUIDE then automatically generates the MATLAB code for constructing the UI, which you can modify to program the behavior of your app.
For more control over design and development, you can also create MATLAB code that defines all component properties and behaviors. MATLAB contains built-in functionality to help you create the GUI for your app programmatically. You can add dialog boxes, user interface controls (such as push buttons and sliders), and containers (such as panels and button groups).