Cleo Espiritu

Getting Started with Google App Maker 1: Building the app you want with a low code development tool

As you dive into your work through the day, have you ever thought:  “Hm, if only there’s an app that would simplify this tedious task I need to do so often!”.

Problem is, you have little or no coding experience and have no idea how to start. However, if you are G-Suite user, read on, as Google App Maker and low-code development may help you solve your problems!

The Getting Started with Google App Maker series is targeted help newcomers of Apps Script / App Maker and software development to start writing their first web app with App Maker

Traditionally, to get a custom application built in a business settings, you need software developers and IT involved. However, developer and IT resources can be quite scarce, so even if you have a great idea, it may never make it to your development’s team pipeline.

This is where Low code development platforms can help the problem. Instead of relying on IT and software development teams, these tools enable “business developers” and “knowledge workers” who are interested in building applications to solve business problems to do so, even if they have little or no development experience.

When I came upon Google App Maker* last year, I could see so much potential in it right away. Our company recently moved to G-suite, which has been a great experience, but there are still processes that can be further improved.

*Side note: Common misconception of App Maker is that it builds mobile apps – the “app” here refers to web applications – i.e. an application you access in your internet browser through a URL, instead of something you install on your devices.

As someone who has worked as a developer, a UX designer, and a business analyst, I see the following benefits with using App Maker:

  1. For developers – a way build simple applications that leverages G-suite services
  2. For UX designer – as a prototyping tool to create an application that you can deploy to users to test out your design
  3. For business analyst, product manager or even stakeholders and end users – a way to design and build your own solutions, or collaborate with a developer to build the application together.

Some example use cases that would benefit from building your own app using App Maker includes:

  1. Data management – instead of using spreadsheets, you can build an app that can store a large set of data and provide search screens or list screens to target specific users (e.g. A “View all my records only” screen or a “View overdue items” screen)
  2. Relational data – if you’re managing parent-child type data using Sheets, moving to an app will allow you to better map those relationships than a spreadsheet could
  3. Workflow – instead of flowing work down through emails or User Mentions in Docs or Sheets, you can build an app that auto-assigns and auto-notifies the proper user
  4. Edit forms – Google Forms are great for one-way submissions (e.g. surveys, questionnaires, sign-up) but if you use case involves user coming back to review and manage their submissions, you may want to consider an app

If this all sounds interesting to you, then please follow through on this Getting Started with App Maker article series, where I will go through all the things you need to know to build your first app!

Note: Google App Maker is available for G-Suite Business, Enterprise and Education customers

In the next post we will discuss the main building blocks of an app in App Maker.

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