A couple of years ago I was searching for a no code platform that our team at Versa Cloud could use to streamline the development of work process apps for our clients — most of which are towns and municipalities across Massachusetts. Along the way, we discovered AppSheet. And we haven’t looked back since.
As I explained in a recent blog post, AppSheet has become our preferred app development tool as it gives us the scalability and flexibility that we need to build efficient and highly-customizable solutions in less time — saving our clients’ money, without having to make any compromises regarding performance or quality. In short, AppSheet beats the competition and is reasonably priced.
AppSheet wasn’t the first tool we tried. We experimented with just about every available solution, in a diligent trial and error process. So in this article, I will share some of the things that we learned throughout our journey in hopes of sparing you some of the trouble that we went through.
Here are some of the top things to consider when shopping for a no code app platform:
Ease of use: When all is said and done, a no code app platform is supposed to make life easier for developers and end users. It should be a time-saving mechanism. But not all providers accomplish this, as many platforms are too advanced for their own good.
One example is Zerion’s iFormBuilder. Its reporting mechanism is very complicated and requires a fair amount of training to master. Conversely, AppSheet can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be depending on what you are trying to accomplish. The big difference is that AppSheet requires little training. Its user interface is very well developed, as it allows users to seamlessly enter, sync, organize, search and share their data.
Scalability: Some databases will restrict the amount of information that you can access at a single time. For instance, if a dataset gets too large when using Microsoft Office 365, you won’t be able to access the spreadsheet online through the cloud. You will have to the desktop version, which is very inconvenient. AppSheet closely integrates with Google, allowing us to create useful Google add-ons to merge spreadsheets and forms. At the same time, AppSheet integrates with Microsoft — giving you the option to use whichever platform you or your clients prefer making AppSheet very flexible.
Custom reporting: Reports serve little benefit when they are carved in stone. There are many platforms, though, that make it difficult to quickly access data and create custom, on-the-fly reports. AppSheet’s Google integration allows us to create special add-ons for merging data, creating status updates and exporting them to users through Gmail — sparing our end users from having to request and wait for reports to come in. It’s a painless process with AppSheet.
Reporting costs: There are many no code app platforms that seem relatively inexpensive but actually contain hidden costs — especially with reports. We found that one product, doForms, offers low monthly prices but charges upwards of $2,000 each for custom reports. Suffice to say, this was a major problem. The idea that you should have to pay for a report on your own data is illogical and with AppSheet we do not have this problem as they do not charge for them.
Data security: We discovered another hidden problem. Some platform providers will keep the data you enter as their own, which is especially problematic for companies that want to lock down their sensitive information. Surrendering your data to a third party organization will mean putting it under someone else’s control meaning it could be sold or manipulated without your consent. AppSheet, however, lets its customers retain control over their data. What’s more, AppSheet offers special security filters that can be applied to restrict data as it’s needed in the field.
Documentation and support: Your team is bound to run into questions from time to time when using a no code app platform, regardless of how experienced they are. This is true even on intuitive platforms like AppSheet. What AppSheet does a great job of is offering assistance when it’s needed. AppSheet offers comprehensive documentation, and even a special user community where members can post questions and receive answers. What’s more, the AppSheet team takes a unique approach to customer service. Their technicians and engineers will not hesitate to get on the phone and walk you through problems when they need to, and they always have a great attitude. So my advice is to steer clear of solutions that lack comprehensive support.
Error notification: Another feature that AppSheet offers is a robust error notification system. If you make a mistake when entering an expression, the platform will notify you about the issue in bold red letters. Plus, it will tell you where the error is occurring so you can go back in and fix it quickly.
So take my advice: AppSheet is without question the no code app platform that you should be using in your organization. It’s reliable, flexible and scalable, and will allow you to run expressions that you wouldn’t be able to in most other applications.
Make sure to check back soon, too, as our next article will provide an overview of the major differences between AppSheet and Microsoft PowerApps.
We’ve pulled together a number of resources that will help you make your first app, regardless of the app making platform you choose (we like to think that our platform is the best but leave the final decision up to you). If you’re a new app creator about to embark on your first custom app, this page is for you!Post Comment
Randall is the President and CEO of OperationWorks.com (original name Versa Cloud), an AppSheet partner. A proactive innovator, Randall has more than 30 years of experience delivering cutting-edge solutions for industry leaders such as ExxonMobil, Con Edison Gas and the City of Worcester.