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Feature Friday | Google Cloud storage and a sneak peak

Welcome back to AppSheet’s Feature Friday where we showcase both new and favorite features. This quick guide will help you build your apps faster so you can focus on what matters.  Google Cloud Storage We’re expanding the storage options made available to Creators. The most recent addition allows you to store application and workflow files in Google Cloud. The detailed walk through of how to configure this function can be found in our knowledge base, but here’s a few key notes:  The setup process is controlled by Creators You can choose how to control access to objects (we recommend uniform).  Creators who work with a high quantity of images will find this recent release of particular interest. Inventory for your e-commerce store, rapid factory assembly, field inspection reports, all of these and more would benefit from this storage addition.  A sneak peek at a feature we can’t wait for you to “Meet”  Sometimes we have a feature that is so exciting that we are bursting at the seams to talk about it. When that happens, we try to provide a sneak peek at what we're working on. In this case, we’d like you to “Meet” a functionality that enriches the experience available to your calendar view type. Stay tuned for more information and get your best virtual hangout outfit ready! How will you use these new features in what you’re creating? Stop by the AppSheet community and let us know! Happy app building

Feature Friday | Offline & sync, desktop usage, and LINKFORM()

Welcome back to AppSheet’s Feature Friday where we showcase our favorite features. This quick guide will help you build your apps faster so you can focus on what matters.      Offline & sync Did you know that applications built in AppSheet can be used offline? It’s true! And even better, this behavior can be enabled in a few easy steps.  In your application editor, navigate to the “Behavior” tab. Once there, navigate to the “Offline/Sync” tab. From there you can toggle your settings based on your needs. It’s important to note that the “sync” behavior is a critical part of how your application updates your backend. Everyone’s needs are a little different, and because of this we recommend reviewing details outlined in our support documentation.  Desktop Usage It’s a common misconception that applications are only built for mobile devices. In reality, you can actually create applications that are compatible with a variety of devices. Whether you’re working with mobile devices in the field, tablet devices on the manufacturing floor, or desktop devices at your desk, you can access your applications.  One of our favorite ways to work with data on desktops is the dashboard UX view type. You can learn more about working with this feature from this Feature Friday.  LINKFORM()  An expression that’s been trending in our Creator Community as of late is LINKFORM(). This expression allows you to construct a deep link to the form view named by view-name. If you’re looking for a great example of a use case working with this expression, this post in our Community is a great one.  How will you use these new features in what you’re creating? Stop by the AppSheet community and let us know! Happy app building!

Feature Friday: GETY and GETX, XY map version control, and slices

Welcome back to AppSheet’s Feature Friday where we showcase our favorite features. This quick guide will help you build your apps faster so you can focus on what matters.    GETY and GETX functions For those that work with locations, we’ve added a few additional functions:  GETX(xy) returns the X portion of an XY value as a decimal value in the range +100.000000 to -100.000000. GETY(xy) returns the Y portion of an XY value as a decimal value in the range +100.000000 to -100.000000. These functions are a fantastic alternative to LatLong related functions. You can learn more about these function types in our Expression Types article series.  XY Maps with version control  Column types are an important piece of the data design process. One of these column types, XY, represents a position within an image that you provide. This column type is used most often with the Maps UX view type. When a Map view is configured with an XY-type MapColumn, it will display the image in place of the usual map. This data type is commonly used for applications developed for manufacturing, field work and inventory management but there are a number of other ways in which to leverage this functionality.  One of the challenges of working with this type of data, however, is that the pins associated with these maps could shift if updated maps were not the exact same crop and scale as the previous version. To solve for this, we built the below demo app. This post in our Creator Community contains a detailed walk through of working with this application. Slices The concept of slices is one of the most popular topics for app Creators. Because of this, we want to dive a little deeper. Our upcoming Office Hours on Tuesday, May 19th will feature an in depth conversation on slices and user roles. You can submit your questions and sign up for the session here.  If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a slice, it’s a subset of the rows, columns, and actions of a table. A slice definition has five components.  The table it's based on (required) Does the slice permit adds, deletes, and updates? (required) The subset of rows it retains from the table (optional) The subset of columns it retains from the table (optional) The subset of actions it retains from the table (optional) You can learn more about slices and how to implement them in our support documentation. How will you use these features in what you’re creating? Stop by the AppSheet community and let us know! Want to spend time with our team? Register for our next Office Hours session for additional Q&A.  Happy app building!

Feature Friday: EOWEEK, creating sample apps and barcodes

Welcome back to AppSheet’s Feature Friday where we showcase our favorite features. This quick guide will help you build your apps faster so you can focus on what matters.    EOWEEK()  If time management is important in your application development, there are a number of different ways to organize how that time is segmented. The EOWEEK() expression, for example, determines what you would like to set as your last day of the week. You can learn more about this expression and comb through a variety of examples here.  Create Sample Apps During this week’s Office Hours we received a lot of questions surrounding how to create sample apps for your team. The simple process takes six steps:  Make sure your app has been marked as Deployed. Open your app in the Editor. Select the Manage > Author tab. Click "Team Work". Set "Make this a team sample?" to checked. Click "Change Visibility". Note that this functionality is only available in certain plan types. Please contact sales@appsheet.com for more information.  Barcodes Whether you're managing inventory, shipping packages or in the field, enabling barcode scanning functionality within your application is a great feature add. Before you reach for your device to start scanning, however, there are two quick steps to take.  First, you’ll need to ensure the column type is set to “text” or “ref” in Data→ Columns. From here, scroll all the way to the far right and click the “Scan” toggle on the column you’d like to enable. Viola! You can now scan barcodes with your mobile device. If you’d like to test it out or see how other apps use this feature, click on the sample app above.  How will you use these features in what you’re creating? Stop by the AppSheet community and let us know! Want to spend time with our team? Register for our next Office Hours session for additional Q&A.  Happy app building!

Feature Friday: Color Picker

Welcome back to AppSheet’s Feature Friday where we showcase new and favorite features. This quick guide will help you build your apps faster so you can focus on what matters.  UX update: color picker  Branding is an important piece of your applications design. It helps define ownership and allows app creators the opportunity to add their own personal touch to the citizen development process. Our recent Office Hours previewed the color picker update. Now, the update is live! In this post, we'll take a deeper look at this release and provide some insight from the team that built it.  Read my chat with Morgan, Adam, and Nico, who are developers on the AppSheet product team.  Jennifer: Can you describe the term "color picker” for those unfamiliar with the term?  Nico: It's a graphical interface that allows you to pick custom colors. Morgan: A color picker lets you choose a color for your app! You can now pick any color you want. Jennifer: That sounds like a really great update! When a Creator makes a color selection, where will that color be visible in the application?  Adam: Places meant to draw attention or emphasize selection state, interactivity, or focus — like buttons, actions, form inputs, active tabs or view buttons. Jennifer: And where can they find this capability?  Morgan: In the UX > Brand tab. Jennifer: Features updates we make to AppSheet are all meant to help citizen developers find success with their application development. How does this latest UX improvement accomplish this?  Morgan: This helps people make apps that fit more closely with their brand. Nico: It gives app creators a little more customization power. It is important for some companies to have colors that match their brand. Adam: It makes it easier to create apps that look consistent with a particular brand, which is often a priority when developing apps for business use. And in general, people will be much happier with the apps they create when they can choose a color they like. If you didn't like any of our default options, you can finally get some relief. Jennifer: It sounds like we're giving more choices back to the Creators for their UX needs. That feels like a powerful addition to the feature set. Are there any helpful tips or tricks you’d like to share to help make the most of this feature? Morgan: Choose a color that coordinates with your app logo and pick a color that is “high contrast,” meaning it is easy to read against the background of your app. You don’t have to be a color expert  — the AppSheet platform will show a warning if the color you pick is not high enough contrast. Nico: Try to pick colors that will contrast well with other colors in your app. For example, a yellow with a white background may not be the best mix. Pick formatting rule colors that don't clash with the primary color. This online palette tool can help. I like a lot of those colors. Adam: The custom theme color can be combined with format rules to add additional colors in more places. Try not to get carried away, though, — sticking with two colors that complement each other well gives a nice effect. Jennifer: Great suggestions! While we're on the topic of UX improvement, are there any additional feature releases coming out soon that this new color picker will impact? Morgan: The header and footer will be colorizable. Also stay tuned for even more brand and theme options.  Adam: A return of the colored header and footer option is on the way, and now you'll be able to choose any color for it. Jennifer: A closing personal question, what is your favorite color combination with the new picker? Morgan: Lately I’ve been into Dark Mode + Purple Nico: I'm a fan of the light blue in the dark theme. Adam: In my own apps I like to use the dark theme with the "LightGreen" option. Thank you to Morgan, Adam, and Nico from our incredible engineering team for their contributions to this week's post. Be sure to follow along in the AppSheet Creator Community for additional updates and register for our next Office Hours session for additional Q&A.  Happy app building! This post was updated on May 20th, 2020.

Feature Friday: UUID, SmartSheet data source and working with Forms

Welcome back to AppSheet’s Feature Friday where we showcase our favorite features. This quick guide will help you build your apps faster so you can focus on what matters.  With the rapid changes in the world around us at this time, we hope everyone is staying safe and sound. For more information regarding AppSheet’s COVID-19 support efforts, please visit our COVID-19 resource page.  Universally Unique Identifiers (UUID)   In this week’s office hours we showcased the recently released UUID.  Previously, Creators could expect to receive a randomly generated, eight character unique ID if the UNIQUEID() expression had been invoked. With this recent release, this expression can be expanded upon to incorporate a longer identifying sequence.  Both UNIQUEID expressions are suitable for those building their applications on AppSheet. Those that work with SQL databases, however, may find that the UUID addition is a better fit for their needs.  SmartSheet report data source Great news- we’ve increased our SmartSheet capabilities! Previously, only SmartSheet Sheets were supported by AppSheet tables. Our recent update allows AppSheet tables to support both SmartSheet Sheets and SmartSheet Row Reports.  This change enables creators to display, update and delete row data contained in a Row Report through an AppSheet table. In addition, AppSheet applications also permit the same SmartSheet Sheet to be included both directly as an AppSheet table based on that sheet and indirectly through an AppSheet table based on a SmartSheet Row report that contains that sheet.  Working with Forms  Some of the most popular use cases for AppSheet application development are inspections and field service work. Forms, one of our UX View types, are an important feature in the creation of these applications. This functionality can range from a basic, single page format to a more advanced, customizable form. We could tell you about how this feature works, but we’d rather show you. Check out the below sample app to explore some of the capabilities of this important feature. How will you use these features in what you’re creating? Stop by the AppSheet community and let us know! Stay safe and happy app building!

Feature Friday: Exciting News, New Card View, and Onboarding View Update

Welcome back to AppSheet’s Feature Friday where we showcase our favorite features. This quick guide will help you build your apps faster so you can focus on what matters.    Have you heard our big news?  Last week we announced that AppSheet is joining the Google Cloud team. We’re incredibly excited for this next step in our journey and most importantly, we’re excited to have you join us. For more information on our future with Google, please read this letter from our AppSheet CEO Praveen.   Improved Card View   We discussed this release in our recent Office Hours session, but in case you missed it, here’s a quick overview. This improved card view gives you much more flexibility and allows your app to have that custom feel you’ve been hoping for. You can even create a kanban board layout with this view type.  We anticipate more updates in the future, keep an eye on this thread to ensure that you remain up to date on how we continue to improve this view.  Onboarding View It's easy to overlook one of the most challenging parts of creating and deploying applications to a team: app user adoption. In order to help your users understand why your application is useful and how to best take advantage of it, we've introduced a dedicated 'Onboarding' view type. This view works like any of our other first class views, working directly from a table of data that contains visual and text instructions. You can construct multiple pages that app users swipe through when they first open the application, rather than the single static 'About' page that existed previously. How will you use these new features in what you’re creating? Stop by the AppSheet community and let us know! Happy app building!    

AppSheet Acquired by Google Cloud

Dear AppSheet Community, Today, I’m pleased to announce that AppSheet has been acquired by Google and will be joining the Google Cloud team. Before I explain why this is the right step, I want to be very clear that our customer-centric focus will not change. We have built relationships with you, in some cases over many years. I know many of you personally. We value these relationships deeply and we will continue to invest in, and broaden our relationships with you. With that said, I would like to share the most important details: The AppSheet services you use will continue. In fact, they will grow and expand once we integrate deeper with Google Cloud.  Our team is joining Google Cloud and will continue to run our service. We will continue to support customers—new and existing.  AppSheet will continue to work cross-platform. While we have always integrated deeply with G Suite and Google Cloud data sources, we will continue to support and improve our integrations with other cloud-hosted data sources like Office 365, Salesforce, Box, Dropbox, and databases hosted in other clouds. And while the majority of our mobile app users run on Android, we will continue to support and improve the way our apps run on iOS and on web browsers. Our core mission is unchanged. We want to “democratize” app development by enabling as many people as possible to build and distribute applications without writing a line of code. That continues to be our mission, and it aligns well with Google Cloud’s strategy to re-envision digital transformation with a business-user-centric application platform. Why does this acquisition feel like the right next step? First and foremost, we are philosophically and strategically aligned with Google Cloud in a shared commitment to a no-code platform. The AppSheet platform has been live for more than five years. As we’ve matured, so has the IT industry, and there is now a tremendous pent-up demand for enterprise automation. With the rise of low- and no-code platforms, citizen development has emerged as the strategic way for modern organizations to invest, innovate, and compete. As we engaged with various leaders in the Google Cloud team, we found to our delight that Google Cloud shares our commitment to a no-code platform. Like anyone who works in the technology industry, we admire the amazing, innovative technology that Google has created over the last two decades. There is great potential to leverage and integrate more deeply with many of Google’s amazing assets like G Suite and Android to improve the functionality, scale, and performance of AppSheet. Moving forward, we expect to combine AppSheet’s core strengths with Google Cloud’s deep industry expertise in verticals like financial services, retail, and media & entertainment. For more perspective on what this means for us together, you can read the blog from Google Cloud’s Vice President, Amit Zavery. In short, we can now deliver a better platform for our customers and reach and empower many more users. There will likely be a period where we have to settle into the new environment before forging ahead, but you should start seeing the benefits of today’s announcement soon. It is an exciting time for all of us at AppSheet. I appreciate your continued faith in us and I know we could not have reached this stage without you. Our journey together continues and I look forward to it. -Praveen

Feature Friday: Top Ten Empowering Features of the Year

Welcome back to AppSheet’s Feature Friday where we showcase our favorite features. To close out 2019, we wanted to highlight the top feature releases of the year. We took this list very seriously, in part because we released so much this year that it made our heads spin. Rather than rehash the data pulls and heart breaks over what made the list, we’ll take you straight to the good stuff.  The Top Ten 10. File Generating Workflows If you work with workflows, chances are you also use the "Save File" feature. Because of its popularity, we grew this feature over the course of 2019 to include custom PDF sizes, .ics calendar invites, and more. To learn more about the “so awesome”capability of this feature, see how the AppSheet Community has been using it. 9. SNAPSHOT() SNAPSHOT() is a new release, but within the first few days of availability it was used more than 3000 times. For those of you that have applications that incorporate daily inspection reports of a worksite or you have large amounts of data displayed in a dashboard that you would like to send to your executive team automatically, this is a great expression to add.  8. Bulk Select The small but mighty action that made a big impact for applications built by everyone in the AppSheet Community, including our staff. With this feature you can scroll through the view highlighting the rows where you want to apply a normal action. If you've never used it before, there's a sample app included below where you can give it a whirl.  7. Data: execute an action on a set of rows As displayed below, there are a number of actions you can take to modify data or navigation within your application. One of the purposes of these action types is to save you time and make your applications more efficient. If you're looking for an automated version of the popular bulk select feature, this action makes that happen. 6. Customizable Dashboards Interactive mode, tabs, and custom sizing all provided new and powerful ways to display your data in this view type. according to fellow Creators, “The dashboards and data analytics side of app sheet is honestly my favorite.” The data supports this too, with tens of thousands of dashboards being added to applications this year.    5. Add a new row to another table using values from this row Released this summer, this action has been a hot topic. With this action you can specify which separate table data should be added to while defining each column added, allowing rows of data to quickly be updated and moved across all tables in your application.  4. Predictive Values Need to estimate the cost of a project or predict customer churn? You'll love predictive values. Technically we released a beta of this feature in late 2018, but we’ve made so many updates to it this year that it was an absolute must to include on this list.  3. Predictive Classification If you've ever wondered why we call ourselves an "Intelligent Platform" this is one of the reasons why. This release plus a little machine learning can help improve your apps in countless ways.    2. Map Point Grouping Maps can become very cluttered very, very quickly. We wanted to help avoid this often frustrating display issue by giving you the option of grouping your pins together or leaving them separate on your map display.  1. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Extracting information such as prices or names from an image became possible this year. Since the beta release in late July, this feature has been used in thousands of applications making it number one on our list for a reason. It’s highly customizable, powerful, and a complete game changer.    That’s a wrap on the top features of the year! Stop by the AppSheet community to let us know what your favorite feature of the year was.  Thank you all for a fantastic 2019 and a very Happy New Year!