Appsheet = No Code Environment

I have been using AppSheet for a while now.

This is FAR from a no-code environment.
Actually, it is easier to just code stuff especially with all the shortcomings.

What are your thoughts?

Anyone with intermediate to advanced understanding of Excel formulas could jump into AppSheet and understand most concepts. Would you consider a spreadsheet with VLOOKUPS(), SUMIFS(), and maybe a pivot table to be no-code? I would consider these as close to no-code logical applications as one can get.

“no-code” drag and drop website builders have existed for a long time. But in these cases, there isn’t any conditional logic or reading and writing of data happening. If there is, you are using a rigid, prescribed widget to do it.

In the case of a no-code application environment such as AppSheet, most users are looking to build in custom logic for handling business process, etc. Can custom logic be truly no-code? Not really. But AppSheet has made it accessible to the countless excel wizards across the world.

AppSheet used to market themselves as “Low-Code”. I think this is more apt, especially considering most people will be exposed to relational database concepts for the first time with AppSheet. “No-Code” may be better for marketing though.

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Of course it does require a basic knowledge of a coding logic, but not of an specific programming language. The closest it gets to coding is expression building, but even this its like an Excel formula logic. I wouldn’t say that Excel is a code environment.

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You can build simple apps just by using an existing app that is close to what you need and tweaking a few things here and there but the issue is that most users don’t want to stop there. Once they see what is possible in the platform, they tend to want more automation, features and integrations.

IMHO, both no code and low code are for marketing purposes.

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You can make fully functional apps with no code (or no expressions), but for those who want more advanced apps, you can use expressions, and it becomes low-code.

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Hi @gdutoit thanks for your feedback. It is a bit of a mind set shift for those that are used to coding applications to learn how to leverage their data to achieve similar capabilities but we have found high levels of success for a tens of thousands of Creators.

If you have any specific feedback you’d like to share such as the shortcomings you mentioned I’d be more than happy to share with our product team.

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One assumption @gdutoit’s post makes is that application developers or users know what they want in the first place. With full-stack development, there is often months of scoping and UI prototyping before any code is written. Then, once the final product is completed, there is still a risk that it just doesn’t quite solve the problems or work the way people envisioned it would.

There is no better way to get feedback than from real world testing. With RAD tools, you can prototype something in under a week and have people using it the next day. One could argue that, even if your minimum viable product was a full-stack developed app, your development process should begin with an AppSheet (or comparable RAD platform) prototype.

There are certainly shortcomings with the AppSheet platform… But these shortcomings are dramatically less today than they were 3 years ago - and the platform will keep improving. And you can’t tell me that you could build a full-stack application free of shortcomings in comparable time to building an AppSheet application.

It may be the case that an experienced developer could create a simple application quickly. But could this developer also make sure this application ran smoothly on all major platforms / operating systems? Could this developer then maintain support on all of these platforms for the lifespan of this application? Will this developer continue to push out platform improvements over time? These are some of the benefits we get for using RAD tools.

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