Better search capabilities within the AppSheet editing interface

As AppSheet has grown, it has become possible to develop apps in which columns, actions, and expressions interact in increasingly complex ways. The ability to build more complex apps is great but it can be very difficult to figure out what is connected to what when one returns to an app after some time has passed.

We can use our browser’s search function in some contexts to solve such puzzles but the current search function is extremely limited.

So, here’s my proposal: Add the capability to the AppSheet editor to create a text file (either to download or display in a browser winder) that includes ALL of the text in our app: all of the column names and their associated formulas, all of the actions and their associated formulas, etc. Such a text file could then be searched comprehensively using either the browser’s search function or the search function in a text editor.

Primary reason for requesting this feature: It’s easy enough to find the columns that are referred to in an expression but very hard to answer questions like “What expressions in this app refer to this column?” or “What actions in this app invoke this action?”

By the way, the AppSheet editor currently has a Spec tab in the “info” section. The animation is cool but, to be honest, I have never found this feature to be particularly useful. I think a complete list of all of the actions, columns, expressions, etc that is fully searchable would be far more useful – though not as pretty. :wink:

This request is related to an earlier one by @TalkNet_TechnoStore:

That post did not get any positive responses but I suspect that readers may not have recognized the utility of such a search feature.

This request is also related to the following posts I have made recently:

and

Thanks for your attention!

By the way, what I have in mind is analogous to the search capability in Google sheets:

58

I’d particularly like to have the option to search within formulas (expressions). Perhaps checkmarks for “All tables” “All actions” etc. might be useful too.

Searching the whole App can be done with the App Documentation.

2 Likes

I at least need some sort of precaution message when we delete something.
For instance, when we are in attempt to delete virtual column then, App will tell us “This vitual column is used in XXXXX. Deleting this column is going to break up the appformula in xxxxx. Are you sure?”

Something like that.

Same story for deleting Actions, workflow etc.

Now, we notice the deletion or change in app definition is breaking up something else after the editor sync to reflect such change and give us ALERT with red highlight. It bring us to debug or fix the problem. But when we notice and think “Hang on, l should NOT have done that, I should not delete this column”, but it is too late. UNDo function is freshed, so no longer to “Back to the PAST” in an instant way.

If possible, anyway.

2 Likes

Fantastic @Fabian!! This is great. It’s interesting that 7 people have voted for this. I assume that means that at least seven people felt, like me, that something like this was necessary but, also like me, didn’t know about this feature. Of course, even better search capabilities would be nice, but what you have taught me today is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much!!

1 Like

By the way, @Fabian, I’m tempted to mark your comment as the solution but I think it would be nice to have even better search capabilities, such as what @tsuji_koichi has indicated. So, instead of closing things off as “solved” I think I’ll leave the feature request as it is. But, thanks to you, it is definitely “partially solved”! :wink:

P.S. What you have shared here will allow me to put my app on a diet (getting rid of lots of unnecessary virtual columns and actions). Perhaps I can send you a picture when my app is lean and pretty enough to wear a bathing suit to the beach again! :sweat_smile:

1 Like

All of my Apps are in need of a diet, too :sweat_smile:

1 Like

As I have mentioned elsewhere, search capabilities HAVE been improved:

“Request feature and you shall receive” – well, sometimes anyway. :wink:

With the fact that AppSheet is now part of Google, this kind of search within AppSheet editor should probably be improved. I have voted this, just now.

A sample of AppMaker search is as below picture:

It should be possible (I just say it out-loud) that this kind of capability can be made available within AppSheet Editor. We could search for any word, and it will tell if the word is in Data / UX / Behavior or others and be drilled down to what item, where is it: in column, is it in Valid_if, Initial value, or other expressions. When clicked, it will take us to the exact location of any of our search result, where it should also indicate what other item/expression/actions are connected to the search term.

Awesome!

3 Likes

I appreciate the improvement we’ve seen recently but, like you, I would like to see even more improvement. :slight_smile: