Possibly Coming Soon: Creating an App Directly from an Image

Hey everyone!

We’ve been brainstorming about ways to help new users get into Appsheet, and we had an idea that we’re pretty excited about. What if you could create a new app (or add a new table to an existing app) simply by specifying an image of a form? The idea is that you’d upload an image and we’d use machine learning to understand what the fields are - and then use that to build an app!

We picture it working something like this. First, when creating a new app (or perhaps a new table), you’d now click the “Create an App From an Image of a Form”:

Next, select an image from your computer. I’m using this simple receipt form I found on staples.com, but this could be any kind of form - including something you quickly slapped together yourself in a Google doc or slides or something like that.

Click submit, and voila:


A new table (or tables) and a new app with some default views, including a pre-trained OCR model for quickly adding new records.

Right now, all this is just speculative - we think we can make a feature like this, but wanted to gather some feedback before we commit. So, what do y’all think? Is it something worth pursuing?

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I’ll say that its definitely not worth not pursuing. But ultimately what I am hoping for is that you use this feature to build upon the idea of more customizable views. Where one day we could draw a picture of how we would like app to look like, and it will automatically pick and customize a view (or many views if given many pictures) to match.

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I don’t Agree, this will be a long hard journey, full of bugs and user requests for more functionality. This will cost a ton of money and will cost more than it will bring in. I don’t see this as a good idea no matter how amazing it sounds.

I don’t believe this would be worth pursuing,

I say focus on all the other requests instead of these EXTRAS

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Sorry to say, but I don’t really see a need for this. It seems like the same amount of work to either build a spreadsheet form, or build a google slide and submit the picture. I think there are other features that would proceed this one. The only use I can see is if people use paper forms, and want to take a picture of their form to make an app, but most apps probably do not start this way, so it wouldn’t be worth making a huge feature for a small percentage of the “AppSheet Population”.

More Prominent Requests:
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I think so long as this is combined with the current OCR feature as far as development goes then it sounds amazing. I don’t think it will be too terribly different from the OCR feature so I don’t see it being a big deviation from current developments. I think it depends whole heatedly on what resources you guys leverage for this. We currently use Amazon’s Textract process which in a sorta similar way gives us this information. I know that finding a value that is likely a field in pictures is readily available with current tech. If appsheet is gonna develop this from scratch then I agree with Jonathan_S but if this going to use current services then I say its good.

Granted, I’ll admit it is possible that there is a decent number of potential new customers that would like this feature.

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If all I have to do is take a picture of my current paper form and appsheet will create the sheet and even a basic view or form for it then I would be very thankful for that. Helps bridge that very small gap. It’s also a good marketing feature to have. Creating your own app is as simple as taking a picture.

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Could be very useful in the healthcare industry where many businesses still use paper forms.

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I agree with this point of view. Not going to be any more helpful than Spec. In fact I would say Spec could be enhanced to include this feature as well as the UI mockup feature suggested in this thread.

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Aight, I’ll drop my two cents in…
It would be cool for inexperienced app creators that want to digitize a form. Beyond that marketing funnel, I don’t see much value.

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First, I agree with the sentiment that additional focus is needed on existing features and recent Feature Requests. Please, we need these features to be as spotless as possible.


I think most are responding from the perspective of creating new apps from scratch.

However, there is a huge market for conversions. If you think that many businesses are NOT using paper anymore then you MUST think they are using software (but see last comment). A lot of those businesses having aging software looking to migrate to something fresh and new. And most of those, I’ll wager, use both software AND paper.

I tend to think bigger picture. What if the feature described here could be extended to use screenshots from older computer systems in addition to paper forms?

Then the process could take care of a major portion of a migration with just a few keystrokes. Will it produce an end result…no. Will there be customization and movement of columns to fit a new structure…of course. But in large systems, it can save hours upon hours of normal migration work.


If you take all of the above away, I see this functionality being just as useful as creating a sheet with my tables and columns and then creating the app from that. I’m sure we all use that feature? This is one step further, you simply show an image and the sheet is created for you, the app is created for you, OCR rules are established. I think it is an invaluable step towards an even easier way to create apps for many.

By the way, I have done some research for marketing purposes on businesses still using paper as the primary documentation system. It will probably blow your mind how many still do!! Look it up!

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I think this would be very valuable. There are many companies still using paper forms for a lot of their business functions.

There are also a lot of companies where:

  1. They don’t really have someone technical who can build apps in Appsheet despite how easy it is.
  2. More likely, they think they do not have the time to invest in figuring it out.

This feature would bridge that gap even in just getting people started in a powerful and very quick way. Once they had this starting point, they would be convinced to spend the time to learn Appsheet or spend money on help. I would see some only using this feature and it still being of great value to them.

Another interesting thought is this could eventually lead to people being able to create an app from their phone without needing to go onto a computer, maybe even with pen and paper. Think of all the countries where a majority of people are starting to have smartphones but not computers. They are not an ideal market as of now, but in three to five years they might be.

I would he extremely excited about a feature like this. We have legacy forms we still use on paper because we haven’t found a good way to bring them into the web or mobile space.

Considering the amount of ‘thought’ that needs to go into creating a proper relational database in order for Appsheet to run like clockwork… this kind of liberal approach to creating ‘apps’ via images makes me feel a bit uneasy :sweat_smile:

But sure why not…

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I think that’s what they’re trying to learn more deeply from… Hey a user uploaded this image. We made this app, and these are the changes they made to it to get to a final app. With this Appsheet can use AI/ML to learn how to better construct apps on the long run…

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+1 :slight_smile: Nice way to look at it! …

I guess someone has to think outside the box for slightly off-beat stuff like this :slight_smile:

P.S I wish they used some of that secret AI/ML sauce to read through some comments here on the community posted by developers to improve UI for existing customers…and make their (developers) lives easier. Apart from some minor stuff, the last 5 months have been a bit dry in terms of useful updates (UX/UI-wise)… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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Yep, it seems like they’re doing a lot of foundational changes right now. I expect that within 3 months they’ll be through the woods on some of that, and some of these beta/alpha features they’ve been teasing will be more production stable.

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I think It’s very helpful to focus on UI mockup. It’s very important issue, where It discussed in many previous occasions.

Excelente!!!
Un camino para transitar de los negocios con documentos físicos al mundo digital.
La mejor manera de migrar y sin demoras
Adelante!!!

Agree