Who has a need for Appsheet Apps For Users Outside of your Company Domain

I have been thinking about this issue quiet a bit lately, but I have a need to make an application (or even multiple applications) available to users that are outside of our company domain but they still need to be authenticated.

I have come across possibilities of just adding user licenses at $5/user or $10/user and then maybe authorizing those users via the Okta domain feature. Lets say you have roughly 100 users/month that try to submit data to your organization on a monthly basis, that adds up to $500-1000 per month. Or the alternative would be to use the Publisher Pro plan and use a ‘hacky’ way of authorizing your users, which ultimately is not really secure, but only $50/month.

So ultimately the question or discussion topic is who has a need to be able to present securely authorized Appsheet applications to a sub user group but has not done so because of the associated costs? What alternative did you develop and what were your upfront and or continuing costs having to run and maintain your alternative? And finally how likely would you use an alternative plan from Appsheet to be able to authorize a sub user base for applications if it existed?

The reasons I bring up this topic is looking at MS PowerApps they have introduced ‘Guest Portals’ at a flat rate per X users per month, which appears to be much more reasonable than the $500-1000/month. Going the traditional developer route of course presents a larger time investment and knowledge of programming (or alternatively an upfront cost for hiring a developer) but then using Firebase authentication and hosting, it is just based on resource consumption. I suppose that could be great also if Appsheet could provide a plan based on resource consumption of an application. On a side note I’m locked into the Googleverse already, so unlikely I would have the opportunity to use MS PowerApps to get my conundrum figured out.

Is this just wishful thinking???

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This is an interesting question. I have given access to my apps to outside customers but mostly just for demo purposes so it is not a long term thing. But it has always been business to business so everyone has a Microsoft account and can authenticate that way.

For your question of AppSheet providing a plan on a per use basis, I think it sounds good but implementing it would be tricky. For now, they can easily calculate a per month user count with a low amount of compute. However if you move to per use, now AppSheet would have to keep track of each time span so it would require alot more compute on their side. It would also be tricky once you take into account the offline capability of the apps. Would AppSheet charge for just the time online or also keep track of offline time also?

It is an interesting question but am unsure how it would be implemented.

You do raise an interesting point for the offline capability.

My initial thought is that the offline part is really just rendering views and executing code locally on the device much like a PWA would work (essentially service workers would handle that on a PWA). However, whenever you need to perform CRUD operations against your datasource would be when those charges would incur anyways, much similar to performing those tasks on a per line item when connected vs a bulk action when synching after having been offline. Albeit when synching many data changes the bulk actions might actually execute faster thereby incurring less resources.

I don’t know. Just dreaming here I suppose, mostly because I know we would not be able to afford the per user price at the moment within our organization outside of what we already have with the Google Workspace subscription.

The reason I bring up the offline comment is because our users work in remote areas sometimes and will use the app all day but then only connect to Wi-Fi in the hotel for just a brief time of total use to sync. It is not a problem, just something for AppSheet to consider.

I am also fully committed to using the “Googleverse” as you put it, and if we are already being charged per use with our database, it would be easy to translate that into an per use app cost, if that is the approach AppSheet wants to do. They are putting a value on transactions not the actual interface.

I believe that you can change your subscription from the per user to the per app model but you will have to contact your sales rep.

This sort of scenario is what the business subscription models are for - you might reach out to sales@appsheet.com about this.

I know of people that have a business plan that runs them $5k a year; that would be less than paying $5/user each month.

I’m curious to see other answers from people about this:

I have talked to dozens of people - maybe something on the order of a dozen or so each year (for the past 5 years) - that have all found AppSheet and wanted to use it to build a platform…

  • but ultimately abandoned the dream because of associated AppSheet costs.

AppSheet would have been perfect for them, allowing them to build an app that they could then offer as a subscription service (like SO many of the SaaS things you see); but because of the associated AppSheet cost (and ONLY the AppSheet cost) they weren’t able to move forward.


When AppSheet first started, they branded themselves as the ‘app builder for everyone’ - but quickly learned that everyone is cheap and can’t afford to pay traditional developer salaries. So they adapted their business model to target small to medium sized businesses - they have the disposable income to throw $500/month at software without batting an eye. This then allowed AppSheet to keep the lights on, hire more people, expand the platforms capabilities, and ultimately attract the eye of Google.

It would be nice, now that they’re not a struggling SaaS provider and instead living under the Google umbrella, to see them re-brand themselves again and bring their pricing structures in line with citizen developers in mind.

They could empower tens of thousands of people, charities, non-profits, local organizations, small businesses, Citizen Developers, and anyone with a dream of providing some software solution specific to their industry… if it was only affordable to them.

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I’ve been waiting to hear from them about exactly this for about 2 months now. I have received one follow up just stating that they would need to reroute the question to the appropriate team. But still have not actually gotten to talk to someone.

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I’ve had the same experience with LOTS of potential clients. Now I get those questions out of the way before we even start discussing the rest of the app.

Sometimes they’ve already invested countless hours building an app before they realize AppSheet is cost-prohibitive for their use-case. Other times they know to ask, or I bring up the pricing, and I basically end up talking them out of using AppSheet by simply relying the facts. It’s just not the best platform for all use-cases.

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Could be… just a choice by decision makers somewhere.

$5k/year would not be overly terrible, but even that expense I would probably need to be able to justify given how we are continually having to cut budgets. However, I suppose getting something set up for maybe 200-300 individuals and using Otka authorization flow might be even less than that. Do you have some more specific details under this kind of scenario, like how many users or such?

Unfortunately you won’t be able to use an authorization domain without having a business subscription. :frowning:

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I mean Appsheet gets cheaper the more each user uses Appsheet apps. If they use 1 app once a month that’s not efficient but someone that uses 10 apps 12 hrs a day 7 days a week for a month costs the same. If you need lots of small/single use users then the authentication shouldn’t matter as much? If authentication is important then it would be worth the 5/10$?

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To be quiet honest, the main reason I was looking at needing authentication is because I do need to limit users to subsets of data from multiple tables. However, that is mostly just to make sure they do in fact submit data for the correct entries vs just any of the entries.

I have come across a post where it talks about registering specific devices to your users and then filtering data based on device ids associated with a user and using the publisher pro setup. I thought the topic was rather intriguing, I just wasn’t sure if that level of ‘security’ was enough?

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That’s my case exactly as well, i don’t require “authentication” as much as i need to know just who’s using the app at the moment to show them just what they need to see.

It IS intriguing indeed, can you share the link? hehe

It is not secure by any means, from what i have read it means someone could squeeze all the information from your app if he was tech savvy enough.

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any means is a bit much. I mean if you secure it using device_id and security filters it’s technically more secure than by using user email in a security filter.

Hmm that’s a good point, if the device has a password then it is fairly secure i guess.

Except you can’t use security filters in publisher pro apps.

Huh?

Do you believe different?

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I figured since its called Publisher Pro, you get all Pro plan features?

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