Getting Started with AppSheet
AppSheet is a leading low-code platform for creating business apps. The platform was originally created to develop apps for mobile devices back in 2014 and has been growing ever since. AppSheet became a reputable Digital Transformation (DX) platform and helps app creators to develop business apps compatible with devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, most importantly, without writing a single line of code.
AppSheet will offer you a path to develop a robust application that could solve a challenge you face in your business without asking for coding skills and knowledge. AppSheet prepares a set of template apps with which you can start to build your own apps, and you can also create a new app from a scratch using data such as Excel and/or Google Sheets. The beauty of AppSheet is that everyone can get on board easily and start for free.
Google constantly keeps adding new features to enhance the functions of AppSheet. This means AppSheet can be used to create business applications with tons of advanced features to facilitate the daily jobs in your offices and solve your own business problems. However, once we start a journey with AppSheet by building our first app, you may notice that it is not easy to handle this platform to customize app behaviors to meet your own requirements. In the context of the comparison between no-code and full-code development, a no-code approach to building an application is far more efficient and productive than full coding in terms of the required number of man-hours to complete a project. However, to validate this comparison, app creators must be proficient as well as confident in no-coding tools such as AppSheet.
This story applies to AppSheet. An understanding of AppSheet is a key to success for efficient business applications. Hence, Learn AppSheet is an essential first step for all app creators who want to freely develop their own unique apps.
This book is designed for absolute beginners to AppSheet as well as those who have a small amount of experience to assist them in learning the platform in a structured manner. The process of development with AppSheet is generally consistent regardless of the type of app you build. It is vitally important to understand the AppSheet way of development when building your apps by learning the basics.
Throughout this book, you will learn the overall processes to develop apps from the beginning to the end to increase your level of confidence in handling the AppSheet Editor. Furthermore, we will touch upon some advanced skills and techniques for you to develop feature-rich applications with AppSheet.
By the end of this book, you should be able to grasp the full process of building an AppSheet app with basic features.
Your path as an AppSheet app creator is endless. Each time you learn something new, you will have something else to aim for ahead of you. We hope this book will provide you with a gateway to being a successful AppSheet creator.
In this chapter, we will cover the following topics:
- How AppSheet apps are generally built
- Converting your ideas into an AppSheet app
How AppSheet apps are generally built
- First, you prepare the data source, usually a spreadsheet on a cloud platform such as Google Drive.
- Next, you connect the data source to AppSheet. After you connect the data, AppSheet will automatically generate the app for you.
- Once the data is connected, the app development process moves to the AppSheet Editor. Through the AppSheet Editor, you define how the connected data will be used and configure various app settings, including creating actions for data manipulation and navigation, designing views and layout, and adding automation bots.
- You can invite test users to try the app for further improvement.
- When the app is ready, AppSheet provides an easy way to deploy the app to your team and colleagues.
In summary, those five steps are as follows:
- Connecting the data source
- Editing your app definition
- Deploying the app
By reading this book, you will learn the basic sequence of this app development process. All app developments occur in the AppSheet Editor. We will be covering all the important details of these steps to learn how to configure your app through the AppSheet Editor in the upcoming chapters.
To work with AppSheet, it is helpful if you are familiar with spreadsheets such as Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel; AppSheet uses its own expressions but most of them are identical to Google Sheet formulas. The syntax can sometimes be slightly different, but the idea is mostly the same. Also, having an understanding of the basic concepts of how spreadsheets work will help you to build your app’s foundation. However, don’t worry if you are not familiar with Google Sheets – you will get to know it in the following chapters. In fact, there are a number of AppSheet expressions that are unique to AppSheet and not found in other spreadsheet services. We will cover AppSheet expressions throughout this book, especially in Chapter 4, Manipulate Data with Expressions and Formulas.
In addition to familiarity with spreadsheets and formulae, it is helpful if you know a thing or two about databases. AppSheet is a database-driven platform; the concept of the relational database is one of the basic foundations of AppSheet. However, this is not absolutely required, as you learn what you need to know while learning AppSheet.
Converting your ideas into an AppSheet app
We wish to highlight some important concepts before we begin looking at AppSheet.
Whenever you develop apps with AppSheet, your requirements for the application come first. Building apps means that your ideas are converted to AppSheet apps. You should always have an idea of what you want and expect from your app. For example, you may wish to develop an app with a function to help a company’s internal approval process for applications for holidays. You also may wish to add a function to send notifications to concerned parties once the applications are approved.
Once you have a clear idea of what you want, think about what you need to do with the AppSheet Editor. AppSheet provides a wide range of options to customize the behavior of your app. To achieve your goals using the AppSheet Editor, you need to know where in the AppSheet Editor to go and how you need to define your own logic. Finding the shortest paths through the AppSheet Editor is key to making your app development process efficient. To gain that skill, you need to understand AppSheet’s basic processes.
We hope that you now have an AppSheet account prepared and are ready to start the journey with us. As stated in this chapter, the app-development process consists of certain routine steps, regardless of the kind of app you are trying to create. By learning these essential steps in detail, you will be able to master AppSheet.
In the following chapter, we will start with data preparation and creating a new app, which is always the first step in AppSheet app development. Let’s start learning now!