Google Unveils Low-Code App Maker for Corporate Suite
Google today officially entered the low-code dev tool market with App Maker, targeting business users who want to create apps to work with G Suite, the company's counterpart to Microsoft Office.
G Suite provides business-oriented Gmail, Docs, Drive and Calendar apps that work on desktops/laptops, smartphones or tablets.
In today's announcement, the company said the new App Maker -- unveiled after a private preview with big G Suite customers -- can help customize and extend the G Suite experience and perhaps supplant other third-party tools that provide business functionality such as customer relationship management (CRM), support and project management.
"App Maker lets you build a range of applications customized to meet the needs of your organization and connects to a wide range of data sources and APIs," said exec Elissa Murphy in today's announcement. "This unique flexibility starts with built-in support for G Suite products as well as popular services such as Maps, Contacts, Groups and more. You can also leverage other Google Cloud services such as the Directory API and Prediction API, or third-party APIs, to create richer, more intelligent application experiences."
Like many other similar tools in the rapidly growing low-code space, it provides a cloud-based IDE featuring built-in templates, drag-and-drop UI composability and point-and-click data modeling, which reportedly can let citizen developers easily create their own apps or drastically cut the time needed by professional coders to create apps .
"I was able to develop a really sophisticated app for log-in monitoring from ideation all the way through the final delivered app to our administrators for them to use [in] five weeks," said Troy Whorton, senior application developer for the State of Wyoming, in a Google-provided video. "And that's just unheard of in any other kind of product lifecycle." Whorton said he was at first skeptical of the tool because he's a "real developer."
Other use cases for the tool exhibited in the preview include taking analog claims processes and making them digital and tracking office inventory orders.
The tool is available now only to those enrolled in Google's Early Adopter Program for G Suite Business customers. Interested citizen developers can apply to join that program.
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David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.