Business customers of Google's G Suite collection of cloud-hosted applications now have a new way of quickly building custom apps to speed up workflows, improve processes and to handle tasks that are not typically addressed by large enterprise applications.
The company on June 14 announced general availability of App Maker, a low-code application development tool that it first launched in beta back in November 2016.
App Maker is designed to help professional developers and business professionals who don't necessarily have a formal coding background, including business analysts and system administrators, build applications without necessarily requiring help from IT.
"App Maker was created to enable your line-of-business teams to build apps for the jobs [that] bigger apps don't tackle," said Geva Rechav, product manager at Google in a blog announcing general availability of the tool.
IT budgets often tend to center on CRM, ERP, supply chain management and other large-scale enterprise applications. App Maker was created to enable business units and others to build apps for the jobs that these large applications do not handle, Reva said.
For example, with App Maker, a business unit could revamp processes for tasks such as requesting purchase orders or for addressing help desk tickets. Similarly, with App Maker, an enterprise can build and deploy apps that improve ways to onboard new employees, to approve and launch new projects or for approving travel requests. Significantly, the tool enables such apps to be built in days instead of months, according to Google.
Like other low-code development platforms, App Maker is designed to enable application development with minimal coding. Google has previously described App Maker as offering a cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE) with built-in templates, point-and-click data modeling and a drag-and-drop user interface to accelerate app development. The tool supports popular app development tool standards such as Java, Cascading Style Sheets, HTML and also Google's own Material Design framework.
Since announcing the beta availability of App Maker, Google has added several new features and improved upon existing ones, Reva said. App Maker for instance now comes with integrated support for Cloud SQL for customers of Google Cloud Platform. Organizations can also connect their own database to any app developed with App Maker thanks to new support for a “Bring Your Own Database” capability.
Google has also improved upon the templates, drag-and-drop design and declarative data modeling capabilities in App Maker to enable faster app development, Reva said.
App Maker apps can work with data in Gmail, Google Sheets or Calendar. It also offers a way for organizations to extend the functionality of their apps via App Scripts, a tool for creating application add-ons. Organizations can use App Script to enable their applications to access data in more than 40 Google services and other external third-party services.
Google has also layered features that give administrators more control over App Maker in their domain. Administrators for instance, can use the features to do things such as managing application permissions, viewing reports and logs and deleting App Maker apps and related databases, according to the company.