Jan 17, 2020

Google Cloud, but no code?

Low code on Google Cloud

To bolster its cloud services, Google acquired AppSheet, a no-code enterprise app development platform.

With AppSheet, employees can pull data from spreadsheets, databases, and forms to create internal business applications—like inventory management, inspection record keeping, and employee training. Users can also integrate with richer data sets from AWS DynamoDB, Salesforce, Office 365, and Box.

From Google: "This acquisition helps enterprises empower millions of citizen developers to more easily create and extend applications without the need for professional coding skills."

AppSheet is popular. More than 200,000 apps have been deployed through AppSheet from 18,000 monthly active app creators.

AppSheet users are typically non-professional developers or business analysts at companies without robust development teams.

No code false promises. Over the last few years, the development community has seen the struggles of no code and low code platforms in gaining serious traction. That includes a huge range of tools of varying functionality—from robust platforms like Bubble to spreadsheet databases like Airtable.

Still, Forrester estimates the market for such platforms will grow from $3.8B in 2017 to $21.2B by 2022.

Developers are safe. Most no code platforms can create only basic or standard automations. They also require businesses to trust employees with accessing and manipulating company data, circumventing many of the controls that traditional engineering organizations already have in place.

Google’s acquisition of AppSheet is likely a long-term strategy to bring more developers into its ecosystem.

Non-technical employees import data into Google Cloud to build apps with no code and low code tools. When these apps need extra functionality, they will likely turn to their development team, who will most likely opt to remain in the Google Cloud ecosystem.

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