Google is the latest enterprise software provider to throw its hat into the low-code, app-development ring with a new service called App Maker.
It was made available in private beta on Wednesday for enterprise customers of G Suite, Google’s set of productivity services. App Maker is designed to help companies with tasks like creating custom applications to leverage business data.
The service provides a set of templates and a low-code visual editor that are aimed at helping developers and other IT folks get an app out faster than they’d ordinarily be able to. It’s also aimed at helping ordinary businesspeople get started with development without having to know how to code.
App Maker echoes services like Microsoft PowerApps, Oracle’s Project Visual Code, QuickBase, SkyGiraffe and others. In this case, the apps that users can create with Google’s service are meant to run on the web, but are built to be responsive so that they display well on tablets and phones.
Services like these are designed to make it easier for organizations to create apps for their employees without having to spend months of development time on them. In theory, that should then lead to an explosion in the number of apps available to help employees.
Right from the start, App Maker gives users a drag and drop editor that lets them bring in data, visualization capabilities and other features. But in true Google fashion, the system also has an integrated code editor that will allow users to add additional custom functionality.
Google handles all of the resources necessary to run App Maker apps in the background, and the company won’t charge for the underlying compute power needed to run them. Administrators will be able to manage the apps created by users in the same way that they handle other services like Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs within an organization.
At the moment, App Maker only has built-in connectors to Google services, but a company spokesperson said that it’s “actively investing in easy to use, built-in connectors to the most commonly used services.”
Companies that are part of the Early Adopter Program for G Suite Business will have a chance to try out App Maker before it becomes available to the public. Other customers will have to wait their turn.