Apps for Google G Suite and the Google App Maker

The App Maker

App Maker is a browser-based development tool to create and deliver custom applications for Google G Suite both easily and reliably. Google calls the App Maker a “low-code tool”. In fact, you don’t necessarily need a developer; most of the work is done via intuitive interfaces with the tool providing useful guidance. You can access more advanced features with the integrated scripting editor to access Google’s APIs.

I want to look at the most important functions of the tool here with a practical example.

Model editor

The integrated model editor lets you design data structures and relations that can be used to query the stored data and to display data-based GUI elements (e g. similar to spreadsheets or databases).

We’ve create a simple data model to represent employees; you can use numbers, text, dates, and Boolean values as data types for the fields of a model.

Google App Maker - create a new data model

Google App Maker – create a new data model

Relations can be defined as single or multiple relationships in the model editor. We’ve defined our relationships as follows:

Google App Maker - create a new relation

Google App Maker – create a new relation

GUI editor

In the GUI editor, you can arrange the page elements using drag and drop and bind them to the data models.

For example, here we want to create a form to add new employees to our “Employees” data model and bind a table of existing employees to this data model so that this table is automatically updated when the data model changes.

First, we need to create the form to add new records: Here, we’ve selected the data model elements that need form fields. The form fields can be found in the widget toolbar:

Google App Maker - create a form (step 1)

Google App Maker – create a form (step 1)

Google App Maker - create a form (step 2)

Google App Maker – create a form (step 2)

Now we can select a table from the widget list, to which we assign our data model. We then define which fields of the data model are to be displayed and also define any properties like the table layout:

Google App Maker - set up a table (step 1)

Google App Maker – set up a table (step 1)

This is what our finished form looks like in the editor:

Google App Maker - a form in the page editor

Google App Maker – a form in the page editor

We can now launch our application in preview mode. We can add new records and see that the table is updated automatically:

Google App Maker - preview the form and see how it works

Google App Maker – preview the form and see how it works

Versioning and deployment management

When we publish a new deployment of our application, we can determine who is authorized to use it. It is also important to note the setting whether our application runs as the respective user or not.

Google App Maker - publish a new deployment

Google App Maker – publish a new deployment

Once the deployment has been published, the application is available at a defined address and we can view the application logs or download captured data via the integrated export function.

Google App Maker - our published deployment

Google App Maker – our published deployment

In addition, for each change we made to our app, a new version is created. If we want to undo one or more changes, we can roll back to an older version.

In order to provide a clearer overview, we can add labels to revisions.

Google App Maker - revision history

Google App Maker – revision history

In the second part of this tutorial, I will take a look at the scripting features of the App Maker.

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Further information

Google and the European Privacy Policy: Google joins the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
Want to learn more about G Suite? We are your Google Cloud Partner!
Comparing G Suite and Microsoft Office 365

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