Democratizing Application Development with AppSheet

Book description

A hands-on guide to building sophisticated business applications and automation using AppSheet to deliver business results quickly without writing lines of code

Key Features

  • Learn how the AppSheet Editor works to configure, test, and deploy a business app without writing lines of code
  • Get hands-on experience with AppSheet by building a real-world application throughout the book
  • Explore useful tips and tricks to develop custom functionalities in the app to meet unique business needs

Book Description

Many citizen developers regularly use spreadsheets in their business and day-to-day jobs. With AppSheet, you can take your spreadsheets to the next level by enhancing their ease of use. The platform allows you to run your business efficiently and manage it in the field outside of an office or indoor environment. This book enables you to create your own simple or medium to complex hybrid apps for business or personal use.

As a beginner to AppSheet, this book will show you how the AppSheet Editor works and how it is used to configure, test, and deploy an app and share it with others as users or co-authors. You'll learn about widely used features such as how to use data sources, create app views and actions, construct expressions with AppSheet functions, and make your app secure through security and UX options. Next, you'll create email/attachment templates and develop reports/documents based on templates, store in the cloud, and send files through emails. You'll also understand how to integrate third-party services and monitor various usage statistics of your app. As you progress, you'll explore various features with the help of sample apps that you create using the book.

By the end of this book, you'll have learned how to make the most of AppSheet to build powerful and efficient applications.

What you will learn

  • Discover how the AppSheet app is presented for app users
  • Explore the different views you can use and how to format your data with colors and icons
  • Understand AppSheet functions such as yes/no, text, math, list, date and time and build expressions with those functions
  • Explore different actions such as data change, app navigation, external communication, and CSV import/export
  • Add/delete and define editing permissions and learn to broadcast notifications and inform users of changes
  • Build a bot through the AppSheet Automation feature to automate various business workflows

Who this book is for

This book is for beginner and intermediate-level citizen application developers in small or medium size businesses and business users who want to develop their own apps. Basic knowledge of Google Sheets or Excel and an understanding of different spreadsheet formulas are required. Knowledge of SQL and basic software development will be beneficial but not necessary.

Table of contents

  1. Democratizing Application Development with AppSheet
  2. Contributors
  3. About the authors
  4. About the reviewer
  5. Preface
    1. Who this book is for
    2. What this book covers
    3. To get the most out of this book
    4. AppSheet editor styles used in this book
    5. Downloading/referring the sample apps
    6. Download the color images
    7. Conventions used
    8. Get in touch
    9. Share Your Thoughts
    10. Download a free PDF copy of this book
  6. Part 1 – Introduction and Getting Started
  7. Chapter 1: Getting Started with AppSheet
    1. How AppSheet apps are generally built
    2. Prerequisites
    3. Converting your ideas into an AppSheet app
    4. Summary
  8. Part 2 – App Editor and Main Features
  9. Chapter 2: Understanding App Editor and Data Sources
    1. Preparing your data in the right format
    2. Creating a new app from your own data
    3. Exploring the basics of the AppSheet editor
    4. Analyzing the table and column settings
      1. Checking table settings
      2. Configuring column types
      3. Understanding REF-type columns
      4. What is dereference and dereference list?
      5. Creating drop-down lists to assist data entry
      6. Making a slice from a table
    5. Summary
  10. Chapter 3: Presenting App Data with UX/Views
    1. Technical requirements
    2. Reviewing the basics of the UX pane
      1. What is a view in AppSheet?
    3. UX – view types
      1. Single-sheet-type views
      2. List-type views
      3. Other view types
      4. Displaying views
    4. Controlling actions associated with view events
      1. Changing behavior in the table, gallery, and deck views
    5. Format rules to highlight important data
      1. Creating a new format rule
    6. Branding with theme colors and icons
      1. Theme
      2. Primary color
      3. App logo
      4. Launch image
      5. Header and footer
    7. Managing the app’s internal terminology through the Localize tab
    8. Summary
  11. Chapter 4: Manipulating Data with Functions and Expressions
    1. Technical requirements
    2. Understanding functions, expressions and AppSheet Expression Assistant
      1. Type-casting
    3. Making decisions with Yes/No functions and expressions
    4. Making decisions with conditional functions and expressions
    5. Manipulating text with text functions and expressions
    6. Manipulating multiple values with list functions and expressions
      1. List functions and expressions
    7. Performing arithmetic calculations with math functions and expressions
    8. Performing date, time, and duration calculations with date and time expressions
      1. Extracting components of a datetime value
      2. Performing duration calculations
      3. Understanding week-based calculation functions
      4. Calculating duration in decimal value results
    9. Performing record-level operations with table functions and expressions
      1. Understanding the difference between column- and row-level functions
    10. Understanding important miscellaneous functions
      1. Using functions related to the app user
      2. Using the CONTEXT() functions
      3. Using the TEXT() function
    11. Using multiple functions in single expressions
    12. Summary
  12. Chapter 5: Manipulating Data with Behaviors and Actions
    1. Technical requirements
    2. Understanding actions and action types
      1. What are actions?
      2. Action types and their usage
      3. Important settings in the Actions settings pane
    3. Using app actions for navigation and working with CSV files
      1. Deep link expressions for navigation actions
      2. Unconditional navigation
      3. Conditional navigation
      4. CSV export or import actions
    4. Configuring data change actions
      1. Actions for setting the values of some columns in a row
      2. Using bulk actions to change data in multiple rows
      3. Changing data in summary views with bulk actions
      4. Adding a row to another table using values from the current row
      5. Reference actions
    5. Using external actions for external communications
      1. External actions for starting an email, a message, or a phone call
      2. External actions for navigating to a website and opening a file
    6. Sequentially executing multiple actions with grouped actions
      1. Event actions
    7. Offline or sync behavior of an app
      1. Sync – app to cloud
      2. Offline use
      3. Sync – cloud to data source
    8. Summary
  13. Chapter 6: Controlling App Users and Data Security
    1. Controlling who can access an app
    2. Adding app users to your apps and defining editing permissions
      1. Adding new users as normal users
      2. Adding new users as a co-author
      3. Defining the app role for each user
    3. Controlling permission levels with expressions
      1. Using the userrole() expression to control permissions
      2. Using the useremail() expression to control permissions
      3. Passing an expression to the table permission control
    4. Controlling what data is sent to a user’s device and security options
      1. Creating a new security filter per table
      2. Implementing additional security measures for safety
    5. Summary
  14. Chapter 7: Managing the App Environment
    1. Analyzing app features and transferring the app ownership
      1. The Plan requirements tab
      2. Transferring the app ownership
      3. Setting editor settings, copying, and deleting apps
    2. Performing app version management
      1. The version history of an app
      2. Upgrading the app version for all users
      3. Creating a stable version of an app
    3. Deploying an app with all features
      1. Checking an app’s deployment readiness
      2. White labeling an app
      3. Additional options under the Deploy tab
    4. Monitoring app usage and app sync performance
      1. Knowing the user’s app usage pattern
      2. Using Audit History for the row-level user activity
      3. Analyzing an app’s sync performance
    5. Sending on-demand messages to app users
    6. Summary
  15. Part 3 – Advanced Features and External Services
  16. Chapter 8: Automating Recurring Data Changes and Scheduling Tasks
    1. What is AppSheet Automation?
    2. Understanding a Bot and its components
    3. Event – Data change or Schedule
      1. Creating a new Bot
    4. How is a Process constructed?
      1. Steps for a Task or Data change action
      2. Adding a new step to a Process
      3. Setting up a task in a Step
      4. Data change actions
    5. Learning about Bot setup through a practical example
      1. Setting up the column used to trigger the Bot for a data change event
      2. Creating a new Bot by adding a new Event
      3. Adding a new Step to send an email
      4. Running a data change action from a Step
      5. Trying and testing Automation
    6. Summary
  17. Chapter 9: Using Intelligence and Advanced Features
    1. Enabling advanced features
    2. Searching data from an app with Smart Assistant
    3. Building your own predictive models
      1. Creating a new predictive model
    4. Building an OCR model
    5. What are AppSheet OCR models?
      1. What types of images are scannable by OCR?
      2. How do you set and train an OCR model?
    6. Summary
  18. Chapter 10: Extending App Capabilities with Third-Party Services
    1. Technical requirements
    2. Displaying images with dynamic text
      1. Services to use
      2. A quick guide on using the URL service for a basic text label image
      3. Dynamically changing the label contents
      4. Customizing the styles
    3. Using QuickChart to generate a dynamic chart as an image
      1. Building a radial gauge chart
      2. Bonus tips – a working sample expression for a progress bar chart
      3. Generating a QR code for the image dynamically
    4. Integrating with Google Workspace products
      1. Adopting a card-style message rather than plain text
    5. Google Apps Script and use cases
      1. Displaying the latest currency exchange rate
      2. Google Apps Script sample code
      3. Reading data from a spreadsheet
    6. Summary
  19. Part 4 – App Templates and Tricks for App Building
  20. Chapter 11: Building More Apps with App Templates
    1. Creating your apps portfolio for other app creators
      1. Sharing your apps with teams and others
    2. Using others’ app templates to help with your app development
      1. Using app templates from the AppSheet website
    3. Building templates for your self-reference
    4. Summary
  21. Chapter 12: Tips and Tricks
    1. Technical requirements
    2. Formulas (expressions)
      1. Creating a URL to access images and other files
      2. Calculations between time and duration
      3. Number division (decimal to be used)
    3. Actions
      1. Forcing sync upon navigating to the target view
      2. Setup guide
      3. Reference action to update the parent based on the child
      4. Updating child rows based on a data change to the parent row
    4. Column settings
      1. Establishing many-to-many relationships
    5. App settings
      1. Adding a table with a large number of rows
      2. Reading a Google Drive folder as a table
    6. Bots and automation
      1. Creating sequential numbers by using a bot
      2. Creating a dynamic URL to open files created by a bot
      3. Setup guide
      1. Creating a chart or map view
    8. Summary
  22. Chapter 13: Appendix
    1. Joining the AppSheet community to be a citizen developer
    2. AppSheet is growing endlessly
    3. Summary
  23. Index
    1. Why subscribe?
  24. Other Books You May Enjoy
    1. Packt is searching for authors like you
    2. Share Your Thoughts
    3. Download a free PDF copy of this book

Product information

  • Title: Democratizing Application Development with AppSheet
  • Author(s): Koichi Tsuji, Suvrutt Gurjar, Takuya Miyai
  • Release date: January 2023
  • Publisher(s): Packt Publishing
  • ISBN: 9781803241173