STARTUPS

Create a Mobile App from Google Sheets Without Code

Glide start-up story. How without code and programming skills create a real mobile app from scratch

I recently found a great tool that allows me to quickly create a universal mobile application and edit it — just using data from a spreadsheet.

Service Glide developed ex-Microsoft employees who want to simultaneously simplify the development of mobile applications and interact with spreadsheets.

All the user needs to do to create an application is to select a Google spreadsheet from their account or create a new one from the set of Glide templates, and then edit the appearance of the resulting application, writes Fast Company.

We thought: is it possible to simplify the entire development process? Create an app, add data to it, improve it, and share it? We want to make it easier not for programmers to create applications, but for everyone.

David Siegel, Glide head

Through the web version of Glide, you can completely customize any element of the application so that it looks and works the way the user wants. It takes about seven seconds to create applications from a template.

All Glide apps are progressive web apps (PWAs). They are cross-platform, compatible with almost any type of device and operating system.

Glide’s possibilities are virtually unlimited, notes a Fast Company journalist. The service can help you create a mobile storefront, a task manager, an app for managing expenses — all based on ready-made templates and table data.

Any app you create is synced with Google Sheets after it is created, so you can update it as quickly as adding a new row or data entry field.

For example, this is what an Android application looks like using the Glide template for an employee database — with a built-in full-featured search engine and messenger:

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Inside it is a regular table with names, positions and the necessary links:

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To launch applications, you need to follow the custom link in a regular browser on any device. If you open it from your smartphone, Glide will offer to add a link to the home screen for quick access to the application.

The desktop version of Glide applications works through a window that emulates a smartphone, which is quite inconvenient, notes Fast Company. But users of the paid version of the service can choose the option in which the tablet version of the application will run on computers.

And this is how an application for listening to podcasts looks like : Glide automatically embeds an audio player, since it found links to audio files in one of the columns of the spreadsheet.

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The startup’s own internal tools also work through Glide, the head of the project notes.

The company is also testing the ability to submit the Glide app to the App Store or Play Store. The data in the app will still connect and sync with the spreadsheet, but the design and appearance will be locked after the app is published in stores.

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Written by

Bioinformatician at Oncobox Inc. (@oncobox). Research Associate at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (@mipt_eng).

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