Rapid Do-It-Yourself Mobile App Development
Not long ago, mobile app development was a complex task that called for programming skills plus a lot of time and money. Today, however, a new generation of app creation tools hides the code behind a friendly visual interface and lets non-programmers create some pretty serious apps.
Why might non-programmers want to create mobile apps? Two possibilities:
You’re an entrepreneur who’s starting a business. In the 1990s, a business had to have a fax number to show that it was a serious business. In the 2000s, a business had to have a web site. Today, more and more businesses have a mobile app to show that they’re serious. (See” 10 Reasons Why Every Small Business Needs a Mobile App” at https://www.allbusiness.com/10-reasons-small-business-mobile-app-104508-1.html)
Your company has decided to take its user information “mobile.” Does that mean apps? If so, how does that affect the doc group? There’s already a group in IT that’s creating apps but they don’t see how user information and apps fit together and they’re backlogged anyway.
What Do You Do?
In each case, the usual answer is to hire a programmer, but that can be time-consuming and expensive. Or you can create it yourself.
“But I’m not a programmer.”
New tools let non-programmers create apps without programming. These business or tech comm apps won’t be another version of Angry Birds™ but they can:
- Showcase your business.
- Boost client loyalty or bring in new clients.
- Add new revenue streams.
- Conveniently provide documentation and information to readers when they’re in the field.
- Extend the documentation’s capabilities.
Your business or documentation app can include email links, make phone calls, link to a web site, show a document or graph, add information to or retrieve it from a database, and more. And you can often create this app yourself in a few days.
Sound interesting? Want to find out how? Check out these three, six-hour workshops that will take you from novice to business app developer. You’ll be able to respond to changing business needs and customer feedback by creating apps in days rather than weeks or months. You’ll do this with no big upfront investment and a low overall cost. All without being or needing a programmer except in the most advanced situations.
You’ll do this using an authoring tool called ViziApps. ViziApps hides gory code details behind a friendly graphic user interface. Some tasks in the data and advanced features workshops can get complex, but nowhere near the programming once required to create an app.
What do these workshops cover?
Creating Mobile Apps Without Coding – the Basics
In this workshop, you’ll get a sense of various app types and uses, basic design issues, and an overview of the ViziApps Studio authoring tool. And you’ll create a simple but functional app with multiple pages, an email link, and a link to your company’s home page that you can show off back home.
Introduction to Mobile
- What is “Mobile”
- Why go mobile
- GUI tools in general and ViziApps specifically
Design Concepts and the ViziApps Interface
- Basic app design concepts
- Overview of ViziApps’ interface
- Paper prototyping
Basic App Creation
- Introduction to “non-data” elements
- Creating app pages
- Adding page navigation
- Adding and formatting text on a page
- Creating an email link
- Creating a link to an external web page
- Overview of publishing
- Publishing to public app stores
- Publishing to Private App Stores
- Using ViziApps’ Instant Publishing feature
Creating Mobile Apps Without Coding – Data Operations
In this workshop, you’ll learn about different databases that ViziApps supports – standard Google Drive spreadsheets for surprisingly powerful data storage and retrieval, plus QuickBase, QuickBooks Online, Salesforce.com, SQL databases, AODocs, M2X, and ThinkWorx. (The workshop will use the Google Drive spreadsheets because spreadsheets are familiar to almost anyone in business.) And you’ll add features to your app that might let users track customer contacts at a trade show or add restaurants listings to a tourism app. Your app is getting more powerful.
Review of the ViziApps Interface
- Discussion of app examples that use data
- Overview of ViziApps’ Interface
Extending the App for Data Handling
- Review of the button, label, and text field fields
- Adding pages to the basic app for data entry, retrieval, modification, and deletion
- Add a navigation page
Review of the Database Options
- Overview of ViziApps’ database options – Google Drive, QuickBase, Salesforce.com, SQL, more
- Review of Google Drive
- Review of the API authentication (security) process
- Creating a database using Google Drive
- Setting the database access options
Review of ViziApps’ Database Commands
- Review of the Select From database command for Google Drive
- Review of the Insert Into database command for Google Drive
- Review of the Update database command for Google Drive
- Review of the Delete From database command for Google Drive
- Creating the four types of database commands
- Using the database commands to create alerts for user feedback
Creating Mobile Apps Without Coding – Advanced Operations (available Q1 17)
In this workshop, you’ll try advanced ViziApps features that let you add power and customization to an app. You might use push notification to send messages to users, GPS to create apps that are sensitive to location, a camera to take photos of accidents to send back to the insurance company, or record audio to capture customer comments in real-time. When you finish this workshop, you’ll be creating powerful apps that let your business or content shine, quickly, inexpensively – yourself.
- Adding photos
- Push notification
- Using GPS
- Creating a document viewer
- Social media login
- Recording audio
- Local storage