No/Low Code

Review of Appgyver, A Low Code Platform

Appgyver is one of the most popular low-code platforms. It also has the backing of some major players in business tech. But how do we feel it stacks up?


Introduction

Welcome back to Tech Tuesday. My name is Alexandra and today we are going to take a look at Appgyver, a low-code/no-code platform. We have a written about with the other platforms if you want to check out those here.

Pros

One: The design tool inside Appgyver is great. It allows nearly pixel-perfect designs. Basically, anything your design team wants to implement for your app development can be rendered in Appgyver. So you can have a finished product that is visually stunning and professional looking.

Two: Appgyver has the backing of a large company (SAP) and so the platform is likely to mature quickly. It’s also likely to have longevity with the support of a company of that size. While it’s always a little risky to outsource your project to a third-party platform – what happens to your app if it shuts down? – with Appgyver it’s safe to assume that the risk is somewhat mitigated with SAP backing the platform.

Three: API fetching and authentication is very capable for standard implementations. Most of what you’re going to want to do as far as connecting with an API is going to be functional in Appgyver. 

Four: Within Appgyver, you can dynamically set variables and values through custom formulas that are fairly easy to interact with. This is a huge upgrade over the lack of customization we saw on the Bravo platform.

Five: It is pretty easy to get up to speed on the tool. They have short walk-through videos on the basic implementation which make it easy to learn. If you are new to the tool, the amount of time it takes to learn it will not be excessive. By which I mean, it won’t counteract the acceleration you get from using a low code/no code platform in the first place. And of course, you only get more efficient on future projects from there.

Six: It’s also very easy to interact with user data through built-in logic components. With other platforms, this isn’t necessarily built-in and it requires you to either write a custom API or make a workaround. Since it’s built-in, you don’t have to write custom code and the built-in logic components make it easy to build more complex logic on top of the already existing user data structure.

Seven: There are active user forums with tips and assistance from the Appgyver team or other users. It is easy to find answers and ask your own questions.

Cons

One: The Appgyver design tool is proprietary, and it really doesn’t translate to anything outside of the Appgyver ecosystem. Contrary to learning a particular programming language in which you often translate skills that can become helpful even in other another language. 

Two: OAuth is broken and has been for a long time. This is a documented issue on the forums and even though they say there will be a fix, there hasn’t been one. 

Three: Although the forums are a great place to find answers, official documentation is lacking. The community does a good job of filling in the gaps, but we always want to see documentation up to a basic level. Appgyver doesn’t hit that mark.

Four: No custom components. Not at all. You have to use exactly what the platform provides. There’s not a lot of room for workarounds. So, before jumping into a project, it’s important to be really familiar with what the platform is good at and what is completely unavailable. For some projects, this platform will simply be a non-starter.

Five: The built-in navigation components are not customizable. For instance, if you want to include a back button only on some screens, but not others… that’s not really possible. If you want your own static text on the header, the back button breaks. You cannot add pictures or icons in the header. If you make a custom header to avoid all of this, it doesn’t go all the way to the top of the screen and can be challenging to style.

Six: While you are able to install additional components, there is again a lack of documentation. There is no explanation of how to use them. Again you have to turn to the community for help or brute force to figure it out.

Seven: Certain styling tools are just broken and have been for a long time. The fact that there are longstanding broken components to the platform without any updates on fixing it is a pretty big flag. 

Eight: Styling tabs are hard to navigate. There are two different tabs and the options close when navigating between the tabs or between components, which can make it difficult to reference changes.

Nine: Reverting changes is easy, however, it shows a history of ‘commits’ with no explanation of what was saved or changed. It leaves you essentially guessing when it comes to reverting changes to a particular point in time in the app

Ten: If you want to preview changes as you’re working, you must save first. This complicates the aforementioned history log. It makes it even more challenging to revert changes or navigate through the history of the app.

Summary

Overall this platform is useful if what you’re building fits within the functionality the platform has built in. If you have a straightforward app with some simple functionality it is likely to be covered by the basics of Appgyver. However, if you have a unique idea, take a close look at what Appgyver offers before getting started. You will likely find that you won’t be able to accomplish some key components of your app and there will be no workaround.

Once you learn the platform, there’s definitely some acceleration, again if you’re building things the platform has been designed for. Styling is a bit challenging, but you can get pretty darn close to pixel-perfect. So this is a scenario of “look before you leap.”

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