Free Glide App- make mobile app from Google Sheets

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Click this link to go to developed app.

click on red icon top right to get share link

Glide is a bit like Coda, but different. Its intentions is to build an app without needing to code. Allowing you to focus on content rather than process.

It has a free tier and you need to sign up/sign in. You need a google account so that you can access your spreadsheets on drive. There does not seem to be a limit on the number of apps you can create.

When opening the app there are examples that you can follow. You can open the original spreadsheet and save a copy to your drive to play with, to see how their app is set up.

The free version is just a web link that you can share. If you wish to create apps that you can put up on Google Store & Apple Store it will cost $100/month + whatever fees for app store.

Condition Survey App Process

An idea I had for this was to make a mobile app that allows you to inspect a building and change condition rating for, say, wall finishes from C2 to C3 as there are more marks on wall. A tool that could be used by maintenance team as they go into do other work on the property.
As the process uses google sheets you do not want to make the sheets too big or the process will slow right down, making the idea of a mobile app so inefficient that it is unusable.

You could set it up per property/project and have an overarching app that has all the properties that would link to each site, so an app to find an app. I initially just built a prototype for the initial app and then found this article on linking to other apps using links in the spreadsheet to other spreadsheets. I will be testing this next.

With learning all new tools there is a looping/adjusting process that you need to go through to see how much the programme will do and how much you have to adjust your expectations until you hit the effective compromise.

I found the tool easy to use, playing with the interface took a bit of time and I can see this taking a lot of time until you become familiar with the tool.

The nice thing about this is that you can easily copy a setup and use it as a template for other projects. So once you have the basic information in the format you require, copy and adjust. That is OK for the spreadsheet holding the data but you may need to re-build the UI for each site as the data is automatically formatted on import and then you tweek /adjust the layout to your needs. That could take a bit of time for a large number of sites. But once done would not require adjustment later.

Edit and comment

When you navigate to a specific room which you want to update, you can edit the data on that particular screen, when done (press done at top right of screen) and that change is saved to the spreadsheet. There is a comment tool that you can add to a page, so the person making the change can add, after giving name (sometimes logging in with email (I have to learn more about that feature), a comment, so that they can identify a change or report extra issues.

Controls for access to the app

Another feature of the tool that I like is its control over access. You can have a whitelist of emails to control who views the app, or make it password protected, or make it public.

Video email & video tutorials

While watching the tutorial in the article above, there was an embedded video from Loom. A free screen videoing tool. I found his clip very useful.

I used a video email to send with my demonstration of Glide. I used OBS and then uploaded the video to Google Drive and then sent a link in an email. I thought the idea of the video email was useful as you could discuss a lot of the elements and show how they were used rather than writing lots of paragraphs of information. The negative of this is that you do not want to fill your drive up with lots of videos and also uploading to Google Drive was an extra step. So Loom may be an easier way to go.

You could use this tool to embed Tutorial videos in the app to explain how certain parts of the app work or an explanation on how to make adjustments.

Updating information in AMIS from Google Sheets

So someones gone to site and altered some conditions in the app. How do these changes get processed? How do you trigger this event?

I’d like first to discuss the data capture/store/use of process. There will be an Information Management Information System (AMIS) where the most current data is stored. This is the one source of analytics for the data, so needs to be kept up to date. So, putting data in Google sheets, away from this system means that the sheets are secondary sources of data, used for information gathering. The gathered information updates need to return to the AMIS. So how to do this?

Google sheets has a notification service that will notify someone by email when a change has occurred on a sheet. So if updates occurred, then an administrator can update the AMIS from a specific sheet.

Google sheet notifications

Google sheets has an inbuilt notification tool that will send emails to the account owner (image 1 below).

You can also get add-ons that will create more specific notifications that will email different accounts, so you have multiple recipients and the triggers can be on specific tabs of specific sheets as well.

Once updates have been identified the updated information can be transferred back to the AMIS at regular intervals. You could do all updates on a weekly or monthly basis.

Scanning QR code for app

To share the app you can either send a link or there is a QR code that can be used. If you scan the QR code it will open the link to the app. You could place the QR code at entry points to the building so that people going to the site can get the app loaded quickly without going through another app to choose the specific building. I think this would be a dynamic QR code, that means the QR pattern stays the same, but you can make changes within the app. This is important or you’d be forever updating the QR codes.

End comment

Overall I am very pleased as to how far I got with the app. It is quite fast and presents well.

I would have liked more informative information on setting it up, but enjoyed playing with it.

Developing the overarching app with links to this app is the next test. Then I will review what else I could use this for. I was considering whether I could change out my Shopping App which I use Google Forms to capture my spending which then puts the information into a google spreadsheet. The comment field is the list of items that I have purchased, but this goes to a different tab in the spreadsheet. I most probably have to do a combined tab that takes data from a number of sheets.

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