How Google aims to seduce citizen developers

Modern Makers - 13/09/2020

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Hi makers,

This week in the agenda:

🏎️ Google introduces its Business Application Platform

❓The Stack Overflow for no-code makers

🤖 Zapier VS Airtable Automations


📚 Readings

This week I started reading Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. A book published in 1937 that is very often cited among the must-read books on the subject of finance and which has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. In Think And Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill tries to understand the reasons that can explain the financial success of rich people. The result is a thirteen-point method that would allow anyone to get rich according to the author.

Due to a lack of time this week, I have so far only been able to read about 30% of the book. One section in particular echoes the current situation we are experiencing and would almost give the impression that this book was published last week. The book is indeed to be put in the context of the time it has been written, namely the Great Depression, the greatest economic crisis of the 20th century that began with the stock market crash of 1929 (known as Black Tuesday).

Never, in the history of America has there been so great an opportunity for practical dreamers as now exists. The six year economic collapse has reduced all men, substantially, to the same level. A new race is about to be run. The stakes represent huge fortunes which will be accumulated within the next ten years.

We who are in this race for riches, should be encouraged to know that this changed world in which we live is demanding new ideas, new ways of doing things, new leaders, new inventions, new methods of teaching, new methods of marketing, new books, new literature, new features for the radio, new ideas for moving pictures.

Among the contents that I particularly appreciated this week:

🧰 Product

Google is accelerating on no-code/low-code and has announced the launch of the Business Application Platform, a solution that includes API management, no-code application development, automation and analytics. With this global platform, Google Cloud targets "citizen developers" and employees within large groups who do not necessarily have technical skills.

At the heart of this suite is AppSheet, a no-code mobile application development tool that Google has acquired at the beginning of 2020. AppSheet Automation allows, as its name suggests, to automate processes.

Google also announced the integration of Apigee (an API management software that it acquired for $625M in 2016) with AppSheet. Apigee can now be used as a data source for AppSheet and thus allow to easily retrieve data from third-party applications and services via API.

I don't think I will have the opportunity to use these tools but it is still interesting and revealing to see the tech giants (Google but also Amazon with Honeycode and Microsoft with Power Apps) looking strongly at the no-code trend.

⌨ Project

This week saw the launch of NoCode Club, a platform that presents itself as the Stack Overflow for no-code makers. The launch of this project last Tuesday on Product Hunt was perfectly orchestrated as NoCode Club was a great success, finishing 4th in the most popular products.

Behind NoCode Club, we find Pierre Tillement and Laurent Pantusa, the founders of the Hello Tyro startup and based in Belgium.

NoCode Club aims to gather the no-code makers community on a platform and allow them to collaborate and help each other in their projects created with no-code tools. Concretely, members can submit their questions on the platform and ask for help from the community or answer questions asked by other users. A gamification dimension is also present since members can earn karma points and climb NoCode Club's leaderboard.

Of course, NoCode Club is first and foremost a NoCode project. Pierre and Laurent used Bubble to create their platform and manage the user management system among other things. I really like the design of the platform and the video gaming and 80's vibes.

Join NoCode Club

🎙️ Podcast

As every week, The Visual Developers Podcast offers an audio summary of the latest news about no-code tools. Alex Yaseen, the CEO of Parabola, was a guest in the episode #44 released last week.

I was finally able to test Parabola a few weeks ago and it's a tool that I've been following with great attention since then. To put it simply, Parabola allows you to automate data processing and thus perform data manipulation operations. Within a very visual interface and with a Drag & Drop operation, Parabola allows you to create automation scenarios that consist of retrieving data, processing it and sending it back.

For example, I was able to create a flow (the name given in Parabola to an automation processes) that allows me to retrieve the data from my Google Analytics, filter and format it at my convenience in order to send it back to a Google Sheet every morning at 8:00am

In short, if you haven't already done so, I invite you to test this tool that could greatly facilitate certain tasks in your daily work. And I also invite you to listen to this interview with Parabola's CEO, who talks about their recent fundraising ($8M Series A) as well as the genesis of Parabola and the possible evolutions of the product.

An interview with Alex Yaseen

⚒ Tutorials

As mentioned at the launch of Airtable Automations, this new feature has the potential to compete with tools such as Zapier and Integromat depending on the use case. Gareth Pronovost offers us a new video highlighting some use cases that might justify to switch from Zapier to Airtable Automations.

As a reminder, Zapier offers a catalog of more than 2,000 applications while Airtable Automations currently only connects with Microsoft Teams and Slack. Zapier or Integromat remain the obvious choices then when it comes to connecting several tools together.

However, things become more interesting if your use case focuses on Airtable. Especially from a financial point of view. Zapier's starter plan, available for $19 per month, allows you to perform 750 tasks. Airtable Automations is available in the Pro plan at $20 per month and allows you to generate up to 50,000 automations! In addition, this Pro plan also gives access to Blocks, another very interesting feature of Airtable.

In other words, if the desired automation can be achieved via Airtable, it's a no-brainer. Gareth announces that he has reduced his use of Zapier by almost 50% since the launch of Airtable Automations.

Airtable Automations VS Zapier

📦 In other news

📖 No-code in the news

Automation is a habit: here's how to build it - Zapier

A Journey Through Code to Why No-Code - One to Better

How one VC firm wound up with no-code startups as part of its investing thesis - TechCrunch

3 workflows to help you be an Airtable expert - Zapier

That’s all for this week. If you like the content, don't hesitate to share it with your friends or colleagues.


I also invite you to send me your feedback on this content by leaving a comment below.

Have a great week,


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