TL;DR Interview with Marc
Marc goes in depth about making and building his project Measured Work. What’s interesting is that product development is not his background. He is a Surveyor by trade and was able to use no-code tools to build a working application.
Additionally, he goes through how can you decide between when to use Glide or to use Adalo. What are the positives of both and what are the limitations of each? Find out in this short read.
MF: I’m an experienced Quantity Surveyor working for volume house building contractors in the UK. After years of comfortable work, I want to expand my skills into developing business solutions using software.
MF: Like most ideas, it arose from the obvious need for better collection and use of data within the businesses I work for. The construction industry is traditionally late to exploit tech solutions and I want to see this changed. NoCode is a great compromise to build software with no risk or software development experience and the thriving tools are testament to the broad adoption of this new movement. I wanted a mobile-first solution and chose Adalo for the relational database and logical build process; the canvas and linked screens provide a nice UI (User Interface) for visual development. Adalo also has some great video tutorials and a helpful support forum.
A key feature of Measured Work is capturing granular data of a project as it progresses and I found myself becoming frustrated by not being able to build everything I wanted. I also managed to irreversibly break a database relation which caused me to abandon an entire build.
Glide has a data limit of 25’000 rows of data which would be insufficient to use in a ‘production-ready’ build for paying users. Measured Work records a time stamp value when certain parts of a project are marked as complete. A time stamp isn’t available with Glide so I used a Google Script instead. An unfortunate consequence of using Google Scripts is a time-delay of several seconds before the time stamp value is displayed in the app. This delay would be unacceptable in real life use. I also want to produce reports for users but Glide is incapable of this. Finally, the PWA (Progressive Web App) build that Glide produces is not widely adopted and lacks some features of a traditional app so may be treated with some scepticism by my potential users.
They are both very similar tools in that they build mobile-first tools with great UI’s. Adalo has an integrated database, although their API allows connection to external data sources whereas Glide uses a Google Sheet. I have experience with Microsoft Excel so found the use of Google Sheets a natural step to take. Adalo have recently opened up a component market place which is getting wide approval and Glide are continuously rolling out upgrades. Glide is a cheaper option to upgrade from the free plan than Adalo and there will also be extra expense if you launch on the Google or Apple App stores. I would say if you have some spreadsheet experience, then Gilde will have a shallower learning curve that Adalo
I think there’s a lot of tools, services and newsletters being built for the NoCode community by the NoCode community when the real audience and customers are to be found outside of our comfort zone.
FOLLOW UP QUESTION:
Reasons listed by Marc:
1. No-code awareness in general. People don’t know about it.
2. Education more niche experts need to learn how to make something
3. Guide, because these types of niche makers don’t know how to do product development, talking to users and product marketing to launch something.
Perhaps it’s mostly matters of experience and confidence that drive a maker to progress and build for wider markets. Experience in tool capabilities, limitations, costs, risk and marketing and confidence that comes with experience but also by being inspired by other successful makers.
I love using Integromat and am learning everything I can about it. The potential to automate any number of tasks is so exciting. When tools like Integromat can assure users of their data security, we’ll see an explosion of activity in automation tools.
I find that sometimes there are so many unanswerable questions that the only way to move forward is to build and expect to have to restart several times. Each new start will include the lessons you learnt from the previous build. I learnt that when dealing with lots of data and especially lots of similar data it’s essential to prevent ‘technical debt’ This means taking the time to avoid shortcuts that may cause problems when you are further along in your build. Use logical labels, be consistent and take the time to do things properly. You’ll thank yourself in the future.
I enjoy searching Google for solutions and watching tutorials. If a tool has a mature documentation then take some time to read through it. Yes, start building and try everything. I think that even though you may not achieve what you set out to do then experience gained will serve you well.
Measured Work is a prototype which is being used for demonstration and validation. If you know anyone who is a house building subcontractor in the UK that would be interested in helping test this software, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
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