I made my first phone application using Google Sheets and a web-based program called Glide. It was super easy to use, and I had a free, shareable app within an hour.
The Free App Process
First, you sign up with your email or google account. Then, you watch introductory videos. They’re very short, and you get a clear picture of how Glide works. You can create a new app or use a template. I decided to create my own because I didn’t see one that suited my needs. They have templates for photographs, budgeting, inventory tracking, and several other purposes.
If you choose to create your own, then you need to select “New App.” Then you’ll start a workbook in Google Sheets and name your columns and tabs. Everything from the sheet will connect to the app once linked. You will even be able to edit the table within the web interface. The tabs become your menu. Your columns help you organize the information you’ve input. In the interface, you can choose how the data shows in the app – tiles, lists, etc. You can enable others to copy your app by selecting the template option.
If you choose to use a template, you’ll select “Copy to My Apps.” Then, you’ll replace your data with the existing examples. Once complete, you can edit the settings to your taste. You can do all of this within the web interface.
Features I Like
My favorite feature of the Glide app is that you can see your updates almost immediately. You can refresh the app if you’ve edited the table outside of the app to populate new data within seconds. Also, the app viewer changes as you make edits to the look of your data and settings. You can switch been iOS and Android views so you can check that everything displays appropriately with the different systems.
Another cool feature is that you can password protect your app or request email addresses to use the app. This option is excellent for entrepreneurs that use email lists for newsletters and promotions. Once someone logs into the app with their email address, a new tab appears in your worksheet called “App:Logins.”
Also, the app is really easy to share from your phone. You can text the link or scan a QR code.
Downsides to the App
One thing I don’t like about the free app is that there is no way to monetize directly through the app. You would have to insert any advertisements yourself manually. Also, you can’t use your domain. There are paid subscriptions, but it isn’t apparent what you get other than using your domain for the app link.
Why did I make an app?
I wanted to put all my blog posts in one location for a more accessible introduction to my articles. If anyone wants my financial opinion, I can send them the link to the app for full access to various topics versus individual links per article. In a sense, it is my portfolio, but it is much cheaper than purchasing a domain and hosting a website. Also, it’s effortless to update the Google Sheet with new content.
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Flanice Lewis is a DC-based financial literacy advocate, blogger, traveler and breast cancer survivor. In addition to having bought her first house at 23, she is a graduate of Howard University and The University of Virginia. You can follow her on Instagram or read her work here on critical financial.