AppGyver has made a name for itself with developers tools and frameworks like Steroids and Supersonic for building mobile apps. With Composer, the company also launched a simple drag-and-drop tool for building HTML5 apps last year. Now the company is giving Composer a massive update — and a different focus.
Composer 2 still allows anybody to quickly build a mobile app for consumers, but the real focus now is on making it easy for anybody in an enterprise (or even a small business) to build internal line-of-business apps without having to touch any code. Like so many startups before it, AppGyver also found that selling to developers is hard, but its solution clearly fills the needs of the enterprise.
As AppGyver CEO and co-founder Marko Lehtimaki told me, the idea behind the service has always been to “make app development easy for a large audience.” The first version of Composer was the first step for the company in this direction, but this simplified version was already on the roadmap when the team launched Composer 1. “When we put out Composer 1, we know this was going to be a huge development effort to really do what we wanted to do: to make it easy to write apps without any code,” he told me.
As an enterprise tool, Composer 2 natively integrates with standard business databases and data sources ranging from Oracle databases to Salesforce. It also integrates with a number of enterprise authentication protocols. Once users have wired up their data sources, they then build the basic interface and then use an IFTTT-like tool to create the rules that govern the app.
Typically, these kinds of visual programming tools that claim they will let you build an app without writing code work well for a very limited set of use-cases. Lehtimaki and his team found the same, so in the process of building Composer 2, the team focused on making it as extensible as possible. The tool lets you interface with any REST API, but developers can now also write reusable modules for the service (using Steroids, of course).
If you want to plug in a small chat app, for example, all you have to do is get that module from AppGyver’s directory and install it. The same goes for UI extensions, authentication protocols and the advanced algorithms you may need to work with your data. In the long run, AppGyver hopes to create a marketplace for paid modules, as well.
“In all companies, no matter their size, there are always ineffective processes that can be fixed with mobile apps,” Lehtimaki argued, adding that many businesses still use paper forms that need to be filled out every day to keep their business going. He hopes that this new tool will be able to capture and fix many of these broken workflows.
Appgyver will transition Composer 1 users to the new version. The company will offer a free plan for Composer 2 that will allow developers to get started with the service, but this free version only comes with one demo user account. Once you bring “real” users on board, you’ll have to pay. Prices start at $9/month per user. AppGyver plans to offer custom plans for big enterprises, too.