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App design best practices

To create a high-performing and easy-to-use app using App Maker, follow these design best practices. These recommendations focus on design; see also Best practices for security.

Create a focused app

App Maker works best for apps that have:

  • Simple workflows.
  • One solution—If you have several related solutions, deploy them individually as smaller apps that share the same Cloud SQL database, rather than creating one large app. Small apps run faster, and the shared database provides a single source of truth for data.

Make your user interface simple and fast

  • Minimize the number of widgets in an app.
  • Use simple tables and forms with a smaller number of fields shown at one time. We recommend less than 10–15 fields.
  • Include a modest number of pages, fragments, and dialogs. We recommend 10–30 in total.
  • Minimize the use of widgets that provide edit actions, such as Text Box, DropDown, Checkbox, and Date picker. For example, rather than including a fully editable table, provide a Popup dialog that allows editing of a read-only table.
  • Use performance settings on pages, panels, and container widgets to delay loading pages and widget content into the browser. For details, see Performance settings.
  • Remove unused widgets and pages to shorten the initial load time.
  • Style your app for different screen sizes and optimize the widgets that display on smaller screens. For details, see Styling for different screen sizes.
  • Make your app accessible for all users, including persons with disabilities. For details, see Make your apps accessible.

Examples of good apps for App Maker

  • Apps that 1–2 developers can build
  • Document-approval apps
  • Dashboard apps, such as a project or task-tracking database
  • Registration apps where users submit a form that starts a workflow
  • Messaging and communications apps, such as simple email notification systems
  • Apps with simple integration with third-party REST services, such as fetching and pushing Salesforce® data
  • Apps that replace processes that rely on overused spreadsheets
  • Apps that replace small to medium-size legacy enterprise apps

If you need to create large, multi-solution, or highly customized apps, consider using Google App Engine in Google Cloud Platform (GCP). You can use App Maker to prototype small, feature-specific apps while they're built into the larger GCP app.

What to avoid

  • A complicated user interface—When a user opens an app, the entire interface is loaded into the user's browser, even pages that they might not need.
  • Many high-data widgets, such as tabbed panels, editable fields, and dynamic content.
  • Highly connected apps that use many third-party services beyond REST.
  • Apps with many business requirements.
  • Apps that require a large development team.