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Google expands no-code tools and automation for "citizen developers"

Google Cloud reveals Business Application Platform launches, including API management, process automation, and no-code tools

Google wants to make it easier to accelerate digital transformation by "citizen developers" with no-code business apps, automation and API management.

The Business Application Platform, announced today, builds on Google Cloud's acquisition of Apigee API management, as well as its efforts in AppSheet no-code application development, said Amit Zavery, vice president of Business Application Platform at Google Cloud, in a blog post.

"We’ll be adding new features in these areas that leverage Google Cloud’s expertise in hybrid and multi cloud architectures, artificial intelligence and machine learning, lifecycle management, security, and productivity and collaboration," said Zavery.

The first of three launches is a beta release of API Gateway, a managed service for Google Cloud workloads and serverless backends that includes authentication, key validation, and rate limiting.

"Serverless workloads are becoming more popular with developers, who are increasingly packaging their serverless applications as APIs, both to share them with other teams and to expose them publicly over the web," said Zavery. "API Gateway lets developers secure and manage their APIs built on Compute Engine, GKE, App Engine, and serverless backends (Cloud Functions and Cloud Run), all without having to write code for different endpoints or worry about any of the infrastructure configuration or scaling."

The second launch is an early access release for AppSheet Automation, a tool that lets non-technical users pull in data to automate processes, be they human centric, document based, or something else. Security is built in, and AppSheet Automaton uses natural language inputs and an intuitive interface so anyone in a business can automate a process.

"When business processes rely on manual actions, valuable time is often wasted updating systems instead of focusing on work that drives the enterprise forward," Zavery said. "Moreover, opportunities for mistakes or communication lapses are abundant. Line-of-business workers are closest to these challenges, so empowering them to optimise and automate processes is an important area of enterprise innovation."

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Google also announced general availability of Apigee as a datasource for AppSheet, so users can pull in data from Apigee APIs for no-code apps. Google AppSheet lets businesses build applications without any coding — hence the name "no-code" — pulling in data from sources such as G Suite, mySQL and Salesforce.

That is now being expanded via a system called Data Source for AppSheet, which will let "citizen developers" pull in a wider range of information to automate business tasks, beginning with Apigee.

"By enabling employees to build apps that leverage Apigee APIs and require no coding, enterprises can both empower line-of-business employees without technical experience to create innovative apps and reduce traditional IT backlog," said Zavery.

Google pointed to recent figures from analyst firm Gartner showing that by 2023 there will be four times as many active citizen developers at large enterprises than professional developers.

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