Cloud app buiding platforms for business

Updated: March 20, 2019

2018. Zendesk launched customer service app builder



Zendesk announced Zendesk Sunshine, a new platform for creating customer-focused applications on top of Zendesk’s toolset. Companies can build apps on top of Sunshine, typically customer experience or customer relationship apps, and they will be hosted natively on AWS and have access to all the AWS services. And all of the applications rely on the Sunshine platform for information sharing. This approach is aimed at helping Zendesk customers build applications to take advantage of the data they are collecting inside of Zendesk as a natural byproduct of doing work with the service, but over time independent developers could begin working on the platform too.


2018. Zoho opened a platform for developers



Zoho unveiled Zoho Office Platform - a brand new way to integrate, connect, and build solutions over Zoho's world class office editors. It provides a set of simple, easy to integrate APIs to give your apps a built-in document editor. Create, open, and edit documents right from your web app. This is especially helpful for businesses that are building a web application but still need fully-featured office editors to handle document management in-app. You can connect your apps to the Zoho Office Suite using our Open APIs. This will let your app users create, open, edit, convert, publish, and manage Zoho Office documents right from your app. Take a look at our detailed Sheet and Writer API docs to get started.


2016. Google launched App Maker for G Suite


Google App Maker is a simple drag-and-drop app building environment that allows anybody to quickly develop basic apps that serve a very specific purpose inside an organization. These applications then run on the same infrastructure on which Google’s own G Suite apps run, and IT admins can also manage them. The typical use case for these kind of apps are time-tracking solutions, or tracking orders and inventory — essentially any problem inside a company that can be easily digitized and solved by a very basic custom app. App Maker allows to pull data from your G Suite applications, Google Maps, Contacts and Groups and virtually any service that offers an API. Also it embraces open, and popular standards like HTML, CSS, Javascript and Google’s material design visual framework, so developers can build apps quickly, in a development environment that leverages their existing skills and knowledge.


2016. Microsoft launched its no-coding app builder



Microsoft opened the new service PowerApps that allows anybody to build basic business apps without having to touch any code. These apps can run on the web and on mobile (through the PowerApps apps for iOS and Android).  Building apps in PowerApps is mostly a drag-and-drop affair. While the service offers an online dashboard, the design work happens in a Windows 10 desktop app. It also offers a number of templates for a couple of standard use cases. For the most part, though, building new apps from scratch is pretty straightforward — though maybe not quite as trivial as Microsoft’s marketing wants to make it look.


2015. Bizness Apps launched a new white-label App Builder



Mobile apps builder for small business Bizness Apps is launching Apex, a complete rebuild of their app builder platform. The new platform was built with the goal of shortening total development time, and will combine design, app building, and marketing all into one web-based platform. Essentially, Apex contains everything someone a web professional needs to quickly build interactive apps for clients. Apex bucks the trend by allowing builders to easily add interactive modules like loyalty programs, ordering systems, and deep location-aware features features. The platform also allows builders to customize the look and feel of their app, all the way down to specific fonts and colors. Apex also handles submission of the app to both iOS and Android app stores, as well as offers builders post-approval features like push notifications and engagement tracking.


2010. Force.com 2 - already 5 PaaS platfroms



At the Dreamforce conference, Salesforce demonstrated one more time that now it's not so interested in CRM (it was mainly a subject for jokes) as in cloud platforms. Following the release of SaaS database Database.com, the company introduced another big Force.com feature - Heroku - the PaaS startup that Salesforce has recently acquired for $ 212 million. Heroku - is a cloud platform for developing and hosting Ruby-applications (Ruby - is a popular framework for developing Web apps, created by 37Signals). Heroku became one of the five PaaS-services included in the new version Force.com 2. And the new structure of the Force.com platform now looks like this: Force.com is backed by cloud DBMS Database.com. And developers, depending on their skills and goals, can select one of five options: - AppForce - platform for rapid app development. It allows to build apps with 80% clicks and 20% code - Siteforce - platform for creating and managing external websites. It also utilises mainly visual development tools - VMForce - platform for building Java-based applications. Supports easy migration of existing packaged enterprise apps to the cloud - Heroku - platform for building Ruby-applications - ISVforce - platform for SaaS providers, where they can host and manage internet services, sell them at AppExchange marketplace Recall also that Force.com provides tools for developing and hosting Flash/AIR apps and integration tools for Google Apps.


2010. VMForce.com - cloud Java platform by Salesforce and VMWare



Salesforce and Google are becoming less friends but more rivals. Following the start of the cold war between ChatterExchange and Google Apps Marketplace, the companies will soon compete on the cloud platforms market. Today, Salesforce and VMWare introduced the joint product - VMForce.com - the cloud platform for Java applications, which will compete with Google App Engine. Moreover, compared to VMForce.com, GAE would look like a toy. VMForce.com (theoretically) is the ideal solution for companies using (or developing) Java-applications. On the one hand it's the Force.com's infrastructure, which provides reliable, secure and scalable hosting, database, authentication, interface builder (Visualforce), business process designer, mobile access, integrated collaboration system (Chatter). On the other hand - it's the VMWare's ecosystem for Java applications: open-source Java Springs Framework and the runtime platform vCloud. Existing Java-applications can now be ported from the local server to Force.com without any adoption. And besides all these tools for deploying Java-apps in the cloud, the developers get access to a vast customer base of Salesforce. They can develop independent cloud applications or Java-addons for Salesforce CRM. Until now, developers couldn't create Java-applications on Force.com. Taking into account the huge Java popularity in the enterprise, VMForce.com will become the significant advantage for the cloud market leader. Recently Salesforce also launched the similar project to integrate the development environment Adobe Flash + AIR to Force.com. Pricing for VMforce has not been established yet, and the offering will be available for a developer preview later in the year.


2009. Zoho takes MS Access online

Zoho today has rolled out plug-in that allows to provide access from Zoho Creator to Microsoft Access. Zoho Creator is web-based platform that lets you build and run applications online. With the new plugin, Zoho will allow users to easily migrate data from Microsoft Access to Zoho Creator and Zoho Reports. When you migrate entire databases from Microsoft Access to Zoho creator, you are able to retain your database structure and data while being able to still create a collaborative database app in Zoho. Once imported into Zoho Creator, the entire application or parts of it can be shared with several users. MS Access is a fairly painless way for enterprise users, many of whom are still tied to Microsoft by IT and management, to build simple databases. But there's never been a particularly easy method for sharing those databases and doing something really useful with them.