Can you please provide a brief description of your company and what your company does?
Gray Street Solutions (GSS) is a Washington, D.C.-based full-service creative digital agency. GSS's principals bring 20+ years of combined experience in areas such as digital project management, brand and product development, and creative strategy solutions.
What role do you play there?
As a software development associate, I manage front and back-end development of our web and mobile projects. Aside from constructing layouts, I conceptualize the framework and system architecture of our more complex projects, as well as front-end logic development for GSS’s flagship product offering, EDGE Mobile Analytics (link is external).
What type of app or apps does your company use AppMachine to build?
Was your company considering other app builders?
Yes. In 2013, during considerations of AppMachine as a mobile development resource, we conducted a competitive analysis with other simplified app development products, including Bizness Apps, Appsme, and Appmakr, among others.
Why AppMachine over the other app builders?
AppMachine’s ease of use, compatibility, diverse platform offerings (iOS, Android), and marketability set their product apart from others competing in the space.
PLAN AND PRICING
AppMachine is a subscription based service. Their “Pro” plan is required by most applications which is $69 / month.
GSS professional services for project management, design, and advanced development start at $5,000, inclusive of AppMachine fees. The AppMachine subscription includes unlimited push messages and necessary iOS / Android security patches.
Within your company how many users actively use this solution?
Our team uses AppMachine for quick turnaround projects for clients who do not have in-house technical capacity.
What pricing plan does your team use?
We have a reseller plan.
Have you had to interact with their support team or reference their support resources? Are they responsive or helpful?
Although Appmachine’s “App Builder” interface is fairly intuitive, more complex projects requiring custom solutions have proven challenging. It’s our goal to “bridge the gap” between AppMachine technology and application owners and users. Given that AppMachine is based in the Netherlands, replies from the support desk typically come after business hours.
Can you share any success stories, metrics, or overall results of your company’s use of AppMachine?
AppMachine has allowed us to quickly iterate on simple projects, enabling us to deliver solutions on extremely rapid timelines, providing us with a significant competitive advantage. Pushing directly to all major app marketplaces (iTunes & Google Play stores) has served as a major benefit to our “Fearlessly Agile” approach to development. However, the platform has its fair share of bugs, and we’ve spent a not-inconsequential amount of time generating detailed reports on these bugs for the AppMachine team.
Most application content and programming updates are accomplished via an over-the-air update, as opposed to an iTunes / Google Play store download.
There is a good white-label client-facing content management system that allows for easy content updates and push messages to be sent without impacting underlying structure.
Are there any specific features or tools that really stand out about AppMachine?
Creating a new app summons an ‘import content’ dialogue, allowing users to enter a URL for the purposes of importing existing content. Additionally, having the ability to both streamline content development processes, as well as providing the ability to incorporate advanced functionality options, makes AppMachine a very dynamic mobile application development solution.
Are there any features that AppMachine is missing or that could be improved upon?
The Web Services functionality, which allows users to interface with external APIs, restructures API responses and makes development significantly more difficult. Beyond occasional bugs, the Web Service function tends to “flatten” or restructure JSON responses, and appends internal id fields to each record at every level of the JSON response.
We have yet to see a fully functional Windows application that is consistent with the Android / iOS builds. You cannot access the underlying source code. Accessing more advanced device specific features (i.e., fingerprint scanners) is not possible.
What recommendations or suggestions do you have for other users considering AppMachine?
Spend time thoughtfully scoping out the requirements of your application. Whereas your team can thrive using AppMachine for simple projects and application solutions, the simplicity of AppMachine’s framework can be limiting for more dynamic app builds.
AppMachine is great for clients who do not have the resources (or need) to maintain in-house technical expertise. Having unlimited Push Notifications and Android / iOS software updates included with the AppMachine service fee makes budgeting easier.
Applications developed with AppMachine can be replaced with a truly native build later on, but if the AppMachine service is not maintained, the app will disappear from stores.
We ask that you to rate the solution on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best.
What would you give the AppMachine for functionality?
What would you give the AppMachine for ease of use?
For support, as in responsiveness of their team or helpfulness of the resources available?
How likely are you to recommend AppMachine to a similar business?
Overall, satisfaction with AppMachine out of 5?