Has Glide gotten too complex and less beginner friendly?

Hi fellow gliders.

Happy New year to all of you.

I am only opening this thread based on a discussion started in another thread.

https://community.glideapps.com/t/glide-pricing-research/36240?u=luther

While the thread was not appropriate for discussing the point, it however is an interesting discussion that I think would help all parties involved (Beginners, Intermediate users, Advanced users as well as Glide team members)

I have noted some very good points made by @Robert_Petitto and I must say I agree with his views on Glide still being the best of the lot in terms of the learning curve.
It would be nice to get other views on the subject as I believe there is more to learn from each other’s experiences and opinions so don’t be shy, let us know what you think…

Below is the concern that set off the discussion and he/she does make valid points on his part

https://community.glideapps.com/t/glide-pricing-research/36240/15?u=luther

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I have already made my points on that topic.

https://community.glideapps.com/t/glide-pricing-research/36240/21

I guess what Glide can improve is like Robert said, more interactive guide right in the builder (because honestly some people do not read the documentation articles or watch Jack’s videos), we have to redirect them there a lot in this forum.

Also, make some notes on where people usually make mistakes as a novice and either fix it or add a guide on that specific part. Example being the add row action on submission of forms, a lot of people have reported that as a bug in the past months.

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I think ideally what you want is the best of both. That is, Glide should be easy to pick up and learn for beginners, but you still want the advanced features that expert users can take advantage of.

I believe that there will be an increased focus on education this year, so maybe that will help new users get comfortable with the platform more quickly and easily.

I also very much agree with one of the points made by Bob in the other thread, which is that many of these newer features are actually making Glide easier to work with. Case in point - the Trebuchet Method. Although that was a brilliant workaround, it was a total mind bender. But does anyone even use it anymore now that we have multi-select? You could find lots of examples like that where what are now standard features were previously only achievable with elaborate work arounds.

Although I come from a coding background, and I don’t mind getting my hands dirty with a bit of code when I need to, I love the fact that Glide makes that unnecessary most of the time.

oh, and one more comment that I’ll make about the bit of “expert-bashing” that I saw in the other thread. Guys like @Robert_Petitto, @Jeff_Hager and @ThinhDinh are the giants that we all get to stand on the shoulders of. Not only do they selflessly give their time helping and encouraging new users, they are the ones out there pushing the boundaries and limits of what can be done. I suspect that more than a few of the features in Glide that we all take for granted are there in large part because of these folks.

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I fully agree with this statement in addition to @Darren_Murphy @Lucas_Pires @SantiagoPerez to also add a few more names to the list of people that pitch in to help in this community.

It’s also important to note that the phrase “no code” does not mean “no work” or “no research” etc. It’s still up to each individual to research ways to solve a problem.

I have seen some crazy work arounds in this community that instead of intimidate me, they inspire me to want to dig more and learn to use Glide. I was at some stage thinking of diving into Bubble until Glide introduced Glide 2.0 and then the experimental code column, then plugins and after that more computed columns and that for me made me realise that I don’t need to go and learn a new platform but rather dig deeper and work on my problem solving skills within glide. Of course that is just my personal opinion and experience.

Another point I would like to make is that people will tend to suffer from “Imposter syndrome” and this is not only with coders but also with visual programmers. It’s up to each individual to work on their own abilities and look to upskill themselves.

To say that Glide is not beginner friendly I believe is far from the mark because all of the basic columns and other basic functionality is still there and was not replaced by the more advanced features but rather Glide expanded and also accommodated the more advanced users of the platform to better equip those advanced users to be able to solve some of their clients issues which in most cases will be organizations dealing with complex issues. These organizations (clients) in the end are the same ones that help to pay for the free tier of the platform.

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Everything depends on your goals and your target audience.

If your goal is to be the tool for 2 billion people to make apps and sites with, your tool should be really easy to use. For example, Streamyard (‘the easy way to create professional live streams’) really focuses on keeping things simpler than simple, not adding functionalities that confuse the general user. And their goal is to make things easier all the time with onboarding etcetera. If this remains Glide’s goal, It would make sense to focus on extreme easiness first before adding extras.

But to me it feels like Glide is going in another direction. Which of course is up to Glide. Now Glide presents itself mainly as a B2B solution, where it was a broader platform in the beginning (then you could get an explanation of how to make your own Instagram). And when I heard David speaking in an interview recently, it wouldnt surprise me if the company at the moment is focussing on bigger companies as well. Which is their good right of course.

It is totally understandable from a business perspective. There can be more business and money to get. And when you go to bigger businesses they want more of your technology, so you need to add css, webhooks, and API’s etcetera. Those bigger companies have the room (people, money) to learn and build.

Summarizing, to me it does feel that the attention is moving to the bigger companies and their wishes and that means adding functionalities that make Glide better for the more technical people and more confusing for others. And at the same time there is less need to make it easier with a different target audience.

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An example to make Glide easier to use. Of course, there is a page for templates. But why don’t you get the opportunity to choose a template once you are in the editor? Now you choose Google Sheets or Glide editor and you are more or less lost.
Wouldnt it be nice to be able to choose:

  1. Start from your own spreadsheet
  2. Start with Glide Tables
  3. Begin with a template for a quick start
    Just an idea!
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Hi @erwblo,

I am just curious…

Is there a feature or functionality that was taken away from the App builder by the introduction of these advanced features?

What I see is that Glide by introducing these advanced features has increased the “gap” between the beginner and the “expert” in terms of building Apps but the path to being an expert is open to all.
There is no hindrance to anyone from learning to use the platform. It’s not like there is special access granted to experts in terms of material to upskill themselves (As far as I know).
These guys spend a lot of time research work arounds and finding solutions for their clients and most of the times, they share that knowledge at the risk of creating more experts from the community who would then “compete” for clients thus decreasing the proverbial piece of the pie.

In terms of taking you from point 0 (New User) to 1 (Intermediate) Glide is by far the best in comparison to other no code platforms.

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I think there is a lot to win for Glide in making complex things easier or make them understandable. I don’t think Glide has made steps in that direction in recent times. And when you add stuff, you add options, and more options make life never easier. But Photoshop has a lot of users, Final Cut Pro has a lot of users, none of them are easy for the beginner. It’s a choice.

Like I said, all depends on your goals and target audience. For the 2 billion users, Glide must be more iMovie than Final Cut Pro in my opinion. For larger businesses and more technical people Glide goes in the right direction I think. More low code than no code. Like Dutch low code firm Betty Blocks.

And even if Glide is the best (I agree), I hope it is allowed to say it if I think it can be better :wink: A forum is for discussion too!

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Okay I get your point.

Then I must say I don’t think they are less beginner friendly then but rather have left the intermediate users behind to some extent. You are by no means a beginner based on what I have seen from this community.

It is still very easy to start an App from scratch with Glide and they are now working on the GPT3 AI model where you can just write what type of App you want and the platform will create an App structure for you based on your description. I can’t think of a beginner friendly method than that.

Look, I am by no means an expert on Glide and I am sometimes in awe of what @ThinhDinh @Robert_Petitto @Jeff_Hager & @Darren_Murphy and others are able to achieve with this platform. That motivates me to want to learn even more though. I like the fact that there are people that are willing to “push the envelope” when it comes to using the platform because from that, Glide then makes some of those work arounds available natively so that even beginners can use them an example would be the text wrapping for the basic table. That was not available natively and some of these guys found a way using CSS and now it’s natively available. It’s a matter of being patient and we wait for some of these features to be made available natively but while we wait, we upskill :wink:

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I am an advanced beginner :wink:

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Btw I’m not criticizing any other Glide user. This is a brilliant forum where people help each other and of course, everyone looks at things from his or her own perspective!

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First, thank you @Luther and @Darren_Murphy for your kind words. You both have also contributed much to the community and selflessly give your time and energy to making Glide understandable and accessible.

I agree with the quoted passage above. Glide can seem overly complex to beginners when they run into a situation where they need to create 4-5 column combinations (usually conditional relations) in order to achieve the functionality they want. Likewise, it can seem complicated when beginners are forced to use CSS to achieve what they want visually. As I mentioned in the last post, Glide should take a step back this 2022 and focus on improving the components they already have—offering more ways to natively style the UI.

I believe this was the intention of @Jason’s thread here:

What I do know is that Glide is looking to improve their education efforts this year as well as aim to make the UI more flexible and consistent across apps/pages (eg. In Glide Pages there is no details vs list view … a duality that confuses a lot of beginners in Glide Apps).

All in all, I still think Glide is easy for beginners, but I can understand @erwblo when he suggests that the learning curve is a bit steeper now than where Glide was a few years ago.

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Yes.
Everyone wants powerful. But they want simple power, not complex power.

Glide can solve this by building more powerful COMPONENTS and improving existing COMPONENTS. Focusing less on DATA EDITOR functionality.

The more the Glider enters the data editor, the more likely they are to get confused.

Prime Example:
Glide is a database. Yet there’s no search COMPONENT. There’s no filter COMPONENT.

The entire point of displaying data is to search and filter it!

Hack Around
So now if a user wants customize a powerful search or filter function, they need to learn how to hack a workaround. Sending them down a forum search wormhole, requiring learning of single value columns, user specific columns, IfThenElse, rollups, multiple inline lists, template columns, etc.

It took me a month to learn this hack.

HOW GLIDE CAN FIX
Add a simple drag/drop SEARCH COMPONENT for search. Add a FILTER COMPONENT for filters. This component would simply link to an INLINE LIST COMPONENT on the same page. No data editor required.

For Search, common search functionality would be built straight into the COMPONENT (column to search, show # results text, search exact match vs match multiple words, and of course an in box CLEAR SEARCH “X”). Most of all it would be engineered properly, so it wouldn’t lag when you throw larger lists at it. Similar for a FILTER COMPONENT.

Conclusion
Focus on COMPONENTS and reduce the need to use the DATA EDITOR.

Virgin users will show you what’s complex, because they haven’t learned all the workarounds like experts. Education isn’t the answer here, UX is.

Analogy
Remember, an iPhone user doesn’t need to know how to solder a circuit board to use an iPhone.

It’s not Apple’s job to teach users how to solder circuit boards, it’s Apples job to simplify the iPhone so everyone (even us dummies) can understand it.

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Good points!
Also: glide should have different workflow: (eg think of choice component)

  1. add component to screen; 2, from there add required columns to full define component;

instead of

  1. define columns in order to 2. fully define component

Btw: There is in-app filter but not as powerful and flexible as workarounds

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Interesting concept! So when you go to select a column, perhaps there’s an “Add New” option similar to how we can now do this:

@jason @tristan

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My perspective - I have been using glide for a bit over a year, so am not a beginner. But certainly not advanced, either - I guess I would be an “intermediate” user.

I LOVE the logic puzzle that I get to solve when building a new app - it’s like a game to me. When I started, I found this forum the perfect place to learn and keep up with new features. The official documentation was lacking, but with the help of so many of you experts, I could either find or ask for an answer.

Fortunately Jack Vaughn has done an awesome job adding a ton of “how to” do specific actions. What I find missing in official support is just a bit more depth with examples and the “why” a feature might be used. Would like to see more short videos because scrubbing through a long video for something I knew that I saw 3 months ago can be very time intensive. (edit: adding time stamps would help)

And although this community used to be my “go-to” resource, with so many new users and updated features, it has become much harder and more time-consuming to find what I am looking for - I am wading through very basic questions or think I’ve found a related post only to have it be obsolete due to a new feature. I have seen more forum administration happening of late, and appreciate that.

This is not meant to be a complaint about Glide - I still love it and honestly would love for 1/2 of my income to be based on projects using glide, but I have become a bit overwhelmed with information overload lately, and am sharing with the hope this feedback helps.

I use Glide for several kinds of projects:

  • I have created apps for a sales team to replace the traditional catalog + business card that used to be handed out in person (pre-covid). It is a great use of Glide and keeps the potential customer connected to the sales person’s contact info. These apps are free to the sales team, because when they make sales, I earn income. (These are “free” apps but I would love to be able to figure out how to put them all into one “pro” app and pay for it - easier for updating)
  • I have created a team management app that has only 4 users who can view team info that is updated weekly (via airtable->coupler.io->glide). This is a “basic” paid app
  • I am creating directories for some very specific niche markets - these are free to the users and I charge the advertisers. These are in development but will be “pro” apps at launch

I love building apps but have no desire to start any kind of agency making them for others, I prefer to find a need and then create an app to make the money myself, or to create a template and sell that. I love creating but don’t want to be anyone else’s support desk - I prefer my time freedom.

Thanks for listening to my two cents - there are so many business models that can creatively use Glide to enhance or improve a process or system and I appreciate the generous support from this community. KB

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Just curious, how do you envision the search and filter to look like if you have multiple inline lists on the same details view? Do you have a visual example on how it would work?

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@ThinhDinh I think a multiple inlines are often used because a SEARCH or FILTER component doesn’t exist. But let me know an application, we can ponder it.

Here’s a sample Search Component configuration. Super easy. Filter is a bit more complex, but very doable. I just don’t have the brainpower right now.

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It’s a good visual example and I like the things I see on the right-hand side configuration. Thanks for taking the time to make that image.

However, what if you have multiple inline lists sourced from different tables, sort of a Home tab? Is there a reason you don’t like the current search option for inline lists?

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Here’s Filter. Hacked napkin sketch. You’ll get the idea @ThinhDinh.

Still not understanding the multiple inline list real world example. In both these ideas, the SEARCH or FILTER is an entirely separate COMPONENT. Just like a button component, or text component, etc. Drag and drop and away you go.

You could configure it to filter a single or multiple onpage inline lists. Can you screenshot a sample app maybe?

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