Lexington by Foot and Phone

Over the last 2 weeks, I have used Glide to reimplement a set of walking tours hosted on a smartphone that I had previously implemented using Weebly. I have switched over to Glide because although I am a good programmer, I wanted to both increase the rate at which I could create these walking tours as well as make it possible for less technically adept people to create similar tours.

The Glide version of this set of walking tours is:

comparison, the Weebly version is:

I am pleased with the results I am getting with Glide, of course with the exception of:

  • some errors in my use of Glide
  • some missing features of Glide
    • I would really like to be able to put titles on the map
    • Likewise, I’d love to see markers labeled
  • some unexplained behaviors of Glide
  • I wish there was a way when you click on the icon for a tab to cause the display to:
    • go to the top of the display

The most difficult concept I encountered was the relation mechanism. (I’ve never mastered relational databases) I think I understand the one use I needed (go to the next stop in a sequence of stops). But I gather there is much more to this mechanism.

The capabilities I found most useful are:

  • Using Google Sheets for holding data.

  • Supporting the idea that in many cases the display of an item can be viewed as a template filled in with details of the item.

  • Recognizing that a lot of information is represented as lists of individual items which have many representations:

    • as a list
    • as an individual item
    • shown as locations on a map
  • Various ways in which text fields can be overlayed on images for purposes of labeling.

One concern I have for Glide is that the product has drifted away from one of the subtitles:

  • Glide: Create apps visually, without code.

While Glide is better than many systems, it is still not for people who do not code. Although I totally understand why this is true, I still encourage Glide designers to think about the higher-level concepts they are trying to support – because that is where we need to go to help more people create apps.

I would love for somebody to write the high-level model of information presentation being supported by Glide. Right now the video tutorials have a strong flavor of being aimed at programmers rather than ordinary people. I realize there are professional programmers using Glide to build apps for money paying customers. These are important early supporters of Glide. But I think that by focusing on meeting the needs of professional programmers (like me), Glide could become just an acceleration tool for programmers and not a tool that supports the needs of non-programmers.

I’m a little concerned about the talk of Glide branching out to more platforms than just smartphones. Perhaps if you have a large team with lots of funding from a big organization. But I’m assuming that is not the case. The hardest thing for a startup is to focus on one thing and do that well.

The one thing that I think Glide has a unique position is building information presentation apps on smartphones. These apps are far better than web apps that have been created for desktops and viewed on smartphones by using responsive web design principles and mechanisms.

Well, that’s enough of my pontificating for today.

Regardless of the criticisms I have expressed, please know that based on my experience in the last two weeks with Glide, I think it is the best tool I have seen for creating information presentation apps for smartphones.


Wow. I like the app even though it has some way to go.

I don’t think that even the brainiacs at Glide can turn everyone into an app designer, even with no code.

It’s like photography. Anyone can have access to a simple or complex camera and still take the most horrible shots.

I understand code but don’t consider myself a coder. I have some idea of how spreadsheets work but I’m not interested in formulas and the obscure terms that many Glide users know.

Glide is really not that complex and their training is great, even if I have to watch it a dozen times. The key to learning is just having a use case that one finds mentally stimulating.

You clearly have a skill that you should perhaps monetize rather than seek to have others learn. Set up a template and then just have the others fill in Google Sheets of content that you set up to run for them. Sadly, you might find that even this is beyond the skills of some people.

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you could try this app. It is aimed at ordinary folks like you and me.

Great job on your app.

Dont know why but the webpage where you can download the app keeps crashing

iPhone 11pro


I made a change to the layout this morning and managed to break my app completely.

When I went to Undo my change, nothing happened. Then I searched for undo and discovered that here isn’t anything that allows for experimentation with the knowledge that you can always reverse your changes.

This is bad. It was hard enough to build this scratch. Now I have to try to figure out how to this again. I’m unhappy.

I guess I’m going to have to take my own checkpoints and manage multiple versions from now on. After Google has shown how to do this, why isn’t this a standard thing in any authoring system?

— Harry

Hold the presses. I see from another post that as of Feb 2020 there is undo and redo in parts of the glide editor. But I suspect my problem is in the data editor which doesn’t (yet?) support undo/redo.

I’ll give it a try…

— Harry

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