Building custom apps quickly with low-code

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In the era of digital transformation, businesses need to quickly be able to create custom applications to solve the problems they’re facing. Creating programs the traditional way often takes hundreds of hours of programming as well as developers to do the necessary coding. However, the rise of low-code has allowed organizations to create custom apps to meet their needs without sacrificing time or money.

With the launch of FileMaker 19, Claris has released its first open platform that enables developers to build sophisticated custom apps by leveraging direct JavaScript integrations, drag-and-drop add-ons, AI using Apple’s Core ML and more.

To learn more about the company’s latest release and how low-code can help developers and businesses be more productive, TechRadar Pro spoke with the CEO of Claris, Brad Freitag.

Can you give us a bit of background about Claris and how the company was spun-off from Apple?

We bring a legacy of creativity to solving problems with software. Claris began as an Apple subsidiary in 1986 with the aim to differentiate Apple’s software services from its hardware and operating systems. In 1998, the company was renamed FileMaker, Inc., after its flagship product. Last year, in tandem with a move toward multi-product offerings through its acquisition of Italian startup Stamplay (renamed Claris Connect) FileMaker was rebranded as Claris. 

What are the benefits of low-code development and why is low-code becoming increasingly popular with businesses?

Low-code enables anyone to create powerful business software to transform the way they work. Today, there’s a massive gap in the requirement for digital transformation and the supply of CS graduates globally. Low-code brings digital transformation within reach for businesses who may not have an IT department. 

A low-code integration tool like Claris Connect can help businesses automate their workflows and integrate their existing apps. If they don’t have an app, they can build it using a low-code tool like Claris FileMaker. 

The best low-code platforms offer not only accessible and extensible technology, but an ecosystem that includes free training, an active developer community, and certified partners should you choose to outsource. 

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Why have you decided to add JavaScript integration into FileMaker 19 and how will this benefit developers?

Now more than ever companies need to innovate quickly. By opening the Claris platform to the most popular programming language on the planet, we’re enabling developers to potentially save hundreds of hours of programming. We’re excited to see what our 50,000 customers will do with a growing set of add-ons and the ability to integrate any of the millions of existing JavaScript packages into their custom apps. Claris developers can also create the next great add-on or feature using their own code. 

How does the latest version of FileMaker take advantage of Apple’s core ML?

We want to give customers the power of AI as quickly as possible. With FileMaker 19, anyone can leverage Apple’s Core ML to incorporate machine learning into their custom apps. Now, rapid sentiment analysis, image classification, object detection, face detection, text prediction, and more are available. 

Claris Marketplace

(Image credit: Claris)

Do a lot of your users end up selling the app, extensions and templates they build on the Claris Marketplace?

The Claris Marketplace features hundreds of apps, extensions, and templates created by certified Claris Partners and Claris itself. We also expect our library of add-ons to grow quickly. While the Marketplace highlights top offerings from Claris experts, the offerings themselves are available free or for purchase at linked Partner sites. 

How can businesses use Claris Connect to automate their workflows?

Today the world is made up of enterprise systems and productivity software. Business happens between these spaces. Claris Connect, for the first time, allows businesses to weave their tools together in customized ways that work best for them.

The product provides customers with an intuitive interface for connecting apps and automating workflows, saving them from the task of building custom-built, backend integrations. Key benefits include removing the need for custom coding while also automatically handling authentication, authorization, monitoring, versioning and error handling. Developers can also create workflows simply by stitching together third party services. 

Here’s an example of workflow automation through four applications: 

A signed contract is received through DocuSign, then a win is automatically updated in Salesforce, while the contract is instantly uploaded to Box, and a notification about closing the deal is sent to your team in Slack.

Filemaker 19

(Image credit: Claris)

What’s next for Claris and do you have any interesting projects currently in development?

The world used to be divided between people who understood problems and people who could solve them. Claris is closing that divide.

To that end, we recently launched Claris Connect, which helps businesses move from idea to workflow in minutes, and now FileMaker 19, our first open platform release that lets people use a combination of existing resources via JavaScript, as well as their own ingenuity, too. We truly believe in the power of low-code to advance digital transformation, and today our investments in R&D are at an all-time high.