Apps are dead. Long live apps.

App downloads are at an all-time high, but a growing number of innovators believe technology’s next frontier is a world beyond themselves.

We are constantly switching from one application to another to perform daily tasks. However, this can be cumbersome, consume devices, and be time-consuming. It’s not uncommon for people to simultaneously use a combination of apps to perform a task. Think of all the times you had to switch to your email while using another app because you needed to verify something in your inbox.

Given that people spend an average of four to five hours a day on the phone, this ultimately wastes a lot of time and money. A recent study in the Harvard Business Review found that employees switch between apps and websites 1,200 times a day, the equivalent of five weeks a year. Now imagine that combined with your non-work device use.

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Not only is it time consuming, but it also lowers people’s energy and productivity due to what’s known in neuroscience as “context switching”.

In less than two decades, we’ve gone from wishing there was an “app for this” to having a multitude of options. At first glance, this may seem like an advantage. In reality, it points to an underlying problem in the app ecosystem – there are too many apps, but very few of them really do what we want them to do for us.

Leading voices in the tech community say the advent of low-end, no-code tools, combined with unparalleled access to data in the cloud, provides an opportune moment to reimagine how we build app-driven experiences.

As cloud platforms have become a core element in many applications, they already contain a lot of data that can serve as building blocks for this redirection to application development. But what might this new paradigm look like? What does it take to make this a reality? And will this be the end of practices as we know them?

From app dominance to app absence

Join any current conversation about the future of app development and you will hear two very different schools of thought.

Proponents of the “super app” believe that a holistic app should perform the activities of multiple apps. However, this will most likely be built and operated by a Big Tech company. For example, WeChat allows users not only to chat but also to shop, pay bills and access government services. Meta’s move to allow users to log in to multiple platforms using their Facebook accounts or shop directly on Instagram can be seen as a foreshadowing of this.

Web3 enthusiasts, on the other hand, believe the future will be a decentralized application ecosystem where user preferences versus board decisions will drive the market forward. This world would place more emphasis on data privacy and try to break Big Tech’s influence on the market right now.

The emergence of low-code and no-code tools is key to democratizing development.

While both approaches differ in their reasoning, they basically point to dissatisfaction with the current practice landscape. But do we have to choose between a loss of privacy and a host of new apps?

The challenge is that prebuilt experiences are less likely to meet unpredictable needs and innovation that doesn’t fit with broader company goals.

For example, the primary purpose of a salon reservation app is to enable customers to book and reserve appointments; this is directly related to business goals of increasing revenue for application developer and commercial customers.

But what if salon customers want an app that can show them how they would look with different hairstyles or allow them to send them pictures of their desired “to do” before booking? What if a user wants to double-check their calendar to see if a certain time coincides with another appointment, or to see what the weather will be like on available dates?

Without a perspective that describes the end-to-end experience of getting your hair done, beyond the capabilities of the current app, these unexamined needs can be difficult to surface, resulting in missed opportunities to truly engage with users beyond the obvious.

Some believe we are entering an era beyond apps, where people can directly connect to the services they need in the cloud, rather than relying on companies to build an app that can somehow or partially solve their needs. tool.

Convergence of codeless and cloud

The emergence of low-code and no-code tools is key to democratizing development to wider audiences. The availability of low-code and no-code tools gives people the opportunity to express their needs through the technology they develop, even if they don’t have the technical vocabulary to bring those ideas to life. Similarly, engineering teams can take advantage of these tools by quickly creating applications and services without going into too much technical detail.

However, creating a tool is not enough. We need data to create a truly personalized experience.

With more than 140 billion app downloads, our use of technology has created a wealth of data across multiple apps. Together, each app represents a more complete and unique profile of our identity and preferences.

Technology inventors such as a16z General Partner Peter Levine envision seamlessly merging data so users can query requests from a single source of truth, rather than cramming data into a single application via several APIs. The result will be a service that allows users to connect directly to the cloud to access uniquely personalized information based on their wishes.

The convergence of these trends brings new technologies to the fore. In line with these industry-leading developments is the invention of Apollo Graph, Inc., the leading GraphQL company that has enabled the tech industry to take an application-free approach by developing a new ‘supergraph’ architecture.

Making supergraph simple for everyone

The top chart creates a network of a company’s data capabilities and microservices. It allows teams to independently develop their backend by combining data from multiple sources without the hassle and strain of creating a custom chart otherwise.

Peggy Rayzis, Senior Director of Developer Experience at Apollo, told TNW that supergraphics will lower the barrier to app development. “By making it more accessible and shortening that time, you will see even more innovations and you can use it for any type of application because the supergraphic is so flexible.”

While noting that the top chart has numerous uses, Rayzis points to companies such as e-commerce and travel companies that are using this new technology to transform their platforms.

Making solid application development more flexible opens the door to new models and experiences.

For example, let’s say you’ve booked a trip and want to stay in a place where your favorite meals are served. Rather than putting this information together on its own, a platform using the superchart can look up data from your flight search history and previous hotel stays, as well as your food delivery and takeaway app, to determine which destinations and hotels best suit your preferences. The resulting responses stem from each person’s individual needs and result in the delivery of bespoke information. This flexible and fluid design centers its output on the person using it, meeting the unique needs of each individual.

Tools like Apollo’s top graph allow application developers to see the big picture of which combinations of data will be most useful to customers. As a result, they can intuitively help users answer queries effectively and efficiently, creating an architecture that centers on the user’s needs.

Instead of typing hundreds of lines of code,” Rayzis says, “you can open Explorer, our GraphQL IDE, and click a plus sign to generate this query without using any code. This is a really great example of how top graph is making app development easier and more accessible through low-code tools.”

Instead of a platform that clumsily connects to multiple APIs, engineering teams can seamlessly bring data from a variety of sources and create a centralized source of truth that allows them to create a flexible and modular structure suited to the individual.

Why is it time to redesign apps?

Just as it took time for apps to become mainstream, this renewed approach to development could change the way people interact with technology. Now that we’ve made the cloud a rich source of data for countless applications, we can summarize all this data in a way that improves the experience for each user, rather than a vague cross-section.

Building architecture shaped by user experience defies established norms to which we are accustomed, but signals a path forward that is beneficial for engineering teams and users alike. Making solid application development more flexible opens the door to new models and experiences, which is a huge win for both parties.

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