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Appathon shows students and soldiers ease of no-code app development

March 29, 2023
Nicolette Stepakoff

Workspace Customer Engineering, Google Public Sector

Katie Tobin

Head of Google Workspace Innovation, Google Public Sector

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This post originally appeared on the Google Cloud blog.

It’s no secret that hackathons can be a great way to quickly generate creative solutions to complex problems. With a well-crafted brief and a set of operating constraints, hackathon participants can innovate quickly and collaborate openly—often generating the beginnings of notable software advancements. This spirit of rapid innovation came to life recently when the Department of Defense and Austin Community College (ACC) engaged in a Google Workspace “Appathon,” an event where soldiers from the Army Software Factory and students participated to build mission-focused applications using Google AppSheet.

At this joint event, hosted by Google Public Sector and ACC, students and soldiers collaborated and posed new ideas to build applications that focused less on insular development and more on engaging citizens.

Using Google Appsheet at the Appathon

During the Appathon, participants teamed up to build their applications in just two hours before presenting them to the judging panel. This year’s Appathon judges included Fred Lover, Associate Professor of Cybersecurity at Austin Community College; Josiah Spence, Professor of Visual Design at Austin Community College; and Matt Flautt, Chief Technology Officer for the Army Software Factory. The applications were judged based on the following criteria: 

Creativeness. The app is unique in its approach to the problem domain and was ambitious or creative given the timeframe.

Completeness. The user interface is professional, engaging, user-friendly, and intuitive. 

Design. The app works as expected end-to-end, and it displays an advanced design.

Utility.  How many users it affects, what scale it could operate in, and what is the benefit to the business/individual?

“Totally Not Stolen” selected as the Appathon winner

After reviewing all submissions, the judges selected a winning student-soldier team who built an application that helps students and soldiers save money via a book exchange. The pair created “Totally Not Stolen,” an application aimed at solving the common problem of rising textbook prices for students on tight budgets. This application allows users to register their books and put them on a free marketplace where anyone can easily request to exchange or borrow books. The Google Public Sector team was inspired by all the participating Appathon teams and looks forward to seeing what they create in the future.

Building applications quickly and easily with Google AppSheet

For many of the participants, this was their first time building an application. Using AppSheet, teams built fully functioning applications in just two hours, showcasing the potential of Google AppSheet in driving rapid innovation across government agencies and educational institutions. 

Google AppSheet is an intelligent, no-code platform that leverages your data and Google AI to build powerful applications and automations. App creators can build and test quickly, collaborating on iterations to discover the solutions that provide the most impact. This shift in the developmental mindset brings development teams both the flexibility they need for growth and more time for mission-critical work.

AppSheet, available as part of Google Workspace Suite at the Enterprise Plus license level or sold separately, is just one of dozens of Google Workspace tools agencies can take advantage of to streamline workflows and spark innovation.

Interested in hosting an Appathon of your own? To learn more about hosting an Appathon program, or to schedule an appathon, visit the Google Workspace for Government page and contact us today.

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