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Why Do We Need Amazon Honeycode?


After making a lot of teases, AWS finally announced the beta launch of Amazon Honeycode, a new, fully managed low-code/no-code development tool with the idea of making the application development for everybody not restricted to a specific part of the company. An AWS database backs all of this and its a web-based service with a drag-and-drop interface builder. 

Developers can create free applications for up to 20 users. Afterward, they pay per user, and for the storage, their application takes up.  

During the announcement AWS VP, Larry Augustin said, “Customers have told us that the need for custom applications far outstrips the capacity of developers to create them.” He added, “Now with Amazon Honeycode, almost anyone can create powerful custom mobile and web applications without the need to write code.”

Like similar tools, Honeycode offers users with a set of templates for use cases such as to-do list applications, customer trackers, surveys, schedules, and inventory management. Moreover, AWS argues, many businesses have relied on shared spreadsheets to do these things.

In the announcement, the company notes, “Customers try to solve for the static nature of spreadsheets by emailing them back and forth, but all of the emailing just compounds the inefficiency because email is slow, doesn’t scale, and introduces versioning and data syncing errors.” They added, “As a result, people often prefer having custom applications built, but the demand for custom programming often outstrips developer capacity, creating a situation where teams either need to wait for developers to free up or have to hire expensive consultants to build applications.”

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It’s not astonishing then that Honeycode uses a spreadsheet view as its core data interface; which makes sense considering how familiar this paradigm is with virtually every potential consumer. Users may work with standard spreadsheet-style formulae to manipulate data, 

which tends to be about the closest service to actual programming. ‘Builders, this is what AWS calls their Honeycode users, can set up notifications, reminders, and approval workflows within the service. 

AWS said these databases can scale up quickly to 100,000 rows per workbook. AWS claims that it will allow the users to focus on building applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. 

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Why Amazon built a no-code application tool?

The primary motivation behind Honeycode isn’t much different from what Microsoft is doing with its PowerApps low-code tool. After all, that, too, opens the gates Azure platform to users who are not necessarily full-time developers. However, the AWS approach is slightly different because of their emphasis on the no-code part of Honeycode. 

The goal of honey code is to enable all the people in the business line, the business analysts, project managers, and program managers in the middle, they can easily create a custom application that can solve some part of their problem without the need to write any code. And that was a valuable piece that it does not need code. They replace it with by giving a spreadsheet-like UI.

Several low-code/no-code tools also enable developers to “escape the code,” as Augstin called it, but that is not the intention. Still, there is no real mechanism for exporting the code from Honeycode and take it elsewhere. 

However, some APIs will allow experienced developers to pull in data from elsewhere. Augustin and Vaidyanathan expect companies to do this on the platform for their users, or AWS partners may build these integrations. 

Even with such limitations, the team suggests that you still can develop pretty complex applications. 

Future Possibilities

Right now, it doesn’t look like users can bring in any external data sources, although this may still be on the company’s roadmap. On the other hand, such types of integrations would also make the process of building an app more complicated, and it looks like AWS is trying to keep things simple for now.

Honeycode currently only runs in Oregon’s AWS US West but is heading to other regions soon.

SmugMug and Slack are also the first users of Honeycode.

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