Amazon Honeycode Coding Platform for Non-Coders is the Future of Work

Amazon’s new cloud service Honeycode is a table-driven programming environment complete with Wizards and help boxes, designed to ease you into programming. If you are comfortable with complex Excel spreadsheets and formulas then the logical leap to Honeycode is straightforward. We created an account and started making picklists which linked 2 tables. Our goal wasn’t to develop a finished app but we wanted to see if it was an intuitive interface.

It is pretty straightforward. Democratized coding or citizen programming is a definition of the Future of Work.

Learning this and other similar solutions from Google, Microsoft or others is a great way to ensure you are a valuable employee in an ever-changing world.

You can build a highly interactive web and mobile applications backed by a powerful AWS-built database to perform tasks like tracking data over time and notifying users of changes, routing approvals, and facilitating interactive business processes. Using Amazon Honeycode, customers can create applications that range in complexity from a task-tracking application for a small team to a project management system that manages a complex workflow for multiple teams or departments. Customers can get started creating applications in minutes, build applications with up to 20 users for free, and only pay for the users and storage for larger applications. 

Amazon explains the rationale for developing Honeycode:

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. 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 wai for developers to free up or have to hire expensive consultants to build applications. What usually happens instead is that these applications just never get built. The chasm between using spreadsheets and building custom applications creates a situation where customers often experience unnecessary inefficiency, waste, and inaction.

They believe customers want the ability to create applications using the simplicity and familiarity of a spreadsheet, but with the data management capability of a database, the collaboration and notifications common in business applications, and a truly seamless web and mobile user experience.

The differentiator here is Honeycode relies on the familiar interface of a spreadsheet, but under the hood, offers the power of an AWS-developed database, so customers can easily sort, filter, and link data together to create data-driven, interactive applications. Users can easily create dynamic views and dashboards that are updated in real-time as the underlying data changes – something that is hard to do even with powerful relational databases. Applications built using Amazon Honeycode leverage the full power and scale of AWS, and can easily scale up to 100,000 rows in each workbook, without users having to worry about building, managing, and maintaining the underlying hardware and software. Amazon Honeycode does all of this under the covers by automating the process of building and linking the three tiers of functionality found in most business applications (database, business logic, and user interface), and then deploying fully interactive web and mobile applications to end-users so customers can focus on creating great applications without having to worry about writing code or scaling infrastructure.

Customers can get started by selecting a pre-built template, where the data model, business logic, and applications are pre-defined and ready-to-use (e.g. PO approvals, time-off reporting, inventory management, etc.). Or, they can import data into a blank workbook, use the familiar spreadsheet interface to define the data model, and design the application screens with objects like lists, buttons, and input fields. Builders can also add automations to their applications to drive notifications, reminders, approvals, and other actions based on conditions. Once the application is built, customers simply click a button to share it with team members. With Amazon Honeycode, customers can quickly and easily build multi-user, scalable, and collaborative web and mobile applications that allow them to act on the data that would otherwise be locked away in static spreadsheets.

Profile photo of Larry Augustin
Larry Augustin, Vice President, Amazon Web Services, Inc.

“Customers have told us that the need for custom applications far outstrips the capacity of developers to create them,” said Larry Augustin, Vice President, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Now with Amazon Honeycode, almost anyone can create powerful custom mobile and web applications without the need to write code.”

Amazon Honeycode is available today in US West (Oregon) with more regions coming soon.

Profile photo of Brad Armstrong
Brad Armstrong, VP of Business and Corporate Development, Slack.
Profile photo of Don MacAskill
Don MacAskill, CEO & Chief Geek, SmugMug & Flickr

“We’re excited about the opportunity that Amazon Honeycode creates for teams to build apps to drive and adapt to today’s ever-changing business landscape,” said Brad Armstrong, VP of Business and Corporate Development, Slack. “We see Amazon Honeycode as a great complement and extension to Slack and are excited about the opportunity to work together to create ways for our joint customers to work more efficiently and to do more with their data than ever before.”

SmugMug is a paid image sharing, image hosting service, and online video platform on which users can upload photos and videos. “We are excited to see the opportunity that Amazon Honeycode creates for our teams to build applications that help them respond to changing business conditions,” said Don MacAskill, CEO & Chief Geek, SmugMug & Flickr. “Based upon how easy it is to create new applications, it should really help our teams, and we can see it really taking off.”

The service is free for up to 20 users and as many 2500 rows of data in a spreadsheet that’s part of the product. AWS will charge based on storage and number of users. 

Having a “citizen coding” platform for your cloud service is a must or you potentially miss out on the revenue associated with growing applications. This move is similar to having a graphical web development interface as a web registrar. The coding environment makes your primary moneymaker far stickier.

We applaud Amazon on their efforts and think Honeycode is a great Future of Work solution.

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