Amazon Web Services, or AWS, has also entered the No-Code cross platform application development environment with their latest beta release, Amazon Honeycode. This tool makes app development much less complicated and accessible to every enthusiastic creator without the coding expertise to go with it. This is built around a spreadsheet like interface, backed by AWS in a web-based, drag-and-drop builder which enables customers to build functional and custom apps without writing any code quickly. This release puts AWS into competition with Microsoft Power Apps and Google Cloud’s AppSheet for the no-code application market.
AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr in his blog goes on to explain the functionality of the Amazon Honeycode, and how this might turn out to be a step in the right direction for the development industry and for non-professional developers.
Amazon Honeycode currently is available in beta in AWS’ U.S. West (Oregon) region only, although AWS said it would be expanded soon. Customers can build applications with up to 20 users for free and pay only for the users and storage for larger applications, according to AWS.
The service includes templates for common applications including simple to-do lists, surveys, inventory management, tracking, reporting, event management, team updates, schedules, and purchase order approvals. Users also have options ton import data into a blank workbook and use the spreadsheet interface to define the data model and design application screens with objects. According to AWS, applications can scale up to 100,000 rows in each workbook. Amazon Honeycode automates the building and linking of the three tiers of functionality found in most business applications – database, business logic and user interface.
Honeycode uses two APIs – GetScreenData and InvokeScreenAutomation – that allows users to interact with it programmatically. These can be used to read, write, update or delete data stored in Honeycode workbooks. External applications also can use the APIs to interact with Honeycode-built applications. The applications created can also be very easily shared and used, with the help of the Honeycode Player.
AWS with Honeycode is targeting the citizen developers and business users who find coding to be out of their reach but have a requirement for an app that would make their work more organized and streamlined.
The advantages of such a platform are plenty, some of them are as follows –
- Bypassing the Developers
Extending the power and potential of app development to non-coders, AWS has essentially moved in the direction of removing the involvement of middle men, the developers, at least for simple applications. This move not only would encourage more and more people to get into the activity, but also enable people and organisations to become more self-sufficient towards their needs apart from the very obvious cost savings.
- Making Development Easier
Not just for the layman, software like Honeycode also makes development easier for experienced developers who had to meticulously write several lines of code to develop even the simplest of applications. This would lead to the better applications because the developers would now be able to put more focus on the functionality, and the outcome, without having to worry about where they made a silly syntax error.
- Dynamic Applications
With Honeycode and the move towards no-code development environments, the apps thus created would become more dynamic. This means that when earlier changing a component meant rewriting code, it is now just a few clicks away. You can customize these apps at any time, and the changes will be deployed immediately, and that speaks volumes of how fast computer science and technology is progressing today.
What can it achieve?
According to AWS’ director of product management for Amazon Honeycode, Meera Vaidyanathan, they decided on the Amazon Honeycode name to entice business users for whom coding is out of reach or a little daunting. She said, “Honey represents something sweet, enjoyable and familiar. By bringing honey and code together, we wanted the service name to convey that building apps is now accessible to business users, and that it can even be fun.”
With the aim of making traditional data sharing using spreadsheets hassle free and making app development possible for non-professionals, Honeycode promise big. It surely is a move in the right direction, and how successful will it actually be is something only time can tell. Observationally speaking, we are moving towards a time when we would have an app that creates apps.