Amazon’s New Service Can Create Apps Without Code
Can no-code apps like Honeycode take away your job as a software engineer?
6 min read
Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash
What is Honeycode
Amazon Web Services (AWS), recently announced Amazon Honeycode. A no-code development tool, any business can use to build their custom business management web or mobile app for day-to-day operations.
“We really wanted to push that power of AWS out to all those people in the line of business, who want to create these custom apps to get things done, but don’t have the skill set to do it today. 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.” said Larry Augustin, an Amazon Web Services vice president.
Businesses currently use spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets to manage their day-to-day operations, which can be very tedious and hard to maintain, that’s what Amazon says. But I feel you can easily use the cloud to maintain Google sheets and Excel to collaborate with your team.
Anyway, Honeycode allows businesses to create custom apps specifically for each department in the business. Businesses can use the platform free of cost for up to 20 users and after that, they need to pay for each user and the amount of space the application takes on their servers. Honeycode aims at simplifying management tasks without the need for an IT team for a business to create and manage apps.
What Honeycode can do
Honeycode provides users with a set of commonly used templates such as to-do-list applications, surveys, inventory management, etc.
It allows its users to have a personalized view for both mobile and web applications.
Managers can decide who gets to see what information.
You can import data from a CSV file or create your custom tables.
All the users can get personalized, relevant notifications on their phones or E-Mail, updating them about the task assigned to them or any key data changes.
Any aspect of the workflow can be automated by setting relevant triggers and conditions.
Tables in Honeycode databases can easily scale up to 100,000 rows per workbook.
Users can use Amazon’s cloud to store and manage all their data securely and retrieve it on any device running the internet.
Honeycode provides its users with two API’s — GetScreenData and InvokeScreenAutomation — that allows its users to programmatically interact with Honeycode apps, read data from Honeycode workbooks, and set triggers based on conditions.
Though these features are great and make it easier for businesses to manage their tasks, Google sheets and Excel can still be utilized to perform similar operations. Another alternative would be to use Microsoft’s Power Platform, which allows businesses to manage their data and analyze it, while at the same time keeping the no-code philosophy in mind. It even includes Microsoft flow to create automated workflows between Microsoft services or other third-party applications. Powerful tools like these are not yet available on Honeycode. Business Application Platform | Microsoft Power Platform The Microsoft Power Platform is more than the sum of its parts. Connect them together-and to Office 365, Dynamics 365…powerplatform.microsoft.com
What Honeycode can’t do
Honeycode can’t do everything, it is designed just to help managers manage their businesses and it can only create apps similar to that purpose. Sorry you can’t make games with it, yet.
Honeycode does not support app integrations, at least for now. Amazon wants to keep its new service simple, and it’s currently in beta, so we can expect more features and integrations coming soon.
It does not allow you to export code out of honey code and Amazon says it is because they want to make it completely no code; it seems more like they want to keep you on the platform.
Honeycode API currently has only two functions, to retrieve data from the workbook and to automate certain tasks. As of this writing, it does not allow you to edit or append data using an API, but we can expect these functionalities to come soon.
Users are currently limited to a *single team assigned at sign-up*, which means that users cannot create additional teams beyond the initial default Team assigned to you at sign up.
Users can load data from a CSV file and read data using Honeycode API, but there is no option to link data to other sources.
Honeycode does not have dozens of features that its competitors like Microsoft’s power platform have, such as directory and data linking features, connectivity to third-party apps and cloud services, etc.
As of this writing, Honeycode is just released in Beta version so we can expect many more features to come soon.
What does it mean for developers, should they be worried?
This is a tricky question, and different people will have varying opinions about it. This is what I feel-
Amazon is known for capturing the market and destroying its competitors. When it first opened its online store to sell books, anyone could have hardly imagined that it would dominate or rather create something now known as E-commerce. It forced many publishers to publish through its online store, and those who refused, no longer exist. Amazon quickly grew its online presence and started selling all kinds of goods. We all know that. So, if Amazon is serious about no-code apps, then it may try to create services that can create games, consumer apps, etc.
But don’t worry, a lot of no-code development platforms already exist such as Buildbox, Salesforce platform and Appy Pie. They have taken no software engineering jobs. These platforms are and will be limited for a long time. The requirement for software engineers has been growing every year.
Employment of software developers is projected to grow 21 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Software developers will be needed to respond to an increased demand for computer software.- US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Developers should care about acquiring/learning new/relevant skills that are required in the market. If you just know how to create basic games and websites, Buildbox and Wix are there to take your job. But if you can create scalable complicated apps, work in a team with other developers you don’t have to worry about no-code apps.
Software engineering has seen explosive growth over the last 20 years, and it seems to be keeping that momentum up. According to Fortune data, total revenue of top 15 technology companies in the world was a record 1.67 Trillion US Dollars in 2019, which is up 2% from 2018. There are more software companies than ever now.
Some useful links and references
Introducing Amazon Honeycode - Build Web & Mobile Apps Without Writing Code | Amazon Web Services VisiCalc was launched in 1979, and I purchased a copy (shown at right) for my Apple II. The spreadsheet model was…aws.amazon.com Why AWS built a no-code tool AWS today launched Amazon Honeycode, a no-code environment built around a spreadsheet-like interface that is a bit of a…techcrunch.com AWS launches Amazon Honeycode, a no-code mobile and web app builder AWS today announced the beta launch of Amazon Honeycode, a new, fully managed low-code/no-code development tool that…techcrunch.com Honey, I built the app! Amazon's beta no-code dev platform is great for ad-hoc stuff, but not much… Amazon has unveiled Honeycode, a browser-based tool for building no-code applications that run on the AWS cloud…theregister.com
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