Amazon Honeycode: A No-Code Platform With Big Promise
How I created a web and mobile application within an hour without coding
Amazon introduced the beta version of its no-code application
development platform Honeycode a week ago. No-code, Low-code software development platforms aren’t anything new, they have existed in the industry for the last two decades; however, despite their presence, most of the software applications are still developed through hand-coding
performed by programmers. Creating an application that can be used by
businesses themselves is a wish that every enterprise is likely to have
considering the time and cost incurred in the traditional development of
software applications by programmers.
Honeycode Account, Workbooks & App Templates
When you create an account in Honeycode, you are an ‘Admin’ for your
workbooks and apps in Honeycode. You can invite your team members to use the apps that you created. While team members can also be made admins of your workbooks and apps too, they will simply be a ‘member’ for your apps.
Honeycode works similarly to if you were to create an application directly from a spreadsheet. Honeycode users can import a ‘csv’ file into Honeycode to create a ‘Workbook’, which is a collection of apps. A few predefined app templates are available on the website, which can be readily used or modified to suit your needs. I wanted to create an application from scratch. My intention was to create a tiny app through which a user can submit Travel expenses for the business trips.
The following are the key components for creating apps in Honeycode.
- Tables — Similar to any spreadsheet or database tables
- App Builder — Using this you can build the screens for the app
- Automation — For creating navigation, workflows, and notifications
Step 1. Create Tables
Creating Tables through the GUI as simple as you do in any other tool.
Table columns can have standard data types. A new data type ‘Contact’ is available where you can map the Admins and Team members of your app.
Step 2. Create App & Screens
After the tables are created, you can choose to create the app using a Wizard feature available in App Builder. You should choose the tables for the wizard to create the screens for that. For each table, the following
screens are created by the wizard — 1) List screen 2) Details screen 3)
Data Entry Form.
I chose to create the screens from scratch.
Screens can be built with objects from the palette. For user-interactive
objects, the data can be taken from the tables using formula. If static
text objects like ‘Content box’ (labels) too, a data cell can be associated if they should display dynamic text.
Step 3. Add Automation Actions
Button-like objects can be associated with actions through automation.
In the Submit button of the screens, I have added automation to insert
the entered values to the table and then to navigate to the next screen.
Actions can be also be added to notify the users (contacts) through
email, overwrite the form’s field values, and to update the records in
Web & Mobile Views
The image below is the Submit Expenses screen from the web application.
For previewing the mobile view, you need to download Honeycode mobile
app on your mobile. The following image is from the Honeycode mobile app for Android.
I was able to create the app, both for web and mobile, within an hour. As I became better acquainted with the tool, making progress became a far less time-consuming experience. Honeycode community has got help docs in many topics, which can be referred till we get more content after the active adaption of the technology.
Looking at the questions in the community forums and the responses from the Amazon team, I understand that Honeycode has been released as a B2E (Business to Employee) platform for the creation of ‘internal’ applications. Enterprises who are planning to automate their business functions may find Honeycode useful. If the platform is enabled to be used for creating applications for customers and the public, I’m sure that many would find it a very attractive alternative to existing technologies.
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