How Can Amazon Honeycode Benefit Sellers?

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Amazon launched a new service on June 24th called Honeycode. Amazon Honeycode allows Amazon Web Services customers to build apps without having to code.

It’s designed primarily for companies that need apps for tasks like event scheduling, process approvals, content and inventory tracking, user surveys, to-do lists, and customer-relationship management. Amazon Honeycode works much like a spreadsheet so companies don’t have to keep multiple spreadsheets to track data.

In this article, we show you what Amazon Honeycode is, its features and the benefits of using it, and what it costs to use.

What is Amazon Honeycode?

Amazon Honeycode is a new way to build web and mobile applications without the need for computer programming experience. Thanks to the efforts of technology companies, we have low-code or no-code options for companies to use software tools. Now, they don’t have to hire expensive computer engineers. Slack, a workplace communication software, and SmugMug, a paid image-sharing service, were two of the first to use Amazon Honeycode.

Dubbed “AWS for Everyone,” Amazon Honeycode is a fully managed service that allows the quick and cost-efficient development easy-to-use management tools. It is also the latest effort to introduce app building to non-technical audiences.

Amazon Web Services is the market leader for the cloud infrastructure as a service market. It is also Amazon’s biggest moneymaker, accounting for 77% of the company’s total operating profit. Research firm Gartner estimated that Amazon had 47.8% of the market in 2019. It isn’t the only option out there, however.

Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are also in the business of selling rented processing power and software services. Google launched the Grasshopper game in 2018 that teaches adults the basic principles of coding. And Apple built school curriculum to help elementary and middle school students learn coding. With Amazon Honeycode, the company could keep its lead over these and other rivals.

Still in beta, Amazon Honeycode is available for customers under the Amazon U.S. West (Oregon) data center region. It will roll out to other areas soon.

A Message from Amazon Web Services

Amazon Honeycode allows companies to do a wide range of functions and to keep all monitoring of these functions in one place. This makes Amazon Honeycode an extremely valuable tool. Without it, companies would need to manage workloads separately and manually, usually using individual spreadsheets.

This way of tracking data is prone to human error as well as data corruption issues. Furthermore, using multiple spreadsheets is not secure since it is difficult to set specific access permissions to specific sections of data.

Amazon Honeycode can do all of this so that data is only available to those who need to see it and use it.

Amazon Honeycode can also scale up to more than 100,000 rows without causing loading delays and loading errors that make working on spreadsheets difficult. Even better, Amazon Honeycode sheets can be easily viewed on mobile devices, which is not true of most spreadsheets.

How Amazon Honeycode Works

Amazon Honeycode interface looks and works like a spreadsheet. This is to make it easy for customers without coding experience to use the tool.

The backend of the tool is powered by an Amazon Web Services development database.

This combines the simplicity of spreadsheets with the power of true database-like capabilities. Users can therefore easily do simple tasks like sort and filter data, and complex tasks like collaboration across departments.

Using Amazon Honeycomb

Here’s how to build your own web and mobile apps without using code:

  1. Go to the Honeycode Builder.
  2. Create an account.
  3. Log in to see “My Drive,” which has the workbooks and apps plus multiple search, filter, and view options.
  4. Click “Create workbook” and select a ready-to-use template based on the task you want to accomplish, or import data from CSV files.
  5. Clear the sample data or customize it.
  6. Use the app builder to design your app’s interface and add capabilities like forms and navigation.
  7. Use the icons on the left to explore the workbook by tables, apps, and automations. (Note:  A workbook can contain multiple apps that use the same tables, and all of the tables and apps in a workbook can use any of the automations in the workbook.)

The Honeycode App Builder

All the screens in an app, such as My TasksAll TasksEdit, and Add Task, have both web and mobile layouts. Its linking layouts make it very convenient, but can you can use them separately for more control. Objects within a screen can reference data in tables.

Here’s the source expression:

=Filter(Tasks,”Tasks[Done]<>% ORDER BY Tasks[Due]”,”Yes”)

The “%”  in the filter condition is replaced by the second parameter (“Yes”) when the filter is evaluated. This substitution system makes it easy for you to create interesting & powerful filters using the FILTER() function.

When the app runs, the objects within the List replicate, one per task. Objects on screens can initiate run automations and actions.

The Add Task screen prompts for the values that specify the new task, and the ADD button uses an automation that writes the values to the Tasks table.

Automations can be triggered in four different ways. Here’s the automation that generates reminders for tasks that have not been marked as done. The automation runs once for each row in the Tasks table:

The notification runs only if the task has not been marked as done, and could also use the FILTER() function.

Build an App from Scratch

  1. Choose Create workbook and Import CSV file or Start from scratch.
  2. Click the Tables icon and create reference and data tables.
  3. Then, click the Apps icon and build the app. (Note:  Select a wizard that uses your tables as a starting point, or start from an empty canvas.)
  4. Choose the Automations icon and add time-driven or data-driven automations.
  5. Share the app by clicking “Share app” and searching for the desired team members. They will each receive an email that contains a link, and can start using the app immediately. On mobile, users will have to install the Honeycode Player, available for both iOS and Android.

Amazon Honeycode APIs

External applications can also use the Honeycode APIs to interact with the applications you build with Honeycode. The functions include:

  • GetScreenData – Retrieve data from any screen of a Honeycode application.
  • InvokeScreenAutomation – Invoke an automation or action defined in the screen of a Honeycode application.

Amazon Honeycode Special Features and Benefits

Sellers can benefit from using Amazon Honeycode in several ways due to its special features. One major benefit of the tool upfront is reducing error rates by eliminating error-prone methods of transmitting data, such as emailing spreadsheets and documents. Multiple users sharing data across multiple spreadsheets is difficult. Amazon Honeycode uses the same, familiar concepts of sheets, tables, values, and formulas. But it makes data sharing easy and efficient.

Here are several more features and benefits as described by the tool’s website:

  • no programming required
  • adapt your custom app
  • updates are instantly shared to your team
  • configure permissions to restrict access to team members
  • build custom Honeycode apps for web browsers and mobile devices
  • automate manual steps
  • automatically notify team members of updates or needed actions
  • easily link related data in different tables and visualize these relationships
  • invite anyone to use your app
  •  built-in, trigger-driven actions that can generate email notifications and modify tables
  • built-in functions like the new FindRow 
  • APIs for external applications to interact with Amazon Honeycode apps, such as GetScreenData and InvokeScreenAutomation 

Costs to Use Amazon Honeycode

Amazon Honeycode is free for up to 20 users and 2,500 rows per workbook. Customers pay to add more users and additional storage for larger applications. Here are the plan upgrade levels:

Final Thoughts

Amazon Honeycode is a simple visual application builder that allows customers to create highly interactive web and mobile applications. These apps are backed by a powerful database built by Amazon Web Services. This means more robust functions. It also helps prevent data synching errors that are common with files transmitted over email and downloaded and reuploaded to cloud storage.

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