Honeycode - Amazon's Answer to Enterprise No-Code

Amazon just launched its new no-code app builder, Honeycode. From the current feature set, it looks like Honeycode is targeted towards creating internal, enterprise apps — something to replace a shared internal spreadsheet.

Here's a quick run-down of what's possible (or not) with Honeycode:

Strengths

  • Store data in easy-to-edit spreadsheets, complete with formulas, filtering, and row-linking (like vlookup)
  • Comes with a handful of helpful templates for many useful internal business use-cases
  • Build both web and mobile versions of your app separate from each other without worrying about responsive styles
  • Create events which fire either by user actions (e.g., "Insert a new row in the attendees table when the user hits the register button") or automatically (e.g., "Send a reminder email to all attendees 1 day before an event starts")
  • Data is updated live from the server to the client, so users are not stuck viewing stale data
  • Invite up to 20 team members, and store up to 2,500 rows on the free tier (per worksheet, not per organization)
  • Plans are month-to-month with no up-front costs or annual lock-in
  • User management, authentication, and permissions are handled through the Honeycode admin interface
  • Once users download the Honeycode app, it's possible for them to launch multiple apps from the root menu
  • Interact with the workspace via the various AWS SDKs
  • Video courses, knowledge center, and a community forum are available on their help-desk site

Weaknesses

  • It's not possible to publish apps publicly, either on the web or the Apple or Google app stores
  • There is no ability for users to sign up — they must be invited via the admin interface
  • Past the free tier, the price becomes between $10-20 per user, per month, depending on how much data you are storing
  • It's not (currently) possible to pull in remote data sources (e.g., via a REST API) though you can insert via the SDKs
  • It's also not (currently) possible to write custom serverless functions or logic, though you could use long-polling using the SDK to check for changes
  • As with all AWS products (and to be fair, most no-code platforms) there's vendor lock-in — you'll have to re-build from scratch if you ever leave Honeycode

Take-Aways

For a first offering, Honeycode is an impressive no-code tool. Amazon claims they have been using this internally for a while and have yet to run into a problem they couldn't solve. That said, if you looking to build internal, enterprise apps, you might also check out Retool, Salesforce's Lightning App Builder, or Microsoft's Power Apps. However, if you are looking to build a web or mobile app with public data and user signups, Honeycode is not a good fit, and you will want to check out any of the dozens of other no-code tools out there, like Bubble, Adalo, and Glide.