A new Amazon service called Honeycode promises to let non-developers quickly create interactive web and mobile apps without knowing how to develop software.
Announced in beta on Wednesday afternoon, Honeycode inserts Amazon into the fast-growing market for low-code and no-code software development, in which analysts and other advanced users inside companies can create sophisticated apps that would otherwise require them to engage their internal IT and application development teams.
“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,” said Larry Augustin, an Amazon Web Services vice president.
The service uses an underlying AWS database, allowing data to be linked, filtered and sorted, but with a point-and-click interface and a data entry structure reminiscent of a spreadsheet. The service is free for applications with up to 20 users, with charges kicking in for larger applications.
Amazon expects the primary usage to be used for apps and websites inside companies, but Honeycode could also be used for public-facing apps and websites.
It’s part of a broader effort by AWS to expand its offerings beyond the core infrastructure and platform services that initially attracted software developers to its cloud technologies. Amazon is looking to defend its lead as the top public cloud platform against rivals such as Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.
Microsoft is also involved in low-code software development through its Power Platform.
Gartner estimated last year that low-code and no-code approaches will represent more than 65% of application development inside companies by 2024. Earlier projections by Forrester predicted that the market would grow 50% a year to more than $21 billion by 2024. Forrester last fall named FileMaker, AppSheet, Caspio and Quick Base as leaders in the field.
Amazon itself used early versions of Honeycode in the process of planning, launching and naming the product, and for other functions such as creating an org chart for the team, said Meera Vaidyanathan, director of product management for AWS Honeycode.
“In terms of the specific verticals or industries, I don’t think there are any limitations to who can use it,” she said.