In 2020, Amazon revealed it was entering the no-code app development space with its new Honeycode product. Less than four years later, the service, which was still in beta, is being discontinued. Starting on February 29, 2024, Honeycode customers will no longer be able to use any applications created with the platform.
So, what can we learn here, and what's next for Honeycode users? In this post, we’ll go through the good and the bad of Honeycode and why Skuid is a great alternative for former Honeycode users.
A look back at Honeycode
The low-code/no-code space is growing rapidly and is expected to generate $187B by the end of the decade. However, Honeycode simply did not see high levels of user adoption. To summarize several customer reviews, the platform struggled to balance two important factors: deep functionality and ease of use. The result was the retirement of the once-promising service.
The platform did some things well and provided a number of useful features and functionality. It was a good option for partners and customers who wanted to deliver apps quickly without resorting to custom code. According to customer feedback, Honeycode offered the following benefits:
- A user-friendly interface: Honeycode offered an intuitive, spreadsheet-based interface that even users with zero coding experience could navigate easily.
- Mobile app development capabilities: Honeycode customers could deliver mobile experiences quickly without writing custom code.
- Built-in data management: Rather than relying on external tools, Honeycode customers could use the platform’s built-in database to house, organize, and manipulate application data.
- Customizable templates: Honeycode users didn’t need to start from scratch and could instead choose from a range of templates that could then be customized to their needs.
- Integration with AWS services: As an Amazon product, Honeycode integrated seamlessly with other AWS services, many of which are considered world-class.
- Real-time collaboration: Multiple users could work on a Honeycode app at the same time, promoting teamwork and boosting efficiency.
However, the platform also came with major limitations contributing to its discontinuation. These included:
- Limited complexity: Simple applications were fine to build in Honeycode, but anything complicated was off the table as the platform lacked the depth developers would need.
- Few external integrations: Honeycode integrated very well with other AWS services, but non-Amazon options were extremely limited — a major problem for users with diverse tech stacks.
- Limited customization options: Those users who were more familiar with other, more robust low-code/no-code platforms found Honeycode’s customization options lacking.
- Pricing worries: Some customers felt that Honeycode was too expensive given its significant technical limitations.
- A significant learning curve: Although Honeycode was a no-code platform, it still came with a learning curve for non-technical users (especially those unfamiliar with database concepts).
- Performance problems: Some users experienced performance issues with the platform when working with larger datasets.
- Slow community growth: Honeycode was unable to build a significant community of enthusiastic users to create and engage with content.
The reality is that building a no-code app development platform for business apps is hard. To make a dent in the enterprise market, such a platform has to be at least two things: deeply functional (solving hard, valuable problems) and highly stable (supporting app dev life cycle best practices while allaying IT concerns). Add a third criteria – ease of use for business users who might be new to app delivery – and it’s almost impossible.
While Honeycode was a good effort, it’s going away in less than six months. That means it’s time for Honeycode customers to find a replacement.
How Skuid compares
Honeycode customers may have built their whole team’s workflow around the platform and now have to think about a migration path. Let’s look at Skuid and consider why it’s a great option for migrating and deploying in the short time that’s left before Honeycode is retired early next year.
For one, Skuid and Honeycode have much of the same great functionality. Skuid’s user-friendly and intuitive interface allows for citizen and business user app development. And it’s fast, letting teams go from kickoff to deployment in days and weeks, not months. Skuid is also AWS-hosted, allowing straightforward integration with the Amazon services Honeycode users already know and love.
However, Skuid also solves many of the limitations Honeycode users encountered. Feature requests on the Honeycode community show some ways that Honeycode users wanted the product to be more flexible to support more complex use cases. Skuid was built with design flexibility and data connectivity in mind, which makes Skuid an upgrade in many of these cases.
For example, Skuid allows users to:
Manipulate data and manage performance with large datasets
Some feature requests from the Honeycode community included multi-column sorting for tables, table exports to CSV/PDF, and textarea input support for new lines on an Enter keystroke. Skuid’s functionality supports all of these use cases and allows for data aggregation and grouping through Skuid models.
Connect to a wide range of tools
Rather than being limited to AWS applications, Skuid users can integrate with just about any popular SaaS platform. Our extensive integration library includes everything from REST and OData to Salesforce, OpenAI, Workday, and much more.
Customize every aspect of their application
Honeycode feature requests demonstrated a desire for design customization capabilities like better field label control and unlimited colors for conditional styling. With Skuid, every component has multiple customizable properties, and our Design System Studio makes implementing a design system fast and easy. It’s also developer-friendly, supporting custom components and field renderers, and is extensible with JS, HTML, and CSS.
Get started quickly
Even users who are new to app development can get started quickly with Skuid. Our Skuid Skool courses are designed to help new customers build their applications ASAP, and we’ve also got classes for intermediate and advanced users—and even a certification option!
Customized pricing based on use case
Honeycode did not offer multiple or flexible pricing tiers. Skuid, however, provides pricing options based on the number of users and configuration and support needs. We even have an Enterprise tier for large organizations that want to connect multiple data sources and build fully custom applications.
Join an active user community
Honeycode wasn't able to get a growing, vibrant community. Both the Skuid Labs and official Skuid Community hubs are extremely active, with users constantly sharing tips, ideas, best practices, and questions with one another.
Limitations and considerations
While Skuid is an excellent replacement for Honeycode, there are some limitations and considerations teams should have in mind before making the switch. First, Skuid is focused on the user experience, so for server-side automation and integrations, you’ll need to use another service, such as AWS Step or Zapier, depending on your team’s strengths and preferences. In addition, Skuid’s database doesn’t have the option to “hook in'' other services at this time, so we recommend using it for prototyping and 100% user-driven use cases.
Finally, Skuid may not have perfect parity with the templates offered by Honeycode – but we can help you quickly build new pages with pixel precision and maybe improve a few things in the process.
How to get started
Ready to make the switch to Skuid? We realize that there’s no easy button for migrating to a new platform, especially if you’ve built multiple complex workflows. If you haven’t already, start by documenting your application so you know what critical functionality needs to carry over.
If you have to move to a new data source, consider building a quick prototype with Skuid DB. And if your workflow doesn’t require any server-side automation, you may able to do everything you need with Skuid DB, our component library, and the Action Framework. Otherwise, work with your team’s architect, a Skuid partner, or our team here at Skuid – you’ll want a plan for moving to a robust database like Aurora PostgreSQL.
Once you know where your data is coming from, you can start building with Skuid, knowing that you can get whatever data you need into the right experience for your users.
If you have questions or concerns about migrating your Honeycode app(s) to Skuid or pricing and usage, contact us. We’ll be happy to walk you through the process.
Interested in learning more about Skuid + AWS? Register for our upcoming webinar on Oct 17th here.