AWS For Everyone: New clues emerge about Amazon’s secretive low-code/no-code project

(GeekWire Photo / Tom Krazit)

The promise of so-called “low code/no code” software-development tools is to enable anyone to create business applications around their custom needs. It sounds like Amazon Web Services is getting ready to extend that idea to everyone.

Based on several LinkedIn resumes and a recent tech talk, it now seems like more than 50 engineers are working on a secretive low-code/no-code project that’s part of an effort called AWS For Everyone. Earlier reports indicated that AWS has for some time been working on a cloud service that would allow people with little to no software development experience create simple business applications without having to call up the IT department, but it wasn’t clear what that entailed.

AWS engineers looking for Seattle-area jobs at other low-code/no-code companies have pitched themselves as having relevant experience via a project called “AWS For Everyone,” according to a source. That project is also referenced in the LinkedIn profiles of multiple AWS employees (for now).

Patrick Woo, an AWS engineer, gave a talk at the CascadiaJS conference in November describing some engineering challenges his team of more than 50 engineers faced while creating “a single-page application at scale” code-named “Beehive.” A YouTube caption for a video of the talk (embedded below) called that project “AWS For Everyone,” and described it as “a new product that will transform many industries and change how people work.”

And according to his LinkedIn profile (for now), Woo is working for Adam Bosworth, the former Salesforce engineer who joined AWS in 2016 and has been linked to the low-code/no-code project by a report in The Information last year. Bosworth’s project is also tied to the noncompete battle AWS lodged against former executive Gene Farrell, who joined Smartsheet, which is working on low-code/no-code services, in 2017 as senior vice president of product.

(Update 2:19pm: “AWS For Everyone” has begun to disappear from LinkedIn profiles, and Patrick Woo’s profile has been updated to remove the reference to Adam Bosworth. Don’t worry, though, we got screenshots.)

The whole low-code/no-code concept has been evolving over the past few years. Just as the value of adding simple web applications to older business workflows often based around paper has become clear, professional developers are being pushed to develop and ship code for mission-critical applications on a near-constant basis. Local companies like AppSheet, K2, and Smartsheet have been working on tools for these types of users, and big providers like Microsoft, Google and Salesforce also offer their cloud customers access to these types of tools.

Such efforts are also a way for AWS to extend its brand beyond software developers and ops engineers into other business functions like marketing or finance, as it works to raise awareness among business leaders through increased marketing efforts like its incessant commercials during the NFL playoffs over the last few weeks. Services intended for those types of workers also tend to enjoy higher margins than commodity cloud services like compute and storage, which creates a lot of incentive for AWS to roll out such services for existing customers and to attract new ones.

It’s not clear exactly what the AWS For Everyone service will look like, but based on its description as a single-page application, it will likely be a web page with lots of drag-and-drop fields that users can manipulate to build applications. Woo also spent time during his talk discussing how AWS tested its single-page web application across multiple platforms and browsers.

An AWS representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.