App Building in Honeycode | Crowdsourced Agenda Management

By Asker Shariff, Pankaj Thakur & Sandeep Shetty

We’re a group of 50 Technical Account Managers (TAMs) based out in Phoenix, Arizona. Our primary role is to provide Enterprise Support to some of the largest customers in the cloud (AWS). As we work with our customers, we’re gaining an immense amount of knowledge based on their varying use cases. AWS also comes up with a number of new services and features every week, which generates even more customer feedback that we’re fortunate to get insight around. It’s a challenge for the internal AWS teams to ensure the knowledge is shared, so we thought it would be nice if there was an application (platform or tool) to collect, prioritize, and schedule meeting topics. Initially, we started using word-type documents and spreadsheets for this purpose. This process was rather manual with scheduling and archiving, it was prone to errors, and a mechanism to solicit live feedback from participants did not exist.

Building a custom solution to solve the problem would require a programming background and time to develop, and additional time to maintain the solution. With the introduction of Amazon Honeycode in June 2020, a tool to build Web and Mobile apps without having to write thousands of lines of code, provided an opportunity for non-developers to start thinking about developing an app. An immediate opportunity for us was to explore Honeycode and to convert our manual agenda management process into an app.

What we found was that Honeycode is easy to get started in and uses the spreadsheet model, which includes tables, values, and formulas. You can learn more about Honeycode from Jeff Barr’s blog that we recommend you open in a new tab and bookmark before we get started.

Crowdsourced Agenda Management App

Crowdsourced Agenda Management (CAM) is an agenda management application to solicit upvotes on agenda topics with the highest interest amongst a team or organization, and then used to schedule topics that are to be presented.

We started this application to manage the agenda and the scheduling process for internal meetings. During the course of developing the application, we realized it can be used to prioritize the presentation topics for AWS Re:Invent, Summits, or any other events where a common voting mechanism is needed. Additional use cases include Quick Survey App and a modified version can be used as a Feature Request solicitation app (“Voice of Customer”) to upvote features that are of top interest.

The app has two types of users: Participant and Admin.

The Participant Experience

As a participant or an end-user, the voting tab and the FAQ screen will be visible.

Adding Agenda items

From the Voting Form, the participant or end user can add an agenda item to be scheduled on a particular date and time by selecting the green +Topic button. The participant will be presented with the Add New Topic screen where he or she can enter the topic of their interest and select a presenter on that particular topic, the date and time, and the duration of when the topic can be presented (see gif below).

Voting

On the Voting screen, all of the participants can vote once based on the topic that is of most interest to them, and then the app will automatically rank and sort the topics of maximum interest on the top of the list (see gif below).

The Admin Experience

As an admin or scheduler, you can navigate to the Admin screen.

Scheduling and managing the agenda

On the Admin screen, for a finalized meeting or training date the admin first selects the topics for the week and clicks on the Add To Agenda button to add the topic to the agenda (see gif below). The admin needs to make sure all of the selected presentation topics are on the same day. The admin can revert the topics back to the agenda pipeline from the Agenda screen if needed. An autogenerated email is sent to the presenter if a topic is rescheduled to a different date by the admin.

Meeting notes and presentations can be added to the tabs in the agenda by presenters or note takers. After the meeting is complete, the admin moves the topic and finalized notes to the Presentation Archive.

Looking up an archived presentation

An admin can navigate to the Presentation Archive screen to view the historical archive for all presentations.

Builder Features

We started with an empty table, explored the object’s functionalities, and then began to customize the web screen according to our requirements. We utilized a rich palette of user interface (UI) objects including lists, buttons, and input fields.

On the Tables, we used a Rowlink with a Picklist that pulls values from another table, which is formatted as a Honeycode Rowlink. Together, this restricts the values in the column to those found in the other table. In this case, the Rowlink is linked to the presenter table.

crowdsourced_agenda_5

We used the Builder screen using the web layout (there is also an option for mobile layout) to customize the app screens. Our Crowdsourced Agenda Management app consists of five screens: Voting, Admin, Agenda, Presentation Archive, and FAQs.

Let’s take the Voting screen as an example, there is a voting functionality (Vote button), for this we used built-in Button Object and added a trigger-driven action to increment the rank based on each vote which is updated into the Voting Table. Then, we used the List Object and wrote a Formula in the Data Source under List Properties to sort the topic based on the highest vote.

Formula Example: Filter(Voting,"ORDER BY Voting[Rank] Desc")

We then added logic to limit one vote to per participant by using the “IF” function in the Display Properties of the Vote button.

On the Admin screen, there is a functionality to add a topic to the agenda and email the presenter if the agenda needs to be changed. We used the built-in Button Object and added a trigger-driven action to update any changes, such as a change in the date and time of the presentation or the presenter, and used the Notify action and the formula in the “To” field that points to a cell containing a contact to email the changes to presenter.

Honeycode Help & Community

We explored and learned the Honeycode product and its capabilities using the Honeycode Help & Community. It has a vast amount of information to get started. There is also a Knowledge Center with an extensive catalog of How-to articles and videos to help onboard you in the product. For trigger actions and email notifications, we used the Triggers & Actions article and the Honeycode Functions article served as a reference to create the formulas such as Filters, IF condition, etc. Additionally, the Community Discussions category proved highly beneficial whenever we faced a challenge with implementing a particular feature, as we quickly received relevant answers to our questions.

We’ve only just begun our Honeycode journey. Next, we want to explore building an agile project management app to assign tasks and manage task workflow for a small team. We hope to share this will all of you in the coming months.

@Asker @pthakur @Sandeep


  • What other new features would you like to see added to this app?
  • What manual processes do you think you could automate using Honeycode?

Comment below to let us know!

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9 Likes

This is great—thanks for sharing! I think it would be cool to see who's contributed to the agenda topics. Looks like the participants can add topics but you don't know who's added what. Maybe you could add a field on the add new topic screen or something.

Depending on your team size, you could also setup an automation that prompts an email notif if/when a topic hits a certain # of votes.

Regardless, your app is clean! Would work for my use case too.

4 Likes

Thanks Katherine. Great feedback and we will include them in the next version.

2 Likes