Non-programmers build more software in the world – a computer scientist explains “no-code”

(The Conversation is an independent and not-for-profit source for news, analysis, and commentary from academic experts.)

(THE TALK) Traditional computer programming has a steep learning curve that requires learning a programming language, such as C/C++, Java, or Python, just to build a simple application like a calculator or a tic-tac-toe game. Programming also requires extensive debugging skills, which easily frustrates new learners. The study time, effort, and experience required often deters non-programmers from creating software from scratch.

No-code is a way to program websites, mobile apps, and games without using codes, scripts, or instruction sets. Humans learn easily from visual cues, which led to the development of what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) document and multimedia editors as early as the 1970s. With WYSIWYG editors you can work in a document as it appears in the finished form. The concept was extended to software development in the 1990s.

There are many no-code development platforms that allow both programmers and non-coders to create software through drag-and-drop graphical user interfaces instead of traditional line-by-line coding. For example, a user can drag and drop a label onto a website. The no-code platform shows what the label looks like and creates the corresponding HTML code. No-code development platforms generally provide templates or modules that anyone can use to create apps.

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In the 1990s, websites were the most familiar user interface. However, creating a website required HTML coding and script-based programming, which are not easy for a person without programming skills. This led to the release of early no-code platforms, including Microsoft FrontPage and Adobe Dreamweaver, to help non-coders build websites.

Following the WYSIWYG mindset, non-programmers could drag and drop website components like labels, text boxes, and buttons without using any HTML code. Besides editing websites locally, these tools also helped users to upload the created websites to remote web servers, an important step to get a website online.

However, the websites created by these editors were basic static websites. There were no advanced features like user authentication or database connections.

website development

There are many current no-code website building platforms like Bubble, Wix, WordPress, and GoogleSites that overcome the shortcomings of the early no-code website builders. Bubble allows users to design the user interface by defining a workflow. A workflow is a series of actions that are triggered by an event. For example, when a user clicks the save button (the event), the current game state is saved to a file (the series of actions).

Meanwhile, Wix has launched an HTML5 site builder that includes a library of website templates. In addition, Wix supports modules – for example, data analysis of visitor data such as contact information, messages, purchases and bookings; booking assistance for hotels and vacation rentals; and a platform for independent musicians to market and sell their music.

WordPress was originally developed for personal blogs. It has since expanded to support forums, membership sites, learning management systems, and online stores. Like WordPress, GoogleSites allows users to create websites with various embedded features from Google, such as: B. YouTube, Google Maps, Google Drive, Calendar and online office applications.

Games and mobile apps

Besides website builders, there are no-code platforms for game and mobile app development. The platforms are aimed at designers, entrepreneurs and hobbyists who have no game development or programming skills.

GameMaker provides a user interface with built-in editors for raster graphics, game level design, scripting, paths, and “shaders” to represent light and shadow. GameMaker is primarily intended for creating games with 2D graphics and 2D skeleton animations.

Buildbox is a no-code 3D game development platform. Buildbox’s main features include the image drop wheel, asset bar, options bar, collision editor, scene editor, physics simulation, and even monetization options. When using Buildbox, users also get access to a library of game content, sound effects, and animations. In addition, Buildbox users can create the game’s story. Then users can edit game characters and environment settings such as weather conditions and time of day, and change the user interface. They can also animate objects, insert video ads and export their games to different platforms like PC and mobile devices.

Games like Minecraft and SimCity can be viewed as tools for creating virtual worlds without programming.

no-code future

No-code platforms are helping to increase the number of developers at a time of increasing demand for software development. No-code is popping up in areas like e-commerce, education, and healthcare.

I assume that no-code will also play a bigger role in artificial intelligence. Training models for machine learning, the heart of AI, takes time, effort, and experience. No-code programming can help reduce the time to train these models, making it easier to use AI for many purposes. For example, a no-code AI tool allows non-coders to create chatbots that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

This article was republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: https://theconversation.com/nonprogrammers-are-building-more-of-the-worlds-software-a-computer-scientist-explains-no-code-180087.

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