How nonprogrammers are building more of the world’s software
Following the WYSIWYG mindset, non-programmers could drag and drop website components such as tags, text boxes and buttons without using HTML code. In addition to editing websites locally, these tools also helped users upload created websites to remote web servers, a key step in putting a website online.
However, the websites created by these publishers were basic static websites. There were no advanced features such as user authentication or database connections.
There are many current platforms for creating code-free websites such as Bubble, Wix, WordPress and GoogleSites that overcome the shortcomings of the first code-free website creators. Bubble allows users to design the interface by defining a workflow. A workflow is a series of actions triggered by an event. For example, when a user clicks the save button (the event), the current state of the game is saved to a file (the action series).
Meanwhile, Wix released an HTML5 site builder that includes a library of website templates. In addition, Wix supports modules, such as data analysis of visitor data, such as contact information, messages, purchases, and bookings; support for hotel reservations and vacation rentals; and a platform for independent musicians to market and sell their music.
WordPress was originally developed for personal blogging. Since then, it has expanded to support forums, membership sites, learning management systems, and online stores. Like WordPress, GoogleSites allows users to create websites with various Google embedded features, such as YouTube, Google Maps, Google Drive, calendar, and online office applications.
Mobile games and applications
In addition to website creators, there are code-free platforms for mobile game and application development. The platforms are aimed at designers, entrepreneurs and amateurs who have no knowledge of game development or coding.
GameMaker provides a user interface with built-in editors for raster graphics, game level design, scripts, paths, and shaders to represent light and shadow. GameMaker is primarily intended for making games with 2D graphics and 2D skeleton animations.
Buildbox is a code-free 3D game development platform. Buildbox’s main features include the image launch wheel, the asset bar, the options bar, the collision editor, the scene editor, the physics simulation, and even monetization options. While using Buildbox, users also have access to a library of game assets, sound effects, and animations. In addition, Buildbox users can create game history. Users can then edit game characters and environmental settings, such as weather and time of day, and change the user interface. They can also animate objects, insert video ads, and export their games to different platforms, such as computers and mobile devices.
Games like Minecraft and SimCity can be considered tools for creating unencrypted virtual worlds.
The future of the codeless
Codeless platforms help increase the number of developers, at a time of growing demand for software development. No code is appearing in areas such as e-commerce, education and health.
I hope that code-free will also play a more prominent role in artificial intelligence. Learning machine learning, the heart of AI, requires time, effort, and experience. Code-free programming can help reduce the time it takes to train these models, making it easier to use AI for many purposes. For example, a codeless AI tool allows non-programmers to create chatbots, something that would have been unimaginable even a few years ago.
Tam Nguyen is an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Dayton.
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