Friday, April 04, 2014

Programming At The Speed Of Thought

As someone who has spent his life developing software applications, but who has never learned to code properly, I have always had a naive desire to think software into existence.

Coding HTML  was easy in 1996, but then it became more and more complex.

Now, things seem to be moving in the direction of coding at the speed of thought.

First of all came the advent of the cloud. In the beginning dealing with Amazon and their myriad maze of applications was a nightmare. However, they have matured and Microsoft's disclosures at yesterday's Build 2014 event were met by my development team watching online with great glee. The tools are impressive and I believe that at TV Everywhere we've managed to improve our productivity by nearly 30% by the introduction of tools like Azure and GitHub.

Still, we have to come up with functional specifications and get skilled engineers to write the code.

Content Management Systems like WordPress and Joomla have also come a long way and WYSIWYG editors on platforms such as 1&1 have made website publishing nearly as easy as creating a Powerpoint presentation.

But with their templates and plug-ins you still end up knee deep in CSS and PHP as you try and get your exact functionality to work.

This is where a new breed of startups come in. Companies like IFTT and Kimono are talking the automation of coding to new levels.

Of course, the old adage 'be careful of what you wish for' comes to mind. Just as robots may be subject to Asimov's rules, so automated software production that generates more software may on one hand be a boon, it may also have some unintended consequences. Automated hackers ? Drone reporters ? Computers with a mind of their own ?