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Is there a future for codeless software?

by pollsters (Initiate)
on Jun 02, 2019 at 20:01 UTC ( #11100853=poll: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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Re: Is there a future for codeless software?
by davido (Cardinal) on Jun 03, 2019 at 15:01 UTC

    Haven't we seen this future evolve for decades? FORTRAN used to be the tool of choice for any work that involved crunching numbers. Then VisiCalc came along in the late 70s / early 80s building on good ideas that originated in the 60s and took (aside from macros) the programming work out of number crunching for most laypeople. Those who still needed more under-the-hood capability got tools like MATLab.

    Software loaders / installers started as byte loaders and moved along to what we have today which is often specified using config style files that don't involve a lot of programming, but stand on the shoulders of general-purpose installers that programmers wrote.

    The trend is to take routine things, generalize them, and create tools to provide those generalized capabilities to people who then don't have to write code. So the trend is toward codeless software.

    However, there's always a leading edge to all of this; some next new thing that needs to be created, that often stands on top of all of the generalized automations that we no longer have to write, leaving us time to think about the new good ideas. We can pull together tremendous amounts of functionality as we build out containers, but we still need to commit some code. IFTTT is a great example of automations being built without writing software, but someone wrote IFTTT, exposing its generalized tool to the masses in a way that non-programmers could automate routine tasks.

    Yes, there's a future for codeless software, and hopefully we're writing it. But there's also a future for code pushing the boundaries.


      Of course! Haven't you seen Star Trek: TNG and how they program holodecks just by issuing vague verbal commands to future Siri? :-)

      Don't worry though, I believe that takes place beyond the year 2400, so plenty of job security for all current software engineers to finish out their careers.

      Just another Perl hooker - My clients appreciate that I keep my code clean but my comments dirty.

        From what we can see, the future Siri still phones home at the soonest opportunity to get the request parsed. The request is almost certainly then outsourced to a coding and art team from sometime in the early '90s (by sling-shotting a courier ship around a star to deliver the task details, obviously), and the results are incorporated into the install files for the ship's computer so it is available immediately upon the original request.

        Haven't you seen Star Trek: TNG and how they program holodecks just by issuing vague verbal commands to future Siri?

        And five minutes after they do that, they always seems to need the whole crew fixing the resulting mess. Like, Holodeck characters taking control of the Enterprise... again.

        perl -e 'use Crypt::Digest::SHA256 qw[sha256_hex]; print substr(sha256_hex("the Answer To Life, The Universe And Everything"), 6, 2), "\n";'

      I really wonder if I want this: Automatically light the way for the pizza delivery guy. And i bet a sixpack that the software that makes my new car park automatically is handwoven 😎 Or i hope so.

      «The Crux of the Biscuit is the Apostrophe»

      perl -MCrypt::CBC -E 'say Crypt::CBC->new(-key=>'kgb',-cipher=>"Blowfish")->decrypt_hex($ENV{KARL});'Help

        And i bet a sixpack that the software that makes my new car park automatically is handwoven 😎 Or i hope so.

        Actually, it's quite possible - maybe even likely - a model of the car was put in a variety of virtual environments and an AI learned how to park it by trial and error in each scenario.

Re: Is there a future for codeless software?
by Arunbear (Prior) on Jun 02, 2019 at 20:03 UTC

      I wanted to say something about how no matter how good computers are at understanding what humans mean, humans are still consistently bad at meaning they want. And something something, leaky abstraction something (... I didn't fully format that argument in my head). But it's already mentionned in the linked discussion.

      Although, I don't see any reason why sufficiently advanced graphical programming wouldn't be able to match written code. It would require graphical elements that are more abstract and precise though, which would need to be understood. Technically what "codeless" is actually implying is "learnless" or "little learning required", which is where the actual roadblock is.

Re: Is there a future for codeless software?
by BillKSmith (Monsignor) on Jun 10, 2019 at 15:14 UTC
    I once had a wise boss who said that he once thought that computers should do what we mean rather than what we say. After some reflection, he decided that this would not be much better. What we need is a machine that can "do what is appropriate." I suspect that requests to such a device would be called "prayer."
Re: Is there a future for codeless software?
by talexb (Chancellor) on Jun 07, 2019 at 13:57 UTC

    In the distant future? Sure. Right now? It's a work in progress.

    I'm reminded of the old saw: Experts said heavier than air flight was impossible. Amateurs built (and flew) the Kitty Hawk.

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    Thanks PJ. We owe you so much. Groklaw -- RIP -- 2003 to 2013.

Re: Is there a future for codeless software?
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 17, 2020 at 10:46 UTC
    First there was a pseudo-moral crusade against the people most capable of the creation of software (Codes of Conduct, imposed by outsiders).

    Then there was another pseudo-moral crusade to push other people into our domain of expertise (People not generally known for writing software).

    Now those incapable people want to write software without having to write any software.

    Boy will be boys, and girls will be girls...

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