Point and click programming?
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Thread: Point and click programming?

  1. #1
    Old Fart
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    Point and click programming?

    Non-programmers could play a major part in developing complex computer programs, thanks to a new language developed by Sun Microsystems.

    Ace is based on Sun's successful Java language and provides software development tools that give a graphical representation of computer code.

    Manipulating the diagram on-screen automatically alters the underlying code. For example, moving a line connecting two boxes could change the point at which a piece of input data is entered into a program.

    "Non-programmers can use Ace to build a skeleton of their application," says Ali Sayed, a member of the Ace project team. "But to make it completely working they [or a colleague] will have to write some minimal amount of code." Ace should also let non-experts modify a program after its core components have been written.

    Sounds interesting on the surface, but kind of frightening too. It would be a shame to see knowledge of BASIC, COBOL, the "C" family fade away in the same manner that old world craftmanship skills such as wood carving, glass blowing and stone masonery disappeared with the advent of the industrial revolution. Admittedly that is a remote possiblity, but it is a possibility all the same if ACE is successful at doing what it promises to do. What, pray tell, does the rest of the community think?

    Original article here.
    Al
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  2. #2
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    Man that's really scary....

    Visual Studio already makes it easy enough for people to code, they need only minimal knowledge, this is going to make it even easier. If it includes a simplistic network programming base then their could be a huge rise in the number of script kiddies out their. Exploit ideas that are now released but without public code, could now be coded by individuals with almost no knowledge.

    It's a scary turn in the future.

  3. #3
    Ninja Code Monkey
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    They are just trying to keep up with visual studio .net. Take the brains out of the skeleton work so that developers can devote their time to the business logic. I find it quite nice actually, as long as you are mindful of the skeleton code and it's quirks.
    "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." - Erasmus
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  4. #4
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    Exclamation

    I doubt we will ever see the death of the more complex languages. With code quality becoming as big of an issue as it has. You just can't replace the elegance of a skilled programmer with such a cookie cutter approach.

    It could have some great uses for companies who want to shave that payroll budget. Alowing people who have lesser knowlege of the more technical aspects to come up with simple solutions and still get paid as opperators. Not very promising for IT professionals.

    'They' will always need 'us' though.

  5. #5
    er0k
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    sounds like visual basic with a twist :P

  6. #6
    Jaded Network Admin nebulus200's Avatar
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    While I am sure that lower level languages will always be around for the dedicated, there, or at least this is what we had drilled into our heads in CS classes, has been a trend towards the use of , and I might be wrong, but I think they called them CASE languages, where it is so high level that you never see the nitty gritty under the hood. VB was the closest I had ever seen to it, thanks for the interesting article. While things like VB and ACE are great things, you will always have those who need the extra bit of tweak that you get out of doing stuff in lower level languages (even down to assembly). I don't know if you have ever tried cross-compiling stuff, I know when I did, I could usually make the assembly program 20% or less of the original compiled one...

    /nebulus
    There is only one constant, one universal, it is the only real truth: causality. Action. Reaction. Cause and effect...There is no escape from it, we are forever slaves to it. Our only hope, our only peace is to understand it, to understand the 'why'. 'Why' is what separates us from them, you from me. 'Why' is the only real social power, without it you are powerless.

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  7. #7
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    I don't like the idea of that. It's pretty annoying that soon people who have no idea how to program in C++ or other languages will be able to make their own programs. Sort of like all those 11 year olds who have their own website because of Yahoo and they put up a friends list and a guestbook all thanks to that website maker that Yahoo has. I just can't stand it, mainly because it takes no knowledge whatsoever.
    .

  8. #8
    er0k
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    Originally posted here by nebulus200
    While I am sure that lower level languages will always be around for the dedicated, there, or at least this is what we had drilled into our heads in CS classes, has been a trend towards the use of , and I might be wrong, but I think they called them CASE languages, where it is so high level that you never see the nitty gritty under the hood. VB was the closest I had ever seen to it, thanks for the interesting article. While things like VB and ACE are great things, you will always have those who need the extra bit of tweak that you get out of doing stuff in lower level languages (even down to assembly). I don't know if you have ever tried cross-compiling stuff, I know when I did, I could usually make the assembly program 20% or less of the original compiled one...

    /nebulus

    you are really admitting VB as a great thing? How is a non cross-platform language "great"

  9. #9
    Jaded Network Admin nebulus200's Avatar
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    VB was 'great' for its simplicity. Rather than having to mess around with code to capture the events, draw boxes, draw frames, etc, it is all added in by literally dropping it onto the screen and then detailing what events you want to capture and what to do when they occur. Since everything is so object oriented, you can in many cases add functionality to your program with a mouse drop. While I get what you are saying about cross-platform, that is not what I was commenting on nor was I saying that VB is the end-all-be-all, I was only commenting on the ease of use and its relative closeness to a CASE tool versus say something like C++.



    /nebulus
    There is only one constant, one universal, it is the only real truth: causality. Action. Reaction. Cause and effect...There is no escape from it, we are forever slaves to it. Our only hope, our only peace is to understand it, to understand the 'why'. 'Why' is what separates us from them, you from me. 'Why' is the only real social power, without it you are powerless.

    (Merovingian - Matrix Reloaded)

  10. #10
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    Here's my 2 cents.

    Non-programmers could play a major part in developing complex computer programs, thanks to a new language developed by Sun Microsystems.[1]
    I don’t believe non-programmers will play any role in the development of complex computer programs. Current programmers have an in-depth understanding of the language they are using and the tools needed to solve the problem. A non-technical person is not going to have the abilities or knowledge to solve a complex programming problem.

    Manipulating the diagram on-screen automatically alters the underlying code. For example, moving a line connecting two boxes could change the point at which a piece of input data is entered into a program.[1]
    Am I to believe that ACE is able to enable a non-programmer to connect symbols, by a drag and drop interface, which would allow them to create a complex program. It would seem to me that this “developer” would need to have a decent understanding of algorithms and data structures. How many non-programmers do you know that that knowledge?

    I have yet to see any drag and drop tools that will write out every bit of code need to create a worth while program. I don’t believe the code produced by a non-programmer will be efficient. When will the code be optimized? Will it be done by the non-programmer or the compiler? Good programmers spend years perfecting there craft and looking for ways to improve there code. It is my belief that non-programmers using a language like ACE will not be replacing the real programmers anytime soon.


    Cited References

    1) Knight, Will (2003). Code diagrams enable 'point-and-click' programming, NewScientist.Com.
    Accessed May 22, 2003 http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993743

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