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Programming Without Code: The Rise of No-Code Software Development

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Code is the backbone of most software programs and applications. Each line of code serves as an instruction—a logical, step-by-step mechanism for computers, servers, and other machines to perform an action. To create those instructions, one must know how to write code—a valuable skill that’s sometimes in short supply

But what if you could build software without writing a single line of code? That’s the premise behind no-code development, a software development method that has been gathering momentum. With the help of no-code platforms, it’s possible to develop software without writing any underlying code.

Webflow
Image: Webflow

“No-code allows people who don’t know how to write code to develop the same applications that a software engineer would,” says Vlad Magdalin, co-founder and CEO of Webflow, a no-code platform for building websites. “It’s the ability to do without code what has traditionally been done with code.”

No-code development could also be regarded as a form of visual programming. Instead of text-based development environments, users manipulate code elements through drag-and-drop user interfaces. A popular example is MIT Media Lab’s Scratch programming language, which uses graphical programming blocks to teach children and adults how to code.

“It’s more like using building blocks that have logic,” says Lacey Kesler, co-founder of the Visual Dev School. “It’s a way to empower people to create for the web without learning how to code.”

No-code programming is a natural progression in the realm of software development. What began as low-level programming using assembly language—which is as close as programmers can get to machine code instructions—evolved into Java, Python, C, JavaScript, and the other programming languages of today. This evolution involved adding layers of abstraction to hide the complexities behind machine code, making programming easier for software developers.

Despite being a product of technological evolution, no-code development isn’t a novel concept. The computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools of the ‘90s predate today’s no-code platforms. But CASE tools, as their name suggests, only aim to aid certain activities in the software development life cycle—and not the actual coding itself. Microsoft Visual Basic and Adobe Dreamweaver—which still require knowledge of code—are considered earlier iterations of no-code tools.

Microsoft's Visual Basic used to program a virtual agent.
Image: Microsoft

Today, various platforms exist to enable no-code development. These include Microsoft’s Power Apps and Oracle’s Visual Builder to create mobile and web apps, Oracle’s Application Express to develop business apps, and Salesforce’s Lightning Platform for customer relationship management apps. Even Google is getting in on the action with its recent acquisition of AppSheet, a no-code platform for building mobile apps.

These tools and the applications built with them are gaining traction in the tech world. According to research from Gartner, low-code application development (which also encompasses no-code) will make up more than 65 percent of application development activity by 2024, with three-quarters of large enterprises using at least four low-code development tools.

So what’s behind the growth of programming without code?

“With more powerful computers, more accessible cloud computing services, and better programming languages, you can start building software that allows you to build software,” says Victor Kuppers, vice president of marketing at Betty Blocks, a product that enables no-code assembly of applications from components known as “blocks.”

No-code development is also a solution to a supply-and-demand problem: a rising demand for generating more software, but a limited number of developers who can create that software. “There’s a clear need in the market for more people to create software, and what you can create with code is so valuable,” Magdalin says. “Yet coding is such a difficult skill to learn that the world just can’t catch up. No-code tools are emerging because they’re much easier to learn compared to getting a computer science degree or going through a coding boot camp.”“No-code allows people who don’t know how to write code to develop the same applications that a software engineer would.”—Vlad Magdalin, Webflow

Aside from this minimal learning curve, no-code platforms allow for faster application development, which could lead to lower costs for businesses. It could also eliminate any issues between a person’s vision of a product and how a software engineer brings that vision to life through code. “Software is designed to meet a certain purpose, solve a particular problem,” Kesler says. “With visual development tools, we’re able to do that without handing the project off to a developer or learning how to code it ourselves. It gives us the ability to solve our own problems.”

But perhaps the most important advantage of no-code over code is making software development more accessible. “We’re moving into a world where people who understand the business situation the best or those who interact with customers the most will be building the product themselves,” says Emmanuel Straschnov, co-founder of no-code platform Bubble. “Given that technology is such a central part of our lives, more people should be able to create it. No-code development takes the power of creating software and spreads it among everyone.”

Programming without code is still not a one-size-fits-all solution, though. It won’t have the same precision and won’t offer as many possibilities as code does. “Because it’s a higher level of abstraction, it will be limiting in some ways. You won’t have the same flexibility as code,” says Straschnov.

Moreover, no-code platforms aren’t meant to replace software developers. “I’m a former software engineer, so I used to have the same fear,” Magdalin says. “Just because coding has been automated doesn’t mean the entire skill is gone. In fact, it may even be more valued now. Every business will have something unique that can’t be addressed by a no-code solution. You still need developers for the exceptions that these visual tools don’t support.”

When it comes to the future of no-code development, Straschnov sees it as becoming a natural part of the software ecosystem, with more companies switching to no-code platforms and software engineers extending these platforms to make them more powerful. 

“I hope the future of no-code is one framed in a positive light because it’s democratizing software development,” Kesler says. “I know how to code—I was solely dedicated to Ruby on Rails, but I realized that’s not how I like to create. Once I found visual development, it changed everything for me. No-code development allows others to create in a way that feels natural to them.”

Source: https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/software/programming-without-code-no-code-software-development

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The Motivator

FIFA 21: No demo for upcoming game, EA Sports confirm

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The company says it will instead focus on perfecting the latest iteration of the series ahead of release

EA Sports has announced that the company will not be releasing a demo for FIFA 21.

FIFA 21 is set to be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Friday, October 9, having being pushed back from its usual September release date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, the game will also be eventually released on the upcoming Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, making this year’s release one of the most important in recent years.

Typically, EA Sports release a demo for each year’s game around three weeks before the official release, allowing players to test out the gameplay in one-off matches featuring some of the game’s top teams.

The demo is then typically followed by an early access period for those that are EA Play members, offering players a chance to play the full game for a limited time before release.

However, EA confirmed on Monday that this year’s game will not have a demo, with the company instead focusing on making sure the full game is prepared for its October 9 release date.

“We aren’t releasing a demo for FIFA 21. Instead we’ve made the decision to focus our development team’s time on delivering the best full game experience for current & next-gen consoles,” EA said in a statement.

“We look forward to EA PLAY members jumping in 10 days from now and launching the game Oct 9.”

In recent weeks, EA has begun to unveil the list of the highest-rated players in the game, with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski earning the top three places on this year’s rankings on the men’s side with U.S. women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe leading the way for the women.

This year’s game will feature improvements to career mode, new attacking systems such as Agile Dribbling, Positioning Personality and Creative Runs and improvements to the highly-popular Ultimate Team mode including FUT Co-Op gameplay and increased club customisation options.

Additionally, the game will feature a series of new icons: Eric Cantona, Ferenc Puskas, Xavi, Nemanja Vidic, Petr Cech, Samuel Eto’o, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Phillip Lahm, Fernando Torres, Ashley Cole and Davor Suker.

Source: https://www.goal.com/en/news/fifa-21-no-demo-for-upcoming-game-ea-sports-confirm/w6bswvm9fg9h16crm45vzt6qs

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The Motivator

Editing HTML Like A Boss In VS Code

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Here’s a seven minute video from Caleb Porzio that focuses on some of Emmet‘s HTML editing features. You might think of Emmet as that thing that expands abbreviations like table.stats>tr*3>td*3 into glorious, expanded, and perfect HTML. But Emmet has other HTML editing trickery up its sleeve. My favorite is “wrap with abbreviation” (which happens to be Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + A on CodePen), but there are more, like expanding your selection inward and outward and tag changing.

If you haven’t seen it, the Emmet 2 preview on CodePen is pretty neeeeat. It shows you what you’re about to expand into before you do it:

Direct Link →

Source: https://css-tricks.com/editing-html-like-a-boss-in-vs-code/

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The Motivator

PS5 Game Install Sizes Revealed, And They’re Enormous

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There was hope that the efficiency of the PlayStation 5’s super-fast SSD hard drive would reduce game file sizes, as titles wouldn’t need to duplicate data to ease read speeds. That, apparently, is not quite the case, as the minimum install requirements for a couple of PS5 launch games have been revealed – and they’re enormous.

Demon’s Souls, for example, will eat up 66GB of the next-gen system’s storage space; Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales will gobble up 50GB, and if you plump up for the Ultimate Edition – which includes Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered as well – you’ll lose an eye-watering 105GB. That’s already an eighth of the device’s available 825GB.

It’s worth noting that textures will be more detailed on the PS5, so developers may well be saving space compared to PS4 titles, but using it up with higher quality assets. In the case of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered, for example, the original game with all of its DLC installed takes up approximately 75GB on the PS4, compared to roughly 55GB in its revamped form.

Still, it looks like you’re definitely going to have to juggle which games you’ve got installed – although eventually you will be able to expand the system’s storage space. You can find out more about that through the following link: Which SSD Drives Will Be Compatible with PS5?

Source: https://www.pushsquare.com/news/2020/09/ps5_game_install_sizes_revealed_and_theyre_enormous

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