According to a new patent application, Apple has a new app in the works that will allow non-programmers to develop iOS apps for their mobile devices. This move may make it easier to get new apps to market without the need for understanding or working with actual code.
The tool they describe promises a drag and drop style interface that should make it easy to animate assets and show content on “multiple screens with various resolutions, including televisions and computers.”
Any seasoned developer will tell you that a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) tool like this one will never take the place of an actual programmer capable of designing and developing using actual code. Being one myself, I believe this to be true. What a tool like this does do is make entry level projects much more accessible.
It could also make it faster and easier to develop proof-of-concept style projects with developers giving a skeletal ‘what your app can do’ style presentation without a lot of time invested in the actual development. This kind of skeleton can also make it much easier to show your stakeholders the kinds of content you need to have provided or assets created (custom icons and other animations) such that you can complete a more full-featured app in the end.
There may be some concern that lower-skilled app development could saturate the market with apps not ‘worth their weight’, but I don’t think anybody should be worried. In many cases this kind of development work will satisfy the kinds of projects that wouldn’t have delivered a programming investment anyway –not to mention the ability to easily create apps may persuade some businesses to adopt iOS-based devices when they otherwise might not have. More iOS devices in consumer hands is never a bad thing –for Apple or for more serious developers.