Title
#thinking-together
Duncan Cragg

Duncan Cragg

06/30/2019, 11:30 AM
Been scanning the Android Play Store for end-user programming apps in order to find my target audience and market. Found a few surprisingly active apps and communities, some with millions of downloads and hundreds of user-contributed mini-apps. These all come with visual programming interfaces, showing that there's life in that approach for a mass non-tech user market beyond edtech, and for a post-Excel user community. There's Tasker, Macrodroid and Automate for device automation, which have evolved into quite general-purpose programming ecosystems, with active forums and user-contributed content. There's Airtable, MobiDB, MementoDB which combine databases with varying degrees of spreadsheet-style programmability. There's Pocket Code, Roblox and Ready Maker, for writing your own games, and Sketchware for writing your own games and apps. Roblox has a very active (teen, Lua) programmer community. Pocket Code also has a very active sharing community. So these are the competition for my own project, and probably for anyone else here writing a mass-market, mobile-ready system for non-techies to program?
11:31 AM
The one thing these apps don't comfortably provide is distributed programming.
11:31 AM
And of course, they all suffer from the glass ceiling of "flatness" or lack of structure
Stefan

Stefan

06/30/2019, 11:53 AM
That’s a great analysis, thanks for writing it up and sharing it here! I don’t look at Android much and would’ve not even known where to start, and this is a great list.
Duncan Cragg

Duncan Cragg

06/30/2019, 11:54 AM
Thanks! 😄
Stefan

Stefan

06/30/2019, 11:54 AM
How are you planning to differentiate your offering? Or is that something you’d rather not share at this time?
Duncan Cragg

Duncan Cragg

06/30/2019, 11:55 AM
It's all just me and open source!
11:55 AM
11:59 AM
@Stefan these generally lack networking and distributed programming models, and structured organisation of data and programs
11:59 AM
Onex will fix that, of course 😄
12:00 PM
@jonathoda - what do you say to all this, as a fellow "user liberator"?!
jonathoda

jonathoda

06/30/2019, 1:10 PM
@Duncan Cragg do any of these have interesting new ideas in PL or IDE design? Frankly I’ve given up paying attention because I never find anything new. It is always the same old PL ideas in the same old UIs. The only difference is in how they package and market it. Let me know if I’m missing something
Duncan Cragg

Duncan Cragg

06/30/2019, 1:20 PM
No not at all you're right. I was just showing that the market for something better is quite vibrant!
Kartik Agaram

Kartik Agaram

06/30/2019, 7:41 PM
I'm sure there's lots of problems with them, but maybe "same old PL ideas" is irrelevant? https://futureofcoding.slack.com/archives/C5T9GPWFL/p1560280382290800
Duncan Cragg

Duncan Cragg

06/30/2019, 9:48 PM
Well it's not really the progress I'm looking for! Although my own approach has plenty of elements from elsewhere, I do think we need a bold break from the old tech.
9:52 PM
Techies' belief in the primacy and superiority of "their" programming is cheating the other 99% of the world from access to the most powerful tech humans have invented.
10:00 PM
Programming allows us to literally create worlds. We are gods in effect. But the non-technical masses have been conned into handing over this godlike omnipotence (and omniscience) to corporations (and governments).
Kartik Agaram

Kartik Agaram

06/30/2019, 11:37 PM
I try to focus on the problems remaining to be solved, not how novel the solutions are.
jonathoda

jonathoda

06/30/2019, 11:46 PM
If the problem hasn’t been solved then by definition a novel solution is needed
Kartik Agaram

Kartik Agaram

07/01/2019, 12:16 AM
Or a novel configuration of existing solutions.
Duncan Cragg

Duncan Cragg

07/01/2019, 7:40 AM
or something on a scale between those two!
y

yoz

07/01/2019, 8:29 PM
Even further than what Kartik suggested, how about “accessible, appealing configuration of existing solutions”. I see decades of fascinating ideas that have hardly ever been presented in a manner suitable for non-academics to use for real work.
Duncan Cragg

Duncan Cragg

07/06/2019, 4:43 PM
So I've been writing up my thoughts about the above in a webpage describing how Onex attempts to do things better than these end-user programmed apps:http://object.network/onex-app.html .. keen to get some feedback from folks here - but remember this page is written for non-techies, although it does assume they're familiar with spreadsheets.
jonathoda

jonathoda

07/06/2019, 5:02 PM
Show us the chat app in Onex!
Kartik Agaram

Kartik Agaram

07/06/2019, 5:03 PM
I like what I've seen so far. Feel like I finally understand what Onex is about.
5:13 PM
Couple of things looked strange about your example at first glance. * You have to keep adding rows to your light object as you add features. * The rule is in its own row. Why not have the value of brightness contain a rule? That's more spreadsheet like. I suppose you lose the ability to have rules make multiple changes at once. The big thing in Onex seems to be giving spreadsheet formulae their own place, so that they can be modified themselves. That's more powerful, but it's hard to reconcile with the first half where you suggest it's easier to use. I think it'll be easier to screw up, and programs will turn into spaghetti faster than spreadsheets.
Duncan Cragg

Duncan Cragg

07/06/2019, 5:27 PM
@jonathoda I've mocked it up in a Google spreadsheet, but it's not finished yet. I could show you the WiP
5:29 PM
You have to keep adding rows to your light object as you add features.
I don't understand, soz!
The rule is in its own row. Why not have the value of brightness contain a rule?
yes, that's the point I tried (but obvs failed!) to make in the text: that we're freeing formulae from their hidden lives!
I suppose you lose the ability to have rules make multiple changes at once
yes that's just one of the benefits
jonathoda

jonathoda

07/06/2019, 5:29 PM
Great, when it’s ready add it to your writeup, which I think will greatly strengthen your argument.
Duncan Cragg

Duncan Cragg

07/06/2019, 5:30 PM
The big thing in Onex seems to be giving spreadsheet formulae their own place, so that they can be modified themselves. That's more powerful, but it's hard to reconcile with the first half where you suggest it's easier to use. I think it'll be easier to screw up, and programs will turn into spaghetti faster than spreadsheets.
Aw crap. 😄
5:31 PM
that is, I haven't found that myself!
5:31 PM
😄