back to article No need to code your webpage yourself, says Microsoft – draw it and our AI will do the rest

Microsoft has introduced an AI-infused web design tool called Sketch2Code that converts hand-drawn webpage mockups into functional HTML markup. It's not to be confused with a similar AirBnB project that has been referred to, unofficially, as sketch2code. For years, drag-and-drop web page building apps have been capable of much …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The return of front page

    Remember when FP turned a couple of kB into hundreds to allow easy html publication.

    More shite code on the way, not just from microsoft.

    1. Andy Mac

      Re: The return of front page

      You’re missing the point. It’s *AI* doing it this time.

      Anyway Frontpage disappeared a long time ago. My ire is reserved for Dreamweaver.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The return of front page

        Put some CSS, JQuery, or Ajax in there maybe the page could be interesting.

        Otherwise, its just Cloud AI Notepad for Web

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: The return of front page

          "Put some CSS, JQuery, or Ajax in there maybe the page could be interesting irritating."

          Fixed it for ya. Except CSS is ok when kept to a minimum [and not some ginormous boilerplate abomination from robot hell, stored on a CDN, and only used on THAT web page].

          I can imagine how many horrible things gone horribly wrong will end up on 'teh intarwebs' as a result of an AI tool that turns drawings into web pages.

      2. Crisp Silver badge

        Re: Frontpage disappeared a long time ago.

        It lives on in the SharePoint designer.

        Much like the old ones, it sleeps, waiting to be awoken by the folly of man.

        And on that day, all will be marquee and blink tags. And fire and brimstone shall rain down from the sky.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Frontpage disappeared a long time ago.

          And not forgetting that "Clippy the Office Assistant " is just waiting to return from The Home for Retired Pointless Animations ...

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: The return of front page

      My experience with these products is they are a pain to update the site and often produce miserable code. Too often these products are marketed to PHBs who are penny wise and pound foolish.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: The return of front page

        "Too often these products are marketed to PHBs who are penny wise and pound foolish."

        Oh yes.I knew it was near time to retire when the new PHB told me he did not know why it took days to produce new reports when he had seen a Microsoft tool that just allowed you to drag a database query onto a web page and have it populate a table that you resized with the mouse.

        Query cost analysis and optimisation? Formatting? Validation?

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: The return of front page

          Well provided the AI generated code is certified using blockchain, they're onto a winner.

          *shakes head in disbelief*

          Haven't they got anything better to do?

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: The return of front page

      I usually interpret 'Drag 'n Drop' as something you do with 'generated html' when you drag and drop it into the trash.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: The return of front page

        Can we have the scrolling, animated text back?

        1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

          Re: The return of front page

          Can we have the scrolling, animated text back?

          And a 900kB "AI" JavaScript that dynamically adjusts the number of dancing baloneys to fit the viewport.

          I've heard that FrontPage 2018 Sketch2Code will also automatically create and join webrings.

    4. Charles Calthrop

      Re: The return of front page

      I do remember that, yes. And I still think it is a good thing.

      Anything which lowers the barriers to non technical people creating content on the web is good. And, in my opinion, 1000 functional websites with awful code is better than 1 website, say, facebook, with 1000 beautfilly efficiently coded pages.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: The return of front page

        How about 1000 dysfunctional websites that only work on the developers machine?

      2. NiceCuppaTea

        Re: The return of front page

        How about the 1000 poorly secured websites that have some of your personal data that are waiting to be exploited by those nasty people.

      3. Nolveys Silver badge

        Re: The return of front page

        Anything which lowers the barriers to non technical people creating content on the web is good.

        I like the sentiment, but Front Page was an abomination. It was like a printing press that used plague corpses instead of paper.

        1. fidodogbreath Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: The return of front page

          I like the sentiment, but Front Page was an abomination. It was like a printing press that used plague corpses instead of paper.

          ^ ^ ^ ^ Comment of the Day ^ ^ ^ ^

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The return of front page

      Just curious: who will own the copyright on the generated code?

    6. fobobob

      Re: The return of front page

      I came specifically to joke about this; thanks for taking it off my hands.

  2. Flakk Silver badge
    Trollface

    Front-end web jockeys, freed from the burden of applying their expertise, can look forward to the creative satisfaction of quality assurance, a phrase which here means checking the AI's work.

    But don't get too comfy. You'll be on the Help Desk soon after the release of the AI product that fulfills the QA function.

    1. DJSpuddyLizard

      But don't get too comfy. You'll be on the Help Desk soon

      But the Help Desk have all been replaced with an AI chatbot that really only knows to tell people to restart their devices.

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        But the Help Desk have all been replaced with an AI chatbot that really only knows to tell people to restart their devices.

        In fairness to AI, that's also the only thing that most wetware tier 1 support reps know to tell people.

      2. 's water music Silver badge

        But the Help Desk have all been replaced with an AI chatbot that really only knows to tell people to restart their devices.

        'Turn it off and on again' /'uninstall and reinstall the app' serves two important purposes on a helpdesk.

        1 it actually fixes most of the callers' problems (either because it does; it gives them sufficient pause to work out the answer themselves or it just makes them go away because they never had a problem that's in scope for that helpdesk.

        2 it tells the knowledgeable caller that the operator has reached the end of their script/expertise and it is time to ask for an escalation or give up.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hilarious

    If this kind of thing takes off in a big way, there'll be a lot of web developers suddenly out of work. Better learn some real programming languages guys...

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Hilarious

      "there'll be a lot of web developers suddenly out of work"

      That seems rather doubtful. There's a lot more to web development than just arranging the visuals. This tool seems more suitable to allow non-web developers to design simple pages, and to relieve real web developers of the tedium of designing simple pages.

      "Better learn some real programming languages guys..."

      It sounds like you're confusing two different professions. While there is a bit of overlap in the Venn diagram, web developers and software developers are two different skillsets that require two different ways of thinking and working. Witness how terrible most software developers are at web development. Web developers aren't wannabe software developers who couldn't be bothered to learn <insert your favorite language here>.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Hilarious

        "Witness how terrible most software developers are at web development. "

        And considering the bloated, browser dependent mess that's so often presented as a web page, witness how terrible some web developers are at web development.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Hilarious

          Indeed, you'll get no argument from me on that. But I blame those odious "User Experience" folks for that more than actual web developers.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Hilarious

            blame those odious "User Experience" folks for that more than actual web developers.

            You'll get no argument from me for blaming them from anything. but implementation has to take a share of the blame. And do we have some left over for manglements demanding DRM?

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Hilarious

          "And considering the bloated, browser dependent mess that's so often presented as a web page, witness how terrible some web developers are at web development.""

          Speaking of which, have you SEEN how BIG Win10 basic install is? Lot's of blame to go around I think.

        3. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Hilarious

          Browsers aren't bloated, they are simply optimisationally challenged.

      2. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Hilarious

        "There's a lot more to web development than just arranging the visuals".

        Cue the old joke about the drunk searching for his car keys under the street light. "Is this where you dropped them?" "No, but it's much easier to see here".

        One of the classic principles of software design: "do the easy bits first, and forget about the rest".

      3. DJSpuddyLizard

        Re: Hilarious

        "there'll be a lot of web developers suddenly out of work"

        That seems rather doubtful. There's a lot more to web development than just arranging the visuals.

        Yes, but those "web developers" whose sole qualification is three weeks at a Web Boot Camp will be soon having to be selling off their kidneys.

        1. sambaynham

          Re: Hilarious

          Let's hope! I'm a Web Developer, and I've built my career on repairing the mistakes of fools. AI fools or meat fools, makes no difference to me.

    2. Godwhacker

      Re: Hilarious

      To be fair the real languages have the same problems, it’s just the shit frameworks people use with them get a logo after the third version as opposed to before the first

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hilarious

        Is the joke not that HTML is not coding, it's markup? Ok, my understanding of definitions is rusty.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Hilarious

          "Is the joke not that HTML is not coding, it's markup?"

          Oh grandpa, that is *SO* 20th century...

  4. indigomm

    Quality output

    "Once you have drawn these wireframes on a whiteboard..."

    I look forward to receiving a web page full of blurred scribbles and smudges using a colour palette of 6 faded colours. All enhanced by a background image from the last person who tried to use a permanent marker on the whiteboard.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Quality output

      You get six faded colors for your whiteboard? What luxury! Where I work, we're only provided with four.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Quality output

        more likely, three colors.(at least for the actual web page, transcribed from a white board maybe)

        One is light blue, for everything that's supposed to look like a button or a symbolic link.

        Next, there is blisteringly blindingly bright white, for 90% of the page, to keep you from being able to see anything on it [like staring directly into the sun].

        Then there's the black text, with a font size that is too small and a font weight that's too thin to be easily read without magnification, by anyone over the age of 35. Like this edit box, right here. Hint hint hint. Now, where's my magnifying glass... everything looks like "blur" on bright white here.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Quality output

          But what if I want to design a black website with black buttons labelled in black, which when pressed cause a little black sign to light up in black to show that you have done it? You know, for that true Haggunenon look and feel.

          Doffs hat to the late, great Douglas Adams

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Quality output

            "But what if I want to design a black website with black buttons labelled in black, which when pressed cause a little black sign to light up in black to show that you have done it? You know, for that true Haggunenon look and feel."

            Easy. Just forget to take the lens cap off when you photograph the whiteboard!

            1. onefang Silver badge

              Re: Quality output

              "Easy. Just forget to take the lens cap off when you photograph the whiteboard!"

              Shirley a blackboard is better for that sort of design?

        2. Alister Silver badge

          Re: Quality output

          Next, there is blisteringly blindingly bright white, for 90% of the page, to keep you from being able to see anything on it [like staring directly into the sun].

          I reckon there's a conspiracy among monitor manufacturers and web designers, to use as much white as possible, to decrease the useful life of the screen.

        3. Barry Rueger Silver badge

          Re: Quality output

          Then there's the black text, with a font size that is too small and a font weight that's too thin to be easily read without magnification, by anyone over the age of 35.

          Up vote for this. Also, so-called "dark themes."

      2. Arctic fox
        Coat

        @JohnFen Re: "You get six faded colors for your whiteboard?"

        "What luxury! Where I work, we're only provided with four."

        You had rats? You wer lucky, when I wer a lad.....er sorry I am obviously getting past it. See icon.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quality output

      "I look forward to receiving a web page full of blurred scribbles and smudges using a colour palette of 6 faded colours. All enhanced by a background image from the last person who tried to use a permanent marker on the whiteboard."

      Oh, so the same GUI designer as Windows 10?

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Quality output

      The PHB will love this new product ... "Dear BOFH, while I was in the crapper I had this genius idea for a new webshite design so I sketched it out a a piece of paper that I found there and all you have to do is implement it with AI"

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Quality output

        "while I was in the crapper I had this genius idea for a new webshite design so I sketched it out a a piece of paper that I found there"

        Was the paper used or unused?

  5. DJV Silver badge

    Yay!

    Clippy comes to web design. What could possibly go wrong!

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Yay!

      What? He isn't doing it already? Then who the hell is?

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