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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Mushroom

Re: Yay!

Here he is in all his Javascript glory....

You know what to do, yes from orbit -->

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Anonymous Coward

Who to believe?

Microsoft AI / Azure PR people or this article below from yesterday - Confused! Either way I'm sure some hilarious results will come out of this process at times. Me? No I'm not a web developer. Oh wait, I am! I'm today's web developer, a game dev! Apparently AI is going to be making hit games any day now. Watch out! Must find something else. Social media content moderator, that sounds stable, free of AI? Er, nevermind!

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/08/28/ai_image_recognition_tricked/

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Re: Who to believe?

I don't think you have to worry since there is no such thing as a real AI just wishful hope by marketing droids.

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Re: Who to believe?

"I don't think you have to worry since there is no such thing as a real AI just wishful hope by marketing droids".

I think that has been the main underlying joke in most of the comments so far.

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HTML? That is so last year. Web development these days is all about dragging in pointless dependencies from NPM.

Can the AI do that?

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Mushroom

Web development these days is all about dragging in pointless dependencies from NPM.

Don't forget superseding last week's must-have tool with this week's. And devising new opaque commands. I just got used to npm, then I read a book where some of the commands have to be executed as 'ng npm'. Even this is apparently too lucid, as somebody's introduced a command called 'n'.

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Joke

Under the covers

It is using Emacs, or VI? (Tabs or spaces?)

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Facepalm

I do wonder...

how many offsite scripts these websites are going to need in order to display.

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Re: I do wonder...

and how much tracking will be done without the knowledge of the "designer". It is funny how all of these supposedly creative people all come up with a look and feel for sites that is almost identical.

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Re: I do wonder...

I will bet on "a very large amount". Just try to pick up any html page and see if you can read it from source. I certainly can't. About the fourth time another javascript blob appears, I lose my focus and give up.

I have a web application online that I hand-coded. All the files involved except the images can fit in 24 KB. This includes the backend code as well, so each frontend page that could be presented is tiny. And still it has a number of features. A standard page online is much larger than my entire application.

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Unhappy

Re: I do wonder...

"It is funny how all of these supposedly creative people all come up with a look and feel for sites that is almost identical."

almost identically *CRAP* design, all 2D FLAT and BRIGHT BLUE ON BLINDING WHITE.

It's like who told these guys THAT was 'good design'? Like who told cashiers to put the coins ON TOP OF THE DOLLAR BILLS and then hand the pile to you... some dim-bulb pretending to be a consultant I guess. And that answers the OTHER question, too.

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Re: I do wonder...

Go a bit further. It's an M$ tool on an M$ platform and the site is hosted on an M$ server. So how much data will they slurp from visitors to the site? Slurp makes money then from the website owner and from visitors. Win! Win!

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Big Brother

Re: I do wonder...

Please don't forget all that empty vertical space that MS loves so much especially when we plebs have to manage with displays that are blessed (sic) with little vertical resolution.

All the easier to hide lots of lovely data slurping code in white on white.

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Meh

Re: I do wonder...

@Bob

Black text on white is the most* familiar to those who grew up using pen and paper.

Blue is easy on the eyes* and a relaxing colour* because you don't want people getting angry navigating your site. Blobs of blue are also easy to spot* on a white background, which is important when the button says "Buy now"

2D flat is the visual style du jou^H^H^H decade

That being said, on any site that will give me the option, I'll have a dark grey background with white text as it's far easier on the eyes.

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Re: I do wonder...

"Like who told cashiers to put the coins ON TOP OF THE DOLLAR BILLS and then hand the pile to you."

Please sir, please sir, I know that one!

When cash registers only added up the sales total, the sales assistant had to work out the change from the money tendered so did a backwards subtraction, ie adding to the sales total until they reached the cash tendered total so started with the smaller values, the coins and ended with the notes(s).

Modern cash registers total up the goods value then the assistant enters the amount of cash tendered and the cash register tells them how much change to give. Given that value, the sale assistant now starts with the highest denomination and works down to the smallest until the total change value is reached.

Yet another chore of daily life we can blame on computers :-)

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Re: I do wonder...

That's an interesting and plausible explanation, but I'm sure the coins-above-notes annoyance isn't limited to change from electronic cash registers. I'd always assumed the reason to be a subconscious fear that the notes might blow away.

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Re: I do wonder...

When I worked behind a till, the reason for me to do it that way was that coins were less likely to fall between fingers and all over the floor if the note is beneath forming an impenetrable layer that holds the coin.

As a customer, it's really not hard to either pull the notes out from underneath, or just turn everything on it's side in your hand and just pick up the notes from next to the coins.

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Re: I do wonder...

I didn't even know until I read it here that coins-over-notes vs notes-over-coins was a thing. Some people are just too fussy. I guess it's like which way do you hang your dunny paper? Some will have religious wars over it, most likely don't even care.

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Re: I do wonder...

"As a customer, it's really not hard to either pull the notes out from underneath, or just turn everything on it's side in your hand and just pick up the notes from next to the coins."

It is when your other hand is holding the goods you just bought :-)

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Re: I do wonder...

"Some people are just too fussy. I guess it's like which way do you hang your dunny paper? Some will have religious wars over it, most likely don't even care."

It should roll from the top over the front and down. Anything else is heresy. BURN THE HERETICS!!!!

(for the real purists, that first sheet should be folded into a point)

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Re: I do wonder...

"(for the real purists, that first sheet should be folded into a point)"

I don't see the point of that.

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Re: I do wonder...

Those identical looking sites are because the websites are based on the same few Bootstrap themes.

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Unhappy

It's getting worse

A few years ago I hand-crafted a website (that I still keep updated) with just simple displays of titles and content lists. It was a basic but presentable display. I was quite pleased it seemed to load as fast, or even faster that similar ones.

Not long ago I was chatting with a couple of guys interested in the same subject, and on showing them what I had, noticed they'd suddenly gone very quiet. It seems they were unused to being able to flick through menus so quickly.

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TRT
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Re: It's getting worse

Web design has fallen victim to fashion. The platform heels, 24" bell bottoms, ripped jeans, chains everywhere phenomenon that sacrifices practicality for looks, form over function. The next big thing will be hexagonal mug shots instead of circular, you watch. Can AI keep up with that?

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Re: It's getting worse

few years ago I hand-crafted a website (that I still keep updated) with just simple displays of titles and content lists.

I started a project to do something like that.

Then after about 60 minutes I said "ahh fuck this" and installed Wordpress.

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Anonymous Coward

The Last One.html

And yet... here we still are.

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Thumb Up

Re: The Last One.html

Have an upvote for remembering 'The Last One'.

You beat me to the comment.

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Re: The Last One.html

Ah, yes, that would be this?

IIRC, PCW published the source code a a version of The Last One which I dutifully typed in, spent ages correcting the typos I'd made, played with for a short while, and was severely underwhelmed after all the hype. As far as I remember, it could create database systems with data entry screens, querying and reporting and that was pretty much it's limits.

In retrospect, it was impressive at the time for what it was I suppose, but still, fairly limited.

I remember something a bit more advanced and very GUI oriented some years later called Black Box which made similar claims and was equally underwhelming, if reasonably decent at what it could actually do as opposed to what the hype implied it could do. Sadly "Black Box", even with some relevant qualifiers seems to be far to generic to search Google for evidence of it's past existence.

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Re: The Last One.html

The Last One was actually the first in a long line of tools that make simple things easy and complicated things impossible.

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The old adage " Bullshit Baffles Brains'

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WTF?

"Evangelizing Everything....."

Why do tech companies keep using the words evangelizing, evangelist, etc. What a pile of horse crap!

Nowadays, IT pisses me off and has become a buzz word bingo; especially anyone using SCRUM, oh Master of Retros - PLEASE.....

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Re: "Evangelizing Everything....."

Literally it means "pleasant message" in Greek. As in euphemism.

The term is obviously just an early version of "telling porkies on social media".

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Unhappy

Crayons

Great, for years I have been saying that the designs I've been forced to work with look like they have been derived from a crayon drawing -- now it may actually be true.

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Oh crap, here we go again

For years, drag-and-drop web page building apps have been capable of much the same thing

And have been uniformly dire. This sort of software has only ever been lauded by people who've never felt any need to look at the source code.

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Facepalm

Optional

So when a client wants to be able to update the text on their website or add a blog post, I should tell them to go learn my job instead of me providing them with a drag and drop facility?

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Re: Oh crap, here we go again

there is a big difference between a web designer, who maps out what the website looks like, how the thing looks and how you navigate, and a web developer who actually implements the design and makes it work.

This is aiming to remove the coding step and have a design automatically made into a site. probably ok for simple prototyping, and low volume low complexity sites, but anything that needs to be a bit more robust, will need a real developer behind it.

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Re: Optional

So when a client wants to be able to update the text on their website or add a blog post, I should tell them to go learn my job instead of me providing them with a drag and drop facility?

You give them some kind of sub-content management thing so they can publish blogs posts and all with start and end dates and all sorts of clever stuff.

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The moment something is automated is the death knell of its attraction. HTML is about to die then. No more crap programs masqueraded as “web” pages. Clap ... clap ... clap. Bring on the direct clients!

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Entity Framework

Having seen the SQL generated by Entity Framework, I can only imagine the hell that this AI will create when it, em, renders a design into a webpage.

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Mushroom

Re: Entity Framework

...and that's efficient and good SQL compared to the mess that "appears" in SharePoint. I'm pretty sure that given the level of unnecessary, snail like complexity everywhere in SharePoint that it's really gaining sentience, most likely as some denizen of hell*, rather than trying to deliver a decidelly half baked document management / workflow / CMS / website builder... thing.

* It's already consumed the souls of anybody that claims to be a SharePoint developer.

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If MS AI is as efficient as MS Office to produce HTML, one can expect bloated web servers and bad rendering with a browser other than Edge.

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I'm wondering how well the AI will deal with "that needs to be half a pixel bigger, and more orangy", "No not orange, more orangy!", and "It looked perfect on my monitor, you ruined it!"? Though I guess given the way this works, that last one would be "back of my half used napkin" rather than "my monitor". How many web sites will we see that include a more orangy smashed avocado stain?

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Long is the time I have been working in web development, and with every year that passes I become more and more isolated from the wider community. Why? I don't use a Mac, I don't grow a beard, I don't buy in to every single brand new framework that's the next big bollocks that's going to make my life easier. I get on with the task at hand, building a website to the clients needs and to deliver the best possible site I can build.

The irony though is that, from my experience, a lot of web designers etc have bought in to AI and home automation. Most of the ones I have encountered have an Alexa or Google thing where they order their Huel, have their iWatches hooked up to their phones ordering Ubers and Deliveroo. Automation, to them, has long been brilliant and a "life saver". Now though that very automation, that very AI they have bought in to and helped make popular, is now starting to take away from their jobs. The very thing they have helped do to high street stores and taxi drivers is happening to them and they don't like it.

Karma's a bitch.

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To contrast that to 1968

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQhVQ1UG6aM

I mean handwriting recognition is not _that_ new.

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Re: To contrast that to 1968

"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQhVQ1UG6aM

I mean handwriting recognition is not _that_ new."

LOL, nice find. That system looked better than some of the stuff being peddled today as The Next Big Thingtm

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To me the idea sounds good

Let the designers design. By designers I mean people who have a clue about visual perception, display of information, the principles of Gestalt, etc. and not those wannabes of the flat-all-is-a-shade-of-sameishness-lets-include-big-irrelevant-pictures-so-we-dont-need-to-show-information that seem to be in charge of most sites...

That said: the implementation will suck. AI is just not intelligent, and if they feed it with the carp code we see on the web today it will spit out carp code.

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Well back in the 1990s...

... designers could just use some graphic piece of software to lay out their forms however they want them to be.

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Mushroom

Just had a horrible thought

The scammers will be all over this like a rash. It will be certain to contain huge swathes of unsanitised scripts, giving them acres of vulnerability to play with.

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Facepalm

Security?

Who's going to be checking the code for exploits? I guess AI will be doing that too ... "AI" is Artificial Intelligence ... when was the last time anyone looked up the full meaning of "Artificial" .... looks good but that's the end of it ... it's not the real thing and never will be.

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Interesting... would it do a responsive framework, can it use Bootstrap/Foundation?

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