Will Software Ever Make Us Redundant?


I just wanted to put something to you which has been a concern of mine for a while (WARNING: doom and gloom from Matt coming up... Any who have heart conditions may want to stop reading...).

What I want to ask you all is this; will software ever catch up those of us who code from scratch? The main reasons our jobs are safe at the moment is simply because:

1) The current 'website building software' is not very good. Dreamweaver and Front Page are ok, but still don’t seem to have got it right with terribly messy code, poor accessibility considerations and cross browser bugs.
2) We can use our ‘web developer’ intellects to problem solve these issues or, if you’re like me and you got so fed up with these programmes you code from scratch.

What would happen, fellow developers, if a piece of software came along which was about easy to use, taking coding out of the way and simply allowing the user to design his sight from a visual perspective. What if it did all doing all the coding for him (or her if we are being PC – don’t shoot me girls)? What if the code, which this masterful piece of software chucked out, was accessible and worked across browsers. What if this super piece of software made it easy to work with databases and MYSQL, using a slick desktop interface to allow you to make decisions and develop a site without ANY knowledge of HTML CSS, PHP, ASP or whatever. Is this possible? Surely it is. I’m sure there are probably some boffins working on it right now.

If ever such a piece of software was developed suddenly our jobs might be a little less secure than they are now. The emphasis would go back to the visual side of things. Those of us with print and marketing skills will be ok but the industry which is the web might suffer.

What Goes Around Comes Around

If you think this is impossible consider what happened in the print world. The only people who could print things were those who knew how to use the early printing presses. They did the designs, they were the developers (like web developers today). Then computers and software came along which left a lot of these printers out of work – no more a need for typesetters and machine workers (apart from on the maintenance and set up side of things – I’m talking design here). I couldn’t work a printing press but I can develop and artwork up a brochure for print. What if this happens to web? The developers getting there hands dirty with code will get left by the wayside and their only use will be set up and maintenance. These two things unlike print can be done with software also so I doubt if they will even be left to do!

So what I’m saying is simply this. Enjoy it while it lasts. Continue to learn new things and try and develop skills which software cannot do – eg, marketing tactics, branding, creativity etc.

Does anybody else have these views. Have I got it wrong. Maybe it is impossible for software to get that advanced, share your views below...

I hope I haven't pushed anyone over the edge with this! Stay with us and vent your views below!

Comments

I'd say eventually programs like Dreamweaver, Frontpage and GoLive will come to a point where they will create valid, accessible, standards based markup, will be able to WYSIWYG their way through RoR, PHP, MySQL, ASP, Perl, Python, etc and do it quickly (you'll notice Dreamweaver lags a wee bit if you've got a huge site cached) and look good doing it. But I suspect that's a long way off. Adobe release a new suite every few years without any huge upgrades in between. Until that day, I'll be happy hand coding. I'll also be happy knowing that I can code by hand and all these new web developers can't.

Well, printers aren't maybe the best example. Sure, there are lots of people calling themselves graphic designers who know how to open a quark file, but those people are regularly cursed by your average pre-press tech who routinely has to redo "camera-ready" layouts and artwork done by people who have no working knowledge of the mechanical side of printing. I know because that used to be part of my job, redoing all the supposedly camera-ready stuff submitted to the paper I was working at. Making something look pretty in Photoshop doesn't equate to being able to make something look just as good coming off the press. Instead of replacing hand coders (that's also me), I forsee us becoming the disgruntled support person working for the webhost who has to fix all the crappy code created by people who think they can create websites because they know how to open Dreamweaver.

Oh wait, that's already part of the job...