In the first of what I hope are many project spotlights, I recorded an interview with Mahmoud Fayed, the lead developer of the Programming Without Coding Technology project. Here’s the audio, as well as a transcript of that conversation.
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Today I spoke with Mahmoud Fayed, of the Programming Without Coding Technology project, which is a visual programming languages framework. Mahmoud is the lead developer on that project, and I spoke with him about the origins and purpose of this project, and how one might get involved. So, without further introduction, here’s my conversation with Mahmoud.
Rich: First of all, thank you for speaking with me.
Mahmoud: Thank you very much. I’m happy to talk with you about the project. Giving the chance to developers to promote their project is a very good idea. Thank you.
R: Tell me a little about what your project does and how you got started.
M: The idea of my project is to present programming to every computer users, whether they are beginners or professionals. Beginners means that the tools of programming must be accessible – must be easy. So I decided to take coding out of programming.
And presenting programming to professional developers requires a tool that is productive and unlimited and can be extended.
With respect to how I started my project, six years ago I decided to achieve my goal, so I started with research, and introducing new ideas. Then I tested my ideas through implementation. After implementing ideas I can decide if it is a good idea or not. Most of my ideas were perfect, and the prototype of the project was ready to use, and I had achieved my first goal.
R: What other products in the market are comparable to what you are doing?
M: The domain of the problem is called “Visual Programming Languages.” There are many projects in this domain, but most of these languages are domain-specific languages that are used in education. For example, there is Alice and Scratch.
But with respect to general-purpose visual programming languages, there are few of them. There is Limnor and Tersus. But most of these languages use the drag-and-drop method. I am presenting a new method that can replace text-based languages as a practical option so we can forget coding in text languages forever.
R: Can you give me an example of how someone is using your product to create something.
M: I have many users. Some of them are using my software to create presentations and education software. Many users are using the software for business applications. At my side I have used the software to create a new programming language as a proof that the technology is productive and powerful and unlimited. This language is called the Supernova programming language, and it is a free, Open Source project hosted on Sourceforge. So the software can be used in many different applications.
R: If someone wanted to get involved in your project, what types of openings are there for additional developers.
M: I accept contribution at different levels, starting with testing the software and reporting bugs, then moving to creating and hosting some builds, tutorials, and movies. Also the contribution could be creating a new visual programming language that works inside our environment. Because the PWCT is a framework that can be used for creating new visual programming languages. The project itself comes with more than one language. We have four visual programming languages, and the system can be extended by the user to develop new visual languages. And this will be the most useful contribution, because we need to support most of the available programming languages.
R: What do you have planned for future versions? Is supporting other languages one of your main goals for that?
M: The next version will be in one year from now. It will be multi-platform, with support for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh. I also have plans to support web applications and mobile application, so we can have a platform that is ready to be compared to the most famous platforms available for developing new software.
R: How much time would you estimate that you put into this particular project.
M: I work on this project most of my time. Starting about six years ago, I was a student. So I had to balance my time between studying and the project. So at that time, I was working four hours per day. Now I work at least six hours per day on the project. If I continue to develop at this rate, in the future we will not need to create programs by coding at all. Because the Programming Without Coding Technology is equivalent to writing the code. For the professional programmers also, because when we use PWCT, we are using a method that is fully equivalent to coding by hand, but without coding. This method is called Coding Simulation Method. Using the Coding Simulation Method, the developer can develop any software with the same power as coding, and can work faster using keyboard shortcuts. For example, a simple “Hello World” console application can be created using PWCT faster than using other languages. So I think that the future is for visual proramming, and it is very soon. We are going to move away from text-based languages in the next five years. If big companies supported this project and started to create similar projects based on the same ideas, I think that we can say good bye to the text-based languages in the very near future.
R: Thank you very much for speaking with me.
M: You’re welcome. Thank you very much.