Handmade Software is not for Everyone

The world’s best automobiles are made by hand. Their quality testifies to the effectiveness of such a methodical and careful process. Factory-made cars, on the other hand, cannot attain such a high level of craftsmanship. Yet they are cheap, reliable, and safe — good enough for the 99%. Everyone’s happy.

By Ryan Pouncy

The software industry is not so happy.

Today, most software is made by hand. Developers sit at a desk and write code. The flexibility and expressiveness of code gives the developer great power to make virtually any application they can imagine, given sufficient time and money. But that’s the catch — it usually takes a lot of time and money. If you cannot afford either, prepare to sacrifice quality.

It’s often said, “If you want software fast, cheap, and good — pick two.” This is a false dichotomy. Or trichotomy. Either way, the is phenomenon is indicative of market failure. And you should not accept it.

There is a better way.

In order to expand the supply of fast, cheap, and good software, we have to shift our thinking from “people making software” to “software making software”. Skynet be damned. The software industry has languished in the old-fashioned methods of our predecessors for too long.

Don’t get me wrong — the content of the industry gets more exciting by the hour. But our methods are merely building on top of each other in the same direction: empowering the developer. Better tools, better processes, better methods for developers. Who charge high premiums, do a fantastic job, and deliver quickly — but pick two.

So, what is the way forward?

Software can be built by non-developers. Nowadays, you can build a beautiful, cheap website with tools such as Squarespace. No code. No servers. Low complexity. How do they do it? By abstracting away complexity. By providing simple and easy-to-use interfaces. All at a low cost.

So how can we translate this paradigm into the world of software applications? Needless to say, it’s a great challenge. But many of the smart folks in our industry are up to the task. App builders, app creators, whatever this phenomenon will be called — the momentum is bulding. The goal: to enable software creation for the masses.

Join the effort.

If you are interested in helping out, we are looking for contributors of code and content at App Factory. We are an open-source organization whose goal is to create a software authoring tool for the layman.

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