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Zero Boilerplate

Is the future of code letting AI do most of the work? Is it allowing “the cloud” decide what to write next? Who knows. Maybe. I hope not.

By Jared White

Some say AI-powered code editors are “the future” of software development. I tend to believe there’s another path. A smarter path.

Imagine this: what if the future of code is zero boilerplate…because of incredibly expressive syntax which enables you to accomplish tremendous things in just a few lines. I honestly don’t want a bunch of visual noise in the form of boilerplate simply dumped into to my project to keep the computer happy, courtesy of an AI. I hate boilerplate! Instead, I want a cleverer programming language. I want a smarter development environment. So then I don’t need an AI sidekick in my editor, do I? Because the actual computer itself would be way more adept at interpreting my code.

Here’s the fundamental issue I have. Why would I want an AI to write my code for me? I love writing code! Similarly, why would I want an AI to play the piano for me, or write a book for me, or edit a vlog episode for me? It makes no sense.

Instead, here’s what I’d want an AI to do for me:

In other words, I don’t need help from an AI to perform the core of what I do as a creative individual. I need help with all the other crap I don’t want to deal with on a daily basis! 😅

“Code by AI” as a developer tool just feels like a cop-out to me. As in, here we are in the year 2022 and we’ve all just resigned ourselves to the notion that programming kinda sucks a lot of the time, so might as well let our code editors inform us what we need to do. Cue the 90s Dilbertian slogans! Work smarter, not harder! Save time AND money! We don’t just sell software, we sell solutions!

I hate to break it to you, but brute-force “efficiency” has never mattered to me as a programmer. Happiness matters. A sense of accomplishment matters. Creativity and ingenuity matters. Craft matters. And I’m the most satisfied when I’m using tools which seem engineered from the ground up to make programmers happier. Elegant tools. Zen tools. Such tools don’t need AIs to write all the boilerplate for humans. They can simply jettison the boilerplate in the first place. Gone baby gone.

That’s the future I’m looking forward to.

And I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

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