Does 10x faster development dumb down programming?

If you’re in the business of reviewing software application development news, which coincidentally I am, then tenfold programming productivity claims tend to either raise my eyebrows or raise my hackles in equal measure.Software development company Runtime Revolution Ltd has this week introduced its Revolution 4.

If you’re in the business of reviewing software application development news, which coincidentally I am, then tenfold programming productivity claims tend to either raise my eyebrows or raise my hackles in equal measure.

Software development company Runtime Revolution Ltd has this week introduced its Revolution 4.0 product for application and web development – and it’s available in a free version too.

This outfit doesn’t seem to mess about when it comes to making big claims. The company’s product uses an English syntax that requires (and I quote) ‘90-per cent less code than traditional languages’. I suppose that adds up, 90 per cent less code equates to ten times faster. But it is of any substance?

Runtime Revolution says that its Rev programming language descends from natural-language technologies such as Apple’s HyperCard and, “Empowers people who would never have attempted programming to create successful applications,” and that this, ”Enables software construction for everyone.”

Oooh, sounds dangerous doesn’t it? Surely not everyone has the mind of a software programmer and the algorithmic logic that the application developer has command of is the foundation of the creativity and power that they themselves wield.

Of course I’m being deliberately difficult here, there are instances in modern business when a simple application may be all that’s needed and hiring a full-blown development professional might be out of budgetary limits. Further, there are arguments for creating customised tools inside the business by the people that will use them. I know these arguments will not water with requirements management gurus who already have a hard enough time getting customers to calm down and stop asking for stupid functionalities, but there you go.

“The last two years have seen the most impressive growth in our business, pointing to a correlation between a tough global economy and the resourcefulness of professionals who need to do more with less,” said Kevin Miller, RunRev CEO.

One might reasonably hope that this product inspires students in the appropriate way and gets them more interested in programming. If they can see real functionality happening sooner rather than later, then this may be the case. It does however jar with the fact that computer science students have been happy to chip away at the command line for most of the last half century keen to learn their trade from scratch.

Anyway, should you wish to try it Rev 4.0 is offered in three editions: the free revMedia edition, the revStudio edition which features 100 additional commands and keywords for professional functionality and revEnterprise with its enhanced security features.