Visual Scripting brings AR app creation to non-coder masses

Apps are the engine driving AR adoption. New tools to help non-coders will be the fuel.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer

Tired of hearing about Augmented Reality? Got some bad news for you.

AR is going to be increasingly visible across the tech universe. The cover story in the latest issue of WIRED is all about mirror world, a digital copy of the real world that will power Augmented Reality applications. The technical name for "mirror world" is the AR Cloud, and amid fights over who controls it and elegant futurist predictions about its impact relative to other paradigm shifters like the Internet, one thing is clear: Augmented Reality is finally being recognized as the game changer it will be, and that recognition is breaking out of siloed specialist circles and into mainstream tech consciousness.

Also: 11 upcoming AR trends that will redefine technology

Apps will be the engine driving AR adoption for consumers and enterprise, and new tools lowering the barrier to entry to app creation for non-coders may be the shot of nitrous AR technology needs to break out of its awkward infancy.

An Israeli company called WakingApp is adding visual scripting to its AR design studio. Visual scripting enables app creation with drag-and-drop nodes, which are then converted into coded design. That makes app creation relatively straightforward and should spur a wave of creativity in app design.

WakingApp isn't the first AR studio to offer visual scripting. Facebook's Spark AR offers visual programming, for example. Still, it surprises me that more AR app toolsets don't offer visual scripting for designers. Game engines like uScript for Unity and Blueprints from Unreal have long used node-based visual programming. The idea is that the basic building blocks of game logic are fairly standard, and by converting nodes into actual virtual blocks, game design becomes much easier for non-coders.

Likely more visual scripting capabilities for AR app creation on the way. Matan Libis, CEO of WakingApp, tells me the first impact of a designer-friendly AR studio is likely to be in enterprise. Companies with deep pockets are starting to see the efficiencies associated with developing in-house AR applications for employees.

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"As executives at major brands and companies realize the enormous potential around AR capabilities and start to to leverage the technology throughout their organizations, from marketing campaigns to training within HR, there is a need now, more than ever, for intuitive solutions that enable AR creation by all individuals, as opposed to only those who know how to code," says Libis. "We designed this new visual scripting feature to empower both advanced programmers and non-coders alike so they can rapidly create captivating AR scenes that can integrate with existing apps or act as standalone apps."

WakingApp's native API will remain accessible to coders through the use of JavaScript. But the company hopes its new visual scripting will empower more designers to add AR features into existing mobile apps and inspire the creation of new apps.

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