Innovators are working tirelessly to develop tools that enhance the way people live, thereby increasing productivity in all areas of life. These tools range from simple handheld tools used in various homes to the heavy duty equipment we have in many companies. These Automating tools enhance our level of creativity and the output generated (Improve productivity). The more we get, the more we asked for, and so the circle spins on.
|Image credit: Comm Labi India|
The software developers too aren’t left out of what I see as project ‘Automate the World’. Software developers are rolling out software that make development of application software an easy task for programmers. With these software, many can develop quality software with less coding skills.
Many of this software are deployed in all areas of programming ranging from Web programming to Desktop applications development and phone apps, most of these application specific software are referred to as “What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG)”. Authoring is the process of creating, updating and managing software applications using automated software.
Authoring Tools (Software)
Authoring Tools are software that allow (usually non-programmer) users to create their own courseware, web page, or multimedia applications and the associated navigating tools with ease. It usually enable you to create a final application merely by linking together objects, such as a paragraph of text, an illustration, or a song. Most authoring tools encourage drag and drop to build software without being a programmer. This tool cut across every computing platforms, they enable users to take their destinies into their own hands.
Authoring language – software that can be used to develop interactive computer programs without the technically demanding task of computer programming.
Areas where Authoring Tools are Deployed
Authoring tools are deployed and used in various computing arenas, the following are few areas where Authoring Tools are used:
– Web Development
– Applications Development
– Education (E-Learning)
– E-commerce Systems
– Artificial Intelligence
– Content Publishing
– Marketing etc
How Authoring Tools work
With authoring tools, a developer can develop a whole application saving more time than when coding with hand using text editors. Most authoring tools have made application development across all platforms a very easy task that you don’t need the help of an expert in programming to do all the work for you. One area where authoring tools are making wave is in the web programming.
One can build a highly functioning and interacting website within few hours using tools deployed for building website, either using Web or Internet based (Online) web authoring tools or Computer based (offline) web authoring tools. For programmers, authoring tools are like catalyst because they speed up the rate of application development, and deployment are made easy.
Authoring tools are designed to function like other user application software that the user work majorly with the User Interface (UI) to develop any application he wishes to develop.
Authoring tools provide the users with what they need to develop full fledged applications, all user have to do is to select from the list of rich tools provided in the software menu just by selecting, dragging and dropping the needed object unto the working interface. The authoring tool will generate the needed code automatically for the user, these codes can be reused over and over again – support for reuserability.
You can work just by using the design view, code view or split view – these make many multi-functional, they can work as text editors in code view or mode, as GUI based in design mode or both in split mode. Also, with authoring tools you can edit complex applications that you wouldn’t be a able to build on your own on a normal ground. Apart from the drag and drop features the authoring tools provide, they made compilation of the developed application easy and also the deployment.
Many authoring tools are developed conforming to certain Software Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines are put in place to protect the interest of every software user including users that are physically challenged (i.e users with disabilities).
Importance of Authoring Tools
1. They made development of applications easy and durable.
2. They are time savers – they save the duration of time a developer needs to develop applications.
3. Anyone can develop applications without adequate programming skills.
4. Authoring tools make compilation and the deployment of developed applications easy – you don’t have to worry about the program extension to use.
5. Authoring tools provide users with rich work environment – users work majorly using design view.
6. Most authoring tools provide wide range of accessibility which you wouldn’t get using just simple text editors.
7. They are cost effective and very robust
8. Many authoring tools are cross-platform (they work across many platforms)
9. They reduce errors with the Spelling check and Code inspection features integrated with the IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
10. Authoring Tools aid programming portability.
List of 15 authoring tools
The list below provides you with 5o authoring tools in no particular order
1. Microsoft WebMatrix: WebMatrix is a free and lightweight web Development tool designed to ease the creation, publishing and maintenance of website.
2. Microsoft Visual Studio: Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. It is used to develop computer programs for Microsoft Windows, as well as web sites, web applications and web services. Visual Studio uses Microsoft software development platforms such as Windows API, Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Store and Microsoft Silverlight. It can produce both native code and managed code.
3. Adobe Muse: Adobe Muse is a product by Adobe Systems. The software is focused on allowing designers to create websites without having to write any code. This app is available through Adobe Creative Cloud.
4. Adobe Dreamweaver: Is a web development tool designed to ease website creation, the development has passed through several development stages. The current version is Adobe Dreamweaver Creative Cloud 2014 included with the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.
6. MonoDevelop: MonoDevelop is a cross-platform IDE primarily designed for C# and other .NET languages. MonoDevelop enables developers to quickly write desktop and ASP.NET Web applications on Linux, Windows and Mac OSX. MonoDevelop makes it easy for to port .NET applications created with Visual Studio to Linux and Mac OSX maintaining a single code base for all platforms.
7. WAMP Server: WampServer is a Windows web development environment. It allows you to create web applications with Apache2, PHP and a MySQL database. Alongside, PhpMyAdmin allows you to manage easily your databases.
8. Adobe Flash Professional: Adobe flash is graphics and animation software originally developed by Macromedia now owned by Adobe, it provides designer with a friendly and easy to use GUI (Graphical User Interface) that makes design and animation easy. It is used in multimedia environment, it can also be used to create flash website.
9. Easygenerator: Easygenerator provides cloud-based eLearning authoring software. Easygenerator enables instructional designers and subject matter experts to rapidly create the most engaging courses that have the highest learning impact. Easygenerator is affordable, easy to use, and future proof. Simply create, design and publish your eLearning courses.
10. Microsoft Learning Content Development System (LCDS): is a free tool that enables the Microsoft Learning community to create high-quality, interactive, online courses and Microsoft Silverlight Learning Snacks.
11. SmartBuilder: SmartBuilder is the award-winning course authoring tool that enables you to create rich Flash e-learning with an easy-to-use interface.
12. Adobe Captivte: an e-learning authoring tool developed by Adobe to ease creation of coursewares for organizations.
13. OpenNN (Neural Network): OpenNN (Open Neural Networks Library) is a software library written in the C++ programming language which implements neural networks. The library is open source, hosted at SourceForge and licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License. OpenNN was formerly known as Flood.
14. T-World: an open-source, cross programming language Web platform for Artificial Intelligence research and education based on the book Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, developed by the National University of San Luis (Argentina).
15. Hash Animation Master: is a 3D character animation application offered by Hash, Inc. that includes tools for modeling, rigging, animating, texturing, lighting and rendering. Although Animation:Master was developed for and is targeted towards independent artists, with a workflow optimized to enable one artist to create a rendered animated piece from start to finish, the workflow also presents economic advantages for larger workgroups.