Blank is built on a sub-field of artificial intelligence known as automated reasoning. It turns “I want an app that does X, Y, and Z” into “Here's your newly minted app that does just that”.
And these apps are not clickable prototypes or disposable MVPs. They're beautiful, optimized for an efficient user experience, and can be delivered directly to the app stores, automatically. The kind of apps that would cost $100,000 and 6 months to have built by a team of experts.
Time has come for a departure from current methods involving countless hours infront of whiteboards, graphic design tools, and endless heaps of code.
We've invented a futuristic model where app requirements are specified through a declarative system in a minimalist user interface, that loosely resembles a spreadsheet with formulas.
An automated reasoning engine then determines the app's optimal layout and flow, while still allowing you to retain control over the branding.
Karded was an app that was built by one of our co-founders. It cost $55,000 and took 8 months to build. The app pictured above is the same app, re-created in Blank. It was assembled in 2 hours.
Blank is not a template-driven system. Therefore, the range of apps that it can support is not limited to specific use cases or verticals. It deploys apps on a massively scalable cloud platform with no single point of failure, so apps won’t outgrow it from a scalability standpoint.
Blank covers most use cases outside of those where a highly unique content creation or manipulation interface is a strict necessity. Below are examples of the kinds of apps Blank can and cannot build:
Blank is the dream of anybody who ever had an idea for an app, but didn't have the resources to build it themselves. Although we've made some audacious claims, here's why what we're doing is well within the realm of possible:
For starters, we take the firm and somewhat contrarian belief that turing machines (meaning: computers) cannot perform what we call “acts of creativity”, which we define as:
“reasoning abstractly, by fusing together emotion and logic, especially for the purpose of achieving a loosely-defined goal.”
It's worth noting that acts of creativity cannot be achieved via a sufficiently large data set (it's a monkeys on typewriters problem). And it's true that while app development involves quite a bit of rote implementation, it also involves many acts of creativity. Which is a problem.
But this doesn't mean that there aren't ways to achieve the effects of an act of creativity, using computational methods (calculation or approximation). We know this, because we spent 3 years working through problems in the form of:
“How would we achieve X without an act of creativity? And how could it be done in a way that addresses the widest possible range of use cases, so that an automation tool doesn't end up as a galactic supernova of ad-hoc features?”
It's hard to estimate the number of features that we designed and subsequently scrapped, as progressively better and better techniques presented themselves. Over the course of 3 years, the technical strategy evolved from a simple rules-based system into a full-blown automated reasoning engine.