Imagine a 5-star app development shop run entirely by robots. You meet with a friendly robot and provide the details of what you want in an app. Then, using it's team of AI developers and AI designers, it hands back real app with a spectacular UX. Except the turn-around time is minutes. Not months.
There does exist a sea of products claiming "build apps without writing code". However, these products all feature the same tired drag-and-drop editors that result in lackluster user experiences after a month or two of work. And so they're used to build dull internal management apps. Not the next AirBnB.
Blank couldn't be more different. It mimics the experience of working with an app development shop as closely as possible. You don't build apps in Blank per se. Instead, you provide the specifics of what the app needs, and Blank designs and develops their app for you.
Building a product that makes the claims of Blank requires an extraordinarily rare mix of skills. At a minimum, the team needs a strong foundation in programming language design, compiler internals, but also the ability to invent highly divergent user interfaces. Furthermore, bringing any experimental product to the masses is deceivingly hard. You need to have done this before.
Our team checks all these boxes. We were the inventors of Stylizer, which was a commerically successful IDE that democratized advanced CSS development. In fact, Stylizer's user interface was so ahead of it's time that we needed to invent our own low-level UI toolkit just to built it.
The portion of an app that runs on the device is called the front-end, but apps also have an invisible back-end that runs on a cluster of servers somewhere. The back-end is used to store data, process payments, and more. Blank back-ends run on a special cluster of servers called a Blank Space. Because Blank is open source, anyone with the resources can setup their own Space and host these back-ends.
Blank apps are built not as a monolithic entities, but as a package of modular features. Most of these features, and the data backing them, are owned by the user that created the app. But apps can also import features and their backing data from other apps. These imported features can then be easily customized, and redistributed back to the rest of the ecosystem. This allows Blank apps to drawfrom an ever-increasing pool of features to incorporate.
It turns out that the vast majority of mobile apps user interfaces and navigational flows can be determined by starting with an information structure, and applying a series of tried-and-true principles to arrive at the optimal design. To some people (mainly UX designers), this sounds pretty boring. But the truth of the matter is that an unimaginative UX is usually a good UX. It's also important to note that “unimaginative” is not the same as “ugly”. Spectacular navigational flows can look horrendous. Horrendous navigational flows can look spectacular.
So unless your app must push the limits of what's possible with UX in order to achieve some lofty goal (such as designing a mobile design tool or a graphical programming language), apps should be designed to function as much like other apps as possible. Anything else will hamper adoption.
Is it just you that wants your app to be slightly different? Or can you show that an alternate UI would create a signficant positive impact? If it's the former, we recommend reconsidering your priorities. If it's the latter, then you need to weigh the benefit of a slightly different UI against the problems with a painstakingly slow and expensive development process. And it's possible that Blank isn't suitable for your use case. We don't claim that it can generate every app ever.
Yes, though we will be releasing the hosted version first. Blank is a technically intense project, therefore to ensure a healthy product roll out we will test first with early users in our hosted platform before releasing open source. We expect the open source version of Blank to be available mid-2019.
Most of our code is written in TypeScript. The front end UI library we're using in generated apps is Fuse, for it's cross-platform capacity and it's unique ability to create beautiful effects. The front end of the editor will be built upon SVG, running inside Electron. The backend is Node.js (using TypeScript). The database we've chosen is the rising star graph database Dgraph. To automate the delivery of apps to the app stores, we're using Fastlane.tools.
The token is used to keep score around resource consumption. Space owners earn token by hosting app back-ends. App owners earn token when other apps utilize their features and data. Customizable smart contracts allow app owners to set a price (or possibly even a reward) for this remote utilization.
Technically it would be possible to acquire a bundle of servers, setup your own Blank Space on them, create an app in the Slate editor, and deploy it to your own private Space. We only recommend this setup for highly sensitive apps (such as in enterprise or defense), because this method comes with significant trade-offs. For starters, running a private Space requires dealing with system administration. It's also expensive to do properly (i.e. to provide adequate backup, redundancy, and scalability). But more importantly, any apps built this way will not be able to cross-polinate with any other app to leverage the value and distribution opportunitities of the broader Blank ecosystem (i.e. such apps will be in “hermit mode”).
We are not doing an ICO. There is no sale of coins or tokens. We are pre-selling the usage of the first Blank Space (which will be run by us), where you can host your Blank app. This is basically a Kickstarter-style crowdfunding campaign, with two differences:
Tokens will be distributed from the Insightful Foundation. All those that participate in the crowdfunding pre-sale are guaranteed to receive tokens as per the allocation chart. You will be added to an airdrop list when you purchase your hosting.
Please be advised that Blank tokens are not for sale. You cannot purchase them. You may register for the general airdrop when it becomes available which will grant you a nominal amount of additional tokens. You may also purchase a larger hosting package for the ability to build more apps, or share the hosting with friends.
Read our technical whitepaper. Note that it assumes a basic knowledge of compiler internals and language design principles.Get the whitepaper
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