Formerly known as Wikibon
Close this search box.

App development transformed: Exploring the impact of blockchain on augmented programming

Developer productivity can skyrocket when you have the right people on the right team.

Augmenting that productivity increasingly relies on code generation tools that drive DevOps workflows throughout the development organization. Wikibon refers to these as augmented programming tools, though “automatic programming,” “low code,” “no code” and “robotic process automation” also generally fall under this umbrella.

The common thread through all these approaches is an abstraction layer that allows developers to write the declarative business logic behind web, mobile and other applications, which is then translated by tools into procedural programming code. Increasingly, they all rely on machine learning to drive more automated code generation within DevOps workflows. And just as blockchain is coming to other technology sectors, Wikibon is already seeing signs that blockchain also may soon reshape how distributed development teams manage augmented programming projects.

A no-code startup, 8baserecently announced a solution, still in beta, that leverages open blockchain platforms to help programmers to collaborate on development and deployment of new applications. The company uses machine learning to autogenerate application code that is declaratively specified in a visual front-end tool. Developers collaborate around a common repository of code, data and models persisted to a blockchain. The environment is agnostic about the underlying blockchain environment, giving developers a choice of whether to run on top of public (aka “permissionless”) or private (aka “permissioned”) blockchains.

In 8base’s architecture, the key developer productivity feature is reputation management, and this too leverages blockchain. Within the 8base development interface, users create profiles and the environment assigns them a peer-review-driven reputation score, an immutable record that is stored in blockchain. As their peers rate their code builds, the 8base ecosystem rewards them through a type of blockchain-based cryptocurrency called “Piece of Eight tokens,” which provide an incentive to create code that peer developers might want to reuse.

Reputation scores may be referenced by other developers when deciding to engage someone else’s existing blockchain-persisted code modules or engage them in new coding work over the 8base ecosystem. If a developer requires application code that’s missing from one of their own builds, it can be requested by posting a token-denominated “bounty” that’s registered in the blockchain. If developers accept a bounty and thereby choose to respond to a peer’s request, those relationships are mediated through smart contracts that are also stored in the blockchain.

To the extent that enterprise apply these tools across multiple development projects or application domains, augmented programming will become a collaborative tool that, like many other distributed environments, will increasingly incorporate blockchain as a distributed record of code builds, metadata and other development artifacts. Before long, blockchain may in fact become the source-code repository of DevOps’ continuous code integration, deployment and governance associated with auto-generated application code.

It will be fascinating to see the extent to which developers adopt 8base and what are sure to be other blockchain-based development environments, both open-source and commercial. And as these coders join forces with data scientists and others building machine learning and artificial intelligence applications, Wikibon expects to see these sort of blockchain-based DevOps environments converge with the following initiatives:

  • Blockchain as an AI compute-brokering backbone: The Cortexblockchain allows users to submit bids, in the form of AI smart contracts for running AI algorithms in a distributed, trusted on-demand neural-net grid. Meanwhile, the Deep Brain Chainuses a blockchain-based cryptocurrency mining environment as a private compute-brokering platform for communities of AI developers. The currency’s token is used to bid for compute resources and being earn you serve those resources to others.
  • Blockchain as a decentralized AI training-data exchange: Ocean Protocolis using blockchain to build a decentralized exchange for AI training data across all industries, while IoTeX has built a blockchain for sharing IoT data and DX Network’s blockchain aggregates structured data about companies, investors and industry news.
  • Blockchain as an AI pipeline integration bus: SingularityNET’s blockchain supports a global networking protocol for communication among distributed AI algorithms and models, with plansto support cross-domain AI data access, curation and publishing scenarios.
  • Blockchain as an AI audit log: Botchainhas defined an open-source hyperledger that tracks the identities and actions of AI-based entities, enabling every AI component can write regular hash functions of their activity to a blockchain that is immutable and introspectible.
  • Blockchain as an AI data lake: Many AI professionals are exploring blockchain as the hyperledger storage foundation of future data lakes, though adoption of the technology for this purpose is embryonic at best.

As they converge and gain adoption, the democratizing effect of all these blockchain initiatives on the developer ecosystem will be huge. As 8base founder and Chief Executive Albert Santalo recently told SiliconANGLE co-CEO John Furrier on theCUBE at Blockchain Unbound 2018:

  • “Data science was hard to access, expensive to access, only a few people in the world really could do it, and then these layers of abstractions have facilitated a much wider group of people being able to do it. So that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re at the same time bringing the development of software closer to where the requirements live because literally, the people defining the requirements can develop their own software. So what you’re going to see is a rollout of blockchain and nonblockchain software just accelerated and put into the hands of more people, which strikes at the heart of digital transformation. We’ve all heard about this theme digital transformation. [If] businesses don’t evolve and adopt blockchain, AI, all these other things, they have a threat of being put of business.”

Book A Briefing

Fill out the form , and our team will be in touch shortly.
Skip to content