Isn’t this just scaffolding/code generation?

No. Code generation is very useful in the early stages of a project, but rarely after that. This is because code generators overwrite any changes not made by the code generator. As soon as functionality beyond simple scaffolding has been implemented, the code generator can no longer be used.

Sometimes there are workarounds, but either the coder or the no-code developer must compromise and work in a very limiting environment.

Our platform is bidirectional, which means we do not blindly overwrite unfamiliar changes. Instead, our platform reads the code first. Any code that it understands becomes editable. Code it does not understand is carefully left in place.

What does that look like in practice?

Alex, a designer, uses the Snooty Builder to make a bookstore web shop. He creates an entity for books. This automatically includes a database table, forms for creating and editing books, and a page with an overview of all books.

At this point, Alex wants to add an integration with Good Reads to automatically include their rating for each book. This feature is rather complex and easier done by a developer. So he asks Naomi, a Ruby on Rails developer, to help out.

Naomi adds a rating field to the books table using a Rails database migration. She also adds some code to the Book model to fetch the ratings from Good Reads and store them in the table.

Finally she commits her changes to git.

Now Alex wants to add a selection filter for book genres. Using Snooty Builder, he can add an additional field to the model and book overview page, while leaving Naomi’s code in place.

How come nobody else is doing this?

We spent years developing tooling to edit source code programmatically. As a result, we can now very quickly build a bidirectional no-code platform. However, without access to our tooling, it would be very hard to build it bidirectionally. You would likely have to choose to build a conventional no-code platform instead.

Are you going to open source any of the underlying tooling?

Right now we’re focussed on the core product, but hopefully one day, yes.

Will Snooty Builder really understand any code I throw at it?

Of course not! If it did, it would be smarter than humans! But when it doesn’t understand something, it tries very hard to stay out of your way. We have also designed the platform to be extensible and easily modified. We can quickly add any misunderstood code paradigm we frequently encounter.

Don’t believe it? We used the same logic and tooling to build Textractor, a service that automatically prepares ERB templates for translation. Try the interactive demo to see just how resilient this approach is. In the future we will make an interactive demo of Snooty Builder available as well.

Eventually we want you to be able to extend the platform with your own code paradigms, without needing our help. Once we know the most common use cases, we can determine the best strategy to realize this goal.

What about pricing?

We’re still working on setting the right prices. That said, there will almost certainly be a monthly fee for access to the builder. Prices for hosting the generated application will be comparable to managed hosting providers such as Heroku.

Why Ruby? Why Rails? Why web development?

We decided to use Ruby because we’re intimately familiar with the language. We chose Rails (and web development in general) because it’s the domain we are most experienced in. That said, we could use the same techniques in just about any language, framework, and domain.

Do you support workflows? What about validations and integrations?

This and much more is on our roadmap. If you need a specific feature, please let us know!