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The developers where I work are rather underwhelmed by the Word specification which can be output from Axure. They asked whether it could produce usable code that could be built upon.

I have a kind of natural gut-feeling that this might not be a good idea, but is there any genuine reason why this should not be done? Or is it simply that working with a tool like Axure a competent user can come up with something much quicker than by, say, using Expression Blend or something similar?

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I've started using Axure as a way of creating individual work items that can be imported into VS (or whatever work item tracker you're using). If you fully annotate the wireframes detailing exactly what each item on there is then you can export the whole spec as a CSV instead and then import those items into whatever work tracker you're using. This isn't reusable code as-such, so isn't an answer to your question, but it does show another way of using Axure that may be of use to you. –  JonW Apr 16 '12 at 13:56
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2 Answers 2

Tools like Axure aren't intended to produce usable code. They support an "export to HTML" feature simply so that you can display your wireframes in a browser, which makes it easy to share them. It's a mistake to build upon that code, because writing production-ready code is a completely separate paradigm to just having your wireframing tool export some for you.

I would explaining to your developers that the purpose of wireframing and prototyping is testing: you are trying to prove or disprove a hypothesis about how something works so that you can iterate and improve upon your work. Additionally, explain to them that wireframes serve as a communication tool - not as a functional specification or model upon which to continue development.

The actual programming of production-ready code is a separate process which has its own priorities, such as semantic HTML and scalability. Developers should start a separate development branch focused on those efforts.

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I think if Axure would be able to create working, clean, logical code, it would be much more expensive and could save significant working hours for IT companies.

On the other hand there should be some private solutions for code generation, because tons of companies are trying to generat working code from one single input (for example XML).

For example with Workxpress you can generate fully functional administration programs.

But currently I don't know of any service which has pofessional built in code generation functionality. But I'm curious if it is possible? and if there is an existing solution for this problem?

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