Tools like SketchApp, Invision and Principle for mac seem to be closing the gaps towards a complete interface design solution that is able to handle static visuals, page linking and animation without having to touch any code.

I imagine the next step for Sketch is to auto-generate HTML & CSS based on designs. Then creating libraries of repeatable components "symbols" in Sketch would be like creating a frontend framework (such as bootstrap). These components can be linked to other components and pages (Artboards) via 'Princple for macs' drag and drop style tool to handle the interaction.

Instead of leaving this question open to any time in the future I would like to narrow it down to a specific date. So is it likely that these tools will replace any need for frontend development in the next 5 years?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Shreyas Tripathy, Midas, Andrew Martin, locationunknown, Charles Wesley Oct 9 '17 at 14:59

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  • I don't think Sketch or any similar tool can replace front-end for years to come. These tools cannot and will not create optimized code, add browser support or integrate back-end. Within 5 years? Definitely not. Within 20? Maybe, technology does move fast. – Wanda Oct 9 '17 at 9:38
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    I don't think there is any reason to believe that these programs will not be able to produce optimised code in a couple of years time. Tools like protoship are already doing it. protoship.io/tools.html – David Saunders Oct 9 '17 at 9:42

These tools are not really replacing frontend development, they are just aimed at a different audience, as they work in a different way.

Just progress, really. I remember doing frontend "development" in Notepad initially, but pretty quickly new and better tools became available and this trend is likely to continue.

As an aside, this reminds me of the perennial debate about "magic" tools that allow business users to create their own applications, without developers. Inevitably, this will happen, if Teslar's Law can be dealt with, but there's no real magic involved. It's just evolution. End of aside.

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