Microsoft Garage’s experimental ‘Ink to Code’ project can turn sketches into app prototypes


Most of us have probably used napkins, post-it notes or other small scraps of paper to sketch out our product ideas at least once in our lives. Ordinarily, nothing comes from them but if any of those ideas happened to involve apps, Microsoft might have something to help you turn those ideas into a reality.

A group of interns working in Microsoft’s experimental ‘Garage’ division began working on a new project last year, dubbed “Ink to Code.” As the name suggests, the project aims to let you turn your sketched app ideas into quickly-assembled prototypes, coded behind the scenes automatically. Naturally, the project won’t actually be able to use real life napkin drawings – you’ll need to digitally sketch your idea within the program for Ink to Code to recognize it.

The current Ink to Code prototype supports “basic app visual elements” including text fields, paragraphs, images, buttons and labels. The project’s developers acknowledge their software’s currently-limited scale but say it could “significantly [cut] down on creating the foundation of [an app] with the power of automation” in the future.

The Ink to Code team is hoping to get some feedback from fellow designers and developers regarding the future of the project. “Our goal is to hear from a wide variety of app creators, so we know what people like most and what we should add,” said Alex Corrado, Senior Software Engineer on the project’s sponsoring Xamarin design team.

If you’re willing to look past the app’s unfinished state, US and Canada-based residents will soon be able to download Ink to Code from the Microsoft Store.


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