Monday, September 24, 2012

IfWizard for iPad and OS X Sent to Apple

We are very happy to announce that we have completed IfWizard, a powerful new application for turning your knowledge into interactive programs and websites using patent-pending improvements in the field of knowledge engineering. Knowledge engineering is creating, managing, and using human knowledge with technology and forms a modern approach to expert systems and similar artificial intelligence tools.

Expert systems have their roots in the 1960s and generated enthusiastic interest into the 1980s as the idea of converting human knowledge into functional computer systems held great attraction for many fields of study. However, creating expert systems required a great deal of technical skill and often required tools that were more complex than general purpose programming languages. This complexity barrier prevented lay people from creating expert systems, limiting their creation and, therefore, use.

IfWizard is a dramatic change from the text-based systems of the past, allowing normal computer users to easily build interactive knowledge-based systems (wizards) using a completely visual approach. A wizard is built by making pages of knowledge that can have interactivity for entering information such as a person's age and navigating to other pages. Using plain english with a visual interface, you can add simple true-false tests to make decisions about what page to show or what actions to perform.

Our patent covers improvements to the flexibility and simplicity of our editor and how we actually model knowledge itself. Indeed, IfWizard is unique in how easily and quickly you can create interactive experts, quizzes, games, and troubleshooters. If you know the subject, you can turn your knowledge into a program or interactive website. For more advanced users, wizards you build can be extended to change the visual style, call your own custom scripts, or integrate them with other programs.

When I started programming in the 80s, I really believed in the vision of normal computer users being able to create their own applications. In those days, most computers came with a programming language called BASIC and there were many books and magazines to help ordinary users make handy programs. As time went on, there was a shift away from lay users programming to it being something that was only for "professionals" to do. I've been happy seeing this shift a little back towards a more popular activity in recent years, but tools and techniques for developing programs remain very complex and often difficult to use.

IfWizard is a real game changer. First, it makes it very easy to create useful wizards. Second, it contains the easiest and fastest way I've ever seen to make a complete standalone application. You literally just press one button to export your wizard to a Windows or Mac OS X application and, voilĂ , it's ready! And, third, the websites and applications you make are completely free to use, share, and sell without any restrictions, fees, or additional licensing. You made the wizard, you own the resulting program or website.

It's true that making some programs does require years and years of software engineering experience. But, if you can take your unique knowledge and turn it into a interactive tool, that's also a valuable product that deserves to see the light of day!

I think of it like writing. Yes, there's fine literature written by professional writers who apply years and years of experience in crafting sentences. But, many of the most useful books available aren't written by professional writers at all. They're written by experts in their field whether politics, science, medicine, humor, parenting, and so on.

IfWizard is made to do the same thing for computer interactivity. IfWizard is all about people with extraordinary knowledge expressing it with the power, interest, and audience that computer applications offer. That's why I'm so excited about it; it's a step forward in bringing that vision of popular programming to life!

We have two versions of IfWizard available. For Mac OS X, there's IfWizard Professional and it has everything you need to create standalone applications for OS X and Windows. For Apple iPads, there is IfWizard Touch, which includes most of the functionality of IfWizard Professional but just exports websites. You can learn more about IfWizard by visiting

We've submitted both apps to Apple's Mac App Store and iOS App Store respectively. It can take a few weeks for approval; indeed, we're still waiting for Skim Clip 1.1 and Oh Behave to be approved. In the mean time, we'll be adding instructional materials for IfWizard and beginning work on our next app, a program to help you read and understand information faster than ever before.

If you'd like more information or are interested in a review copy, educational discounts, or volume licensing for organizations, please contact us. We have some very big things planned for IfWizard as time goes on and, as usual, are very interested and open in hearing from you what would make it even better. Thanks so much for reading this and please do purchase IfWizard when it becomes available. Have a great day!



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