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How good is ChatGPT at programming on its own?

November 24, 2023

There is a reason why ChatGPT works best in tandem with no-code platforms like Directual. Take a dive into its intricacies and learn why it is what it is, and how it can be more.

New tech like stem cells, self-driving cars, or AI—yep, they’re a mixed bag. They get us excited, but also freak us out. We have to change how we think, make new rules, and hope we don’t mess things up too badly. AI, especially, is a double-edged sword. It could either make us obsolete or make our lives a lot easier.

This article will take you through the difference of using ChatGPT programming as opposed to low-code/no-code tools, as well as the mix of both.

Programming with just ChatGPT 

As we have learned, ChatGPT serves as a handy tool for churning out code snippets, sample code, and even working code, all expressed in conversational programming. This acceleration in the pre-editing phase offers a sturdy framework, giving you the freedom to tailor the specifics of your project with ease.

You can ask project-related questions and receive immediate feedback, right from the software itself. This feature adds a new layer of convenience, ensuring you have all the information you need at your fingertips.

What is it good for?

Alright, let's cut through the jargon and talk straight—ChatGPT programming is a big deal, and not just because it’s the new thing. This thing is with features. So, what makes it so good?

Comprehension

ChatGPT is a beast when it comes to understanding human speech. It's not just scanning for keywords or spitting back pre-set answers. It dives deep into the language—grammar, syntax, semantics, you name it. And it doesn’t just stop at the words; it goes for the full deal, taking into account context, tone, and even stuff like metaphors and humor. 

This model has been trained on a ton of data—terabytes—from all sorts of fields. Literature, science, or even memes.

Context

ChatGPT has what's called a 'context window,' allowing it to remember and track the conversation. Older models could only handle about 2,000–3,000 words at a stretch. But the latest version, built on the GPT-4 framework, can go up to 25,000 words. That’s a whole lot of memory. More parameters also mean it can juggle complex language patterns.

Versatility

ChatGPT has been trained on a boatload of topics—from science and tech to pop culture and everything in between. Wanna chat about quantum physics? Go for it. How about the latest Marvel movie? Yep, it can do that too. It might not be a PhD in every subject, but it’s got enough game to keep the convo going.

How good is the code?

ChatGPT has a knack for cutting down the developer's workload by auto-generating that dreary boilerplate code. While it can easily crank out straightforward coding solutions, tackling intricate programming tasks may yield less than optimal results. This implies human oversight is needed  to fine-tuning ChatGPT's generated code before deploying it.

ChatGPT programming can translate regular expressions into functional code snippets. It offers a doorway to a whole host of pre-existing web development frameworks. It’s just quicker.

It’s pretty nifty when it comes to generating simple web scraping code, for instance. Using Python libraries like BeautifulSoup, you can scrape website data fairly easily. Here's a sample snippet:

Designed with the objective of expediting problem-solving in coding, ChatGPT delivers accurate solutions for elementary programs. However, when it comes to cracking more complex nuts, it might fall short.

Don’t forget to do this—you’ll thank me once Skynet takes over

As of now, ChatGPT is not poised to make human programmers obsolete. Sure, it can tackle simple tasks, but that doesn't mean humans are out of the equation. The technology's potential does open a dialogue about labor redistribution within the industry, but let's not jump the gun here. A more thorough debate and investigation are required before drawing conclusions on its impact on the job market for software engineers.

What are the shoftfalls?

ChatGPT shines as a system capable of crafting chatbots that converse with humans almost effortlessly. It's not all roses, though: below are some of the limitations to keep in mind if you're looking to leverage this technology.

Contextual shortfalls: ChatGPT is great at responding based on pre-learned patterns, but when it comes to understanding the subtleties of a conversation, it often misses the mark. The thing just isn't programmed to catch those finer nuances.

Complexity: while the system is adept at managing straightforward dialogues, it fumbles when conversations get intricate. Don't expect it to think critically or analyze data the way a human would.

Emotional ineptitude: ChatGPT can detect emotions in textual format, sure, but it lacks the ability to respond empathetically, unless it has a good enough context base for the problem it needs to solve.

Static learning curve: despite its knack for learning from previous interactions, ChatGPT can't evolve its responses based on real-time feedback or environmental changes. It's as if it's stuck in its own ways.

Language limitations: the programming system lacks expansive language support, making it unsuitable for multilingual operations. Great for Python, though.

Hallucinations: ChatGPT coding can spin some persuasive tales, but sometimes it just, well, makes stuff up. OpenAI and other companies are throwing every trick in the book at this problem—stuff like data augmentation, adversarial training, and human evaluations. If you're building an app around ChatGPT, you gotta keep an eye out for this.
Data leakage: clear policies need to be in place to stop developers from feeding it sensitive info that might pop back out later. It already happened before. The last thing we need is ChatGPT spilling the beans on something it shouldn't. 

And yes, your mileage may vary depending on what you're trying to achieve. If you're delving into AI-powered software applications, anticipate some limitations there as well.

At its core, ChatGPT coding primarily uses Python, a language praised for its flexibility. It complements other frameworks like TensorFlow and PyTorch, thus empowering you to develop AI applications. It can also interpret code in multiple languages, serving as a versatile tool (despite some evidence to the contrary above) for your development toolkit.

ChatGPT vs no-code/low-code platforms

The software development landscape changed quite a lot with the advent of low-code/no-code platforms and the likes of ChatGPT. A comparative evaluation of these technological leaps is necessary to grasp which offers superior utility—if such a thing exists at all.

ChatGPT offers a lot of applications that extend far beyond the conventional scope of AI chatbots. From nutritional insights to financial planning, the bot's utility spectrum is truly broad. However, it's in the realm of no-code development that ChatGPT shines the brightest.

In programming, ChatGPT can be quite something for individuals lacking formal coding skills. It engages the user in a natural dialogue, guiding them through the coding process, thus breaking down barriers to entry in software development. On top of that, if the user knows nothing about programming, they’ll be none the wiser when it fails! Ahem, pardon an obtuse joke.

Low-code platforms, on the other hand, are not entirely devoid of the need for some programming literacy. They employ user-friendly interfaces laden with draggable elements for customization. Notable among them is MS Power Apps (duh), a low-code solution that supports popular utilities like PowerPoint and Excel.

The interface deploys a slideshow layout and drag-and-drop elements, mirroring PowerPoint. Moreover, it features the (dreaded) formula bar—symbolized by the fx() icon—akin to Excel, allowing the user to inject specific functionalities into the application.

Comparisons, comparisons, comparisons.

Let’s take a good hard look at how each is doing, really:

Time-saving

ChatGPT: best suited for quick-and-dirty solutions to immediate problems. Complex issues requiring iterative queries can clock in additional time. Don't discount the time needed for rigorous testing of the generated code—sometimes it can and will fail.

Low-code/no-code: a formidable ally for rapid app development, cutting down production time by approximately 80% when compared to traditional methods. The platforms frequently come with automation features, a definite time-saver.

Given these insights, both technologies offer pretty good advantages and cater to all sorts of folks. Branding one as superior to the other could be an oversimplification of their inherent complexities, moving down the line. But what the hell, let’s do it anyway!

Customization capabilities

ChatGPT: the platform uses natural language understanding to offer highly customizable solutions. A slight rephrasing of your query can yield different results, for better or worse.

Low-code/no-code: these platforms offer template-based customization, but the wiggle room for personalized tweaks can be somewhat restricted.

Budgetary constraints

ChatGPT: particularly beneficial for freelancers, learners, or early-career developers. It can act as a preliminary resource for traditional development processes to gauge problem scope.

Low-code/no-code: ideal for small-scale businesses aiming to enhance operational efficiency. Larger enterprises might find a symbiotic relationship with both no-code and ChatGPT more fruitful.

Troubleshooting features

ChatGPT: Offers quick responses but lacks the analytical depth of human troubleshooting. The problem is that ChatGPT is a statistical tool, not a logic tool, i.e.: it makes a guess, it doesn’t reason.

Low-code/no-code: Requires some baseline understanding of the tool for effective troubleshooting.

Pre-requisites

ChatGPT: Doesn't need prior coding experience, acting as an enabler (ha) for peer programming endeavors. Virtually zero learning curve due to its conversational interface.

Low-code/no-code: Though designed to minimize coding requisites, basic logical reasoning skills are still needed. Every interface is different, so yes, some learning is in order.

Reliability

ChatGPT: While adaptable, the results can vary based on slight phrasing changes, requiring user testing.

Low-code/no-code: what you see is what you get. If your web page looks wonky, it’s because you’re getting better at it.

The verdict

If you're an individual with some coding background—be it rudimentary or advanced—ChatGPT could be your go-to for quick, bespoke solutions. 

If you're devoid of coding skills or are seeking an across-the-board solution to enhance organizational productivity, low-code/no-code platforms could be more your speed.

If you are a legend, you will use both for maximum effect. Speaking of, let’s move on to that topic now.

Using ChatGPT to build stuff in Directual

Certainly, this OpenAI plugin can serve as a foundational asset for your projects.

Directual's capabilities extend beyond merely piecing together logic cubes. Visualize orchestrating your project through simple natural language instructions, and have Directual's AI interpret and implement your desires seamlessly.

With Directual-GPT, which operates akin to a ReAct agent, you can parse process calls to OpenAPI methods under specified constraints. This system even goes further by validating data and dynamically requesting additional parameters according to OpenAPI specifications.

Much like ChatGPT's interactive interface performs tasks on your command, D-GPT functions in a similar fashion but is tailored for Directual-centric projects. 

While it may seem magical, D-GPT is constrained by some limitations. For instance, ChatGPT struggles with generating complex method descriptions exceeding 320 characters. In such cases, Directual's API receives the original command and activates our proprietary Directual-AI module trained on anonymized user data and textual descriptions. That’s how we generate domain-specific language instructions, which are subsequently translated into Directual's logic commands by our backend.

It works like this:

USER REQUEST → CHAT_GPT → Directual API BACK → Directual AI → CHAT_GPT → USER

Directual-GPT is capable of an expansive array of functionalities:

  • Customizing API endpoints to your specific needs
  • Generating web pages to showcase these customized API endpoints
  • Constructing web pages embedded with components linked to an API endpoint.
  • Creating intricate Directual scenarios using logic cubes

Sounds cool? See how it works for yourself:

Afterword

Long story short, ChatGPT can’t create complex things on it’s own; it lacks logic. Low-code/no-code solutions (like Directual!) have the logic and the backend, but the ease of using just a chatbot text box for building apps is not there. Mix the two and you’ve got a true miracle of science. While yes, it will take some time for this duo to transform into a masterpiece, it is still the best way to create apps/software in terms of quality/speed/price ratio.

Want to learn more about building stuff by sneezing violently at your keyboard? Send us a message at hello@directual.com, or better yet, head into one of our communities—the links are in the footer below.

FAQ

What is ChatGPT programming and how does it differ from low-code/no-code platforms?
What is ChatGPT programming and how does it differ from low-code/no-code platforms?

ChatGPT programming uses natural language processing to aid in coding tasks, whereas low-code/no-code platforms rely on user-friendly interfaces for software development. ChatGPT can understand the context and nuances of human speech, which is why it’s beneficial for people who lack formal coding skills. Low-code/no-code solutions like Directual still require some basic understanding of logic and reasoning, but can be a lot more powerful for programming on their own.

What are the key advantages of using ChatGPT for programming?
What are the key advantages of using ChatGPT for programming?

The main benefits of using ChatGPT for programming include its comprehension of human language, its context window that allows for longer conversations, and its versatility in handling a wide range of topics. It’s useful for generating boilerplate code and quick solutions to simple programming problems.

What are the limitations of ChatGPT in programming?
What are the limitations of ChatGPT in programming?

ChatGPT has several limitations, such as a lack of the ability to understand the finer nuances of a conversation, a static learning curve, and limited language support. Moreover, it requires human oversight for fine-tuning the generated code, especially when the programming tasks get complex.

Is ChatGPT customizable for programming?
Is ChatGPT customizable for programming?

ChatGPT offers a high degree of customization through natural language understanding. It’s quite handy for freelancers, learners, or junior developers looking for a cost-effective preliminary resource for gauging the scope of traditional development processes.

Can ChatGPT replace human programmers?
Can ChatGPT replace human programmers?

No, ChatGPT is not poised to make human programmers obsolete. While it can handle simple tasks and reduce the workload, it still requires human oversight for complex tasks and troubleshooting. It opens a dialogue about labor redistribution within the industry but doesn't eliminate the need for human expertise.

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