Cloud-Based Programming Made Easy

Cabe Atwell

August 7, 2014

4 Min Read
Cloud-Based Programming Made Easy

Wolfram made a name for itself in 1988 with the release of Mathematica 1.0, a computing wizard that could automate algorithms faster than you can say "gazonga." On the 26th anniversary of that monumental day, the Wolfram Programming Cloud went live, changing programming forever.

Founder of Wolfram, Stephen Wolfram, created the Wolfram Programming Cloud around his personal belief in maximum automation. If innovation is about pushing the envelope of possibilities, Wolfram believes in letting good programs take care of the "how to," so we can take care of the "what."

Wolfram Programming Cloud is really expected to be a game changer. The application is based on the Wolfram Language and was specifically developed to streamline the creation and deployment of cloud-based programs.

So, how does it work?

The Wolfram Programming Cloud is essentially "cloud-based programming, for dummies." If you know code, you can create the most complex programs your mind can imagine in minutes.

How? Well, the interactive application combines the capabilities of the Wolfram Language and the plethora of information available on the web to bring you comprehensive programming in seconds.


Let's say, for example, that you'd like to create an internal, cloud-based program for your organization that features a calendar with all of the major national holidays of the U.S. and Dubai. You can "ask" the program for that calendar using code and it will bring up the image of that calendar and the specific programming code. It can also be exported to directly create an API.

The Wolfram Programming Cloud is complex, no doubt about it. Just a handful of features include machine learning, image processing, typesetting, and comprehension of human language that is unique to the Wolfram Language. The result is a platform that takes care of the boring, laborious end of programming and leaves you with all of the fun stuff -- innovation.

Wolfram Language

Understanding the importance of the development of the Wolfram Programming Cloud comes from understanding Wolfram Language itself. The Wolfram Language is something Stephen Wolfram has been working on for more than 30 years. What is it, you ask? Well, it's essentially a programming language that understands you.

The Wolfram Language is a universal programming language based on symbolic expression and function, with more than 5000 built-in features. The program understands code, but it will give users data outputs that are more like plain English.

Let's say, for example, that you'd like to move to a major city in Alaska. You can ask the program for a list of all of the major cities in Alaska and it will find the answer and give it to you in plain English. To clarify, you speak to the program in code, but it answers you in English (and provides the code as well).

You can then ask for the data on each city, including population, crime rate, school ratings and cost-of-living. Wolfram Language will find that data and can then create a graph or chart for you, allowing you to cross-compare the data. Lastly, it can bring up an image of Alaska and map the cities for you (and, just for kickers, tell you which is the best for whale watching).

The Philosophy

Stephen Wolfram believes that technology should simplify our lives. If a robot can wax our floors and carry grenades across enemy lines, then it can also independently calculate algorithms and almost entirely automate the programming process -- and there are no arguments here.

Wolfram's philosophy is that, "it isn't cheating if you write your own code," and lazy as it is, it's catching on. Even Raspberry Pi is behind the movement, as it's Linux computer now comes with the Wolfram Language pre-installed. And the best part of all -- it's free!

In line with the philosophy behind the open-source movement, many Wolfram products are available to whoever wants to use them, free-of-charge. The Wolfram Programming Cloud is also one of these products and is already available to anyone that wants to use them.

Whether you're a student that wants to 'cheat' on their programming homework or the director of an organizations looking to create your own private clouds within the Wolfram network, there's a solution for you. The mathematics-based tech innovator also offers a desktop version of the program that works seamlessly from desktop to the web.

Advanced programmers can go between Wolfram and their preferred method of programming using XML templates, API generation, and more. A core philosophy behind Wolfram's products is coherence, so it is designed work effortlessly, no matter your style.

While the Cloud is live, Wolfram reports that the company is working hard on continuing to expand its technology, including expediency and the development of an application for the Wolfram Language that can output mobile programs.

Until then, you'll just have to tough it out with this barbaric system that practically writes code for you... in the cloud.

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About the Author(s)

Cabe Atwell

Cabe is an electrical engineer, machinist, maker, cartoonist, and author with 25 years’ experience. When not designing/building, he creates a steady stream of projects and content in the media world at element14,, MAKE ─ among others. His most recent book is “Essential 555 IC: Design, Configure, and Create Clever Circuits.

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