Software

AI-powered software helps designers convert design layouts to instant code

A new feature launched by tech startup Locofy means developers can spend less time coding.
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· 4 min read

Go ahead and enjoy a slow morning with a cup of Java—a new tech startup has launched an AI-powered platform that helps designers and developers expedite their coding and design process with one Swift click.

Singapore-based Locofy—which was founded in 2021, and has 21 employees—recently rolled out a beta version of Locofy Lightning, a feature that aims to take care of 80% of front-end work for web app development, according to co-founder Honey Mittal. As of now, the platform is in beta, which means interested users can test it for free as long as they are willing to provide feedback.

We caught up with Mittal and co-founder Sohaib Muhammad to chat about Locofy Lightning and what this means for both designers and developers. 

Starting a new company from scratch. Mittal and Muhammad felt like their past endeavors working together at other successful startups contained a secret sauce they could replicate. Mittal is the former chief product officer at Homage, FinAccel, and Wego.com, while Muhammad served as the engineering lead at Homage and Wego.com, in addition to serving as the tech lead at Gumi.

“I think that’s where we started asking each other this question—we are clearly good at some things that others are not good at,” Mittal told IT Brew. “What is it that makes us us? And what is it that you know, we can automate that most companies struggle with but we have not struggled with?”

Continuing to analyze the secret sauce behind their work, Mittal asked Muhammad to tell him the one thing he hates doing the most, which was writing UI code from scratch. The majority (80%) of his time was going toward writing code and then rebuilding for web, Android, and iPhone. That’s when they both got the idea to try their hand at automation.

“Dude, that’s huge,” Mittal told him. “If we can automate that—it’s huge.”

Two days later, they raised $1 million after sharing their idea among their network. They’ve since raised a total of $7.5 million and are backed by Arash Ferdowsi, co-founder of Dropbox and Derek Callow, the former CMO at Bumble, as well as Northstar Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, and more.

How Locofy Lightning works. Locofy Lightning currently supports website and web app development with mobile app support set to launch in the next few months. Locofy integrates with Adobe XD and Figma, meaning users can connect their accounts and go from design to code to deploy. With Lightning, the process is automated, so after uploading a design, users can get the code and see an interactive preview, which they can then further edit as needed.

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The classic version, which has been live for around two years, differs in that everything is done manually, step by step. For Locofy classic, users will tag interactive elements themselves, essentially telling the platform what’s an input field and what’s a button, Mittal also explained.

“In Locofy Lightning…it will not ask you to change your design structure. It will not ask you to tell us the buttons or inputs. It will not ask you to change it for mobile, it will automatically do everything in just 20 to 40 seconds,” he said. “Our goal is to do at least 80% of the front-end work that engineers consider to be gruntwork.”

The models and AI behind Locofy. “We trained what we call our large design models, which is trained on more than a million designs, more than 100 million design parameters. We took, you know, community files, community designs, public designs, open-source designs, we looked at hundreds of websites, and we built a database to train our models,” Mittal said.

The system also learns and improves based on the changes that users make after the automated process is completed.

“Our goal is that anyone—even a junior engineer or a senior engineer, a student, as well as a professor—should be able to go and get the same results without necessarily knowing the nitty gritties…They then focus their energy on doing more complex business logic.”

On their expanding user base and what’s next. A combination of 300,000 engineers and designers have tested the platform thus far, with Locofy seeing 15,000 to 20,000 monthly active users largely across the US, India, and Europe. Mittal also noted that they plan to always keep Locofy free for students.

In the future, Mittal and Muhammad said they’d like to support even more platforms, such as Canva, Wix, Penpot, and more.

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.