Imitation Software is introducing a solution that opens the doors to Java programming “for the rest of us”.

Based on artificial intelligence research into how humans learn, the solution (Imitate) lets its users create Java applications and applets without advanced programming knowledge. Imitate works like this: a user demonstrates the steps of the function they want to build, and the software automatically writes a Java programme that’s a generalization of those actions.

Imitate was developed by university lecturer in Artificial Intelligence, Dr. Edmund Furse.

Dr. Furse explains: “For the average user, this sort of programme lets them create a variety of functions previously beyond their grasp without spending months learning how to write Java code. Imitate means that users merely have to work through the steps of an example, and the computer will imitate their example.”

Imitation Software claims that: “A person new to Imitate could build an animated slogan which bounces across a computer window from scratch in five minutes.” It lets those with limited programming skills add functionality to a Web site or intranet that previously needed programmer’s expertise.

The cross-platform solution runs on Mac OS 9.x and Mac OS X, consumes 150MB of disk space, and needs 64MB of RAM. It costs £99, or £40 for education customers (including VAT).

Imitation will be showcased at the Internet World 2002 exhibition, which opens at London’s Earl’s Court today.