The Evolution of UI Development: From Photoshop to AI-Enhanced Tools

The evolution of UI development is a testament to technological progress and the application of innovative tools. The widespread use of Photoshop allowed designers to create intricate designs, but it required frontend developers to tediously convert static PSD files into dynamic web pages. This process involved slicing, measuring, and manually coding, often leading to time-consuming efforts and inconsistencies between the final page and the design draft.

With the advent of Figma, a cloud-based collaborative interface design tool, the process took a significant leap forward. Figma facilitated real-time collaboration between designers and developers, improving efficiency and communication accuracy. Its componentized design and style system made designs more modular and consistent, allowing developers to extract style information directly, reducing manual coding. However, while Figma eliminated some cumbersome steps like software installation and manual marking, it did not fully automate the process. Developers still needed to manually write HTML structures, and the CSS code provided by Figma was only partially usable.

The rise of Design2Code tools further simplified the page reconstruction process. These tools can directly convert design drafts into frontend code, significantly reducing the developer's workload. Design elements are automatically turned into HTML structures, with styles converted to CSS code, and even JavaScript interactions are partially auto-generated. Compared to Figma, these tools offer a more direct approach to code generation, supporting various languages through plugins.

To illustrate the convenience of modern page reconstruction, this article demonstrates how to quickly generate a web landing page from a design draft using the Codia Figma Plugin. This plugin analyzes design elements in Figma and uses AI to automatically generate HTML and CSS code, even supporting responsive design. The demonstration begins with a complete design draft, showing step-by-step how to use the plugin to create a polished web page.

How to Quickly Generate a Landing Page Using the Codia Figma Plugin

  1. In Figma, under the Resources' Plugin tab, search for "Codia" and click "Codia AI Figma to code...". This also supports Figma's devmode.
  2. Open the "Codia AI Figma to code" plugin.
  3. Select the design draft or a specific UI element. Preview the selected UI element in the plugin.
  4. Click the "Lock" icon in the plugin to unlock and select other UI elements for preview.
  5. Start generating code by clicking the green "Get Code" button at the bottom of the plugin. Enabling the "AI" switch improves code quality.
  6. Switch languages on the popup layer to HTML + CSS to begin code generation.
  7. Wait briefly for the code to generate. Switch to "Base" mode in the plugin for faster code generation.
  8. Expand the file tree on the left to view all code files.
  9. Download the code by clicking "Download" and then "Download" in the popup bubble. The code can also be previewed in CodeSandbox.
  10. Unzip the downloaded file and open "index.html" in a browser to see the final effect of the landing page generated by the Codia Figma Plugin.

This article has been edited for clarity and translated for sharing on Reddit. It provides a detailed overview of the transformative journey in UI page development, highlighting the efficiency and quality improvements brought by modern tools like Figma and Codia.