Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Social Media Text Prepper

It is now possible to use generative AI / artificial intelligence platforms, like ChatGPT 4, to create simple to relatively complex web applications without knowing the precise syntax of programming languages. By formulating detailed prompts for the AI chatbot, it is possible to create code in various languages (including javascript and HTML) which the user would be unable to create independently, “from scratch.” For me, a middle school STEM teacher with a variety of coding experiences but without a computer science degree or formal pedigree, these are transformative capabilities. In this post, I’d like to share some background about a web application I created a little over a month ago which I’ve titled, “Social Media Text Prepper.” I’ve shared the source code on GitHub (it’s just three files, plus a README file) and hope others will iterate on and improve what I’ve started. I’ve added links to this on both my “AI Coding Experiments” webpage which I share with my middle school STEM students, as well as my “AI Tips and Tricks” Google Doc, which I continue to regularly update.

Social Media Text Prepper” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

Here are the problems I wanted to solve with this web-based software application:

  1. I frequently want to share ideas on social media platforms which exceed the respective “individual post character limits.”
  2. I want a quick way to break up / separate longer posts into different chunks, AND append the number of that chunk (or “thread”) as well as the total number of chunks / threads in the series. Example: (1/12) or (2/5) etc.
  3. On the formerly 8 (now 7) social media platforms where I regularly share ideas and links, post character limits vary. For example, Instagram’s character limit is 2200, Mastodon’s is 500, Threads is 500, Blue Sky is 300, Twitter/X is 240.
  4. The iOS app I previously used (and still have on my iPhone) to break longer posts into separate chunks (“threads”) has been removed from the Apple iOS App Store.
”Text Split” app for iPhone / iOS” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

Enter ChatGPT 4.

I’ve used ChatGPT since Spring 2023 for a variety of small coding projects, mainly for the STEM courses I teach for middle school students. I’ve read that the coding knowledge and tutorial capabilities of AI large language models, like ChatGPT, are formidable and impressive, and I’ve previously experienced moments of surprise and elation as I coded with these “AI Superpowers.” My 5 Photo Random Image Generator” script is an example.

In the case of my “Social Media Text Prepper” coding project, however, I had to really ARGUE with ChatGPT 4 to get it to produce the code I wanted. My entire conversation with the ChatBot is archived and accessible. Initially, ChatGPT just wanted to provide some starter-code to get me going on the project, but not write ALL of the code. This felt like a “Khanmigo approach” to coding, which is fine for some situations, but I actually wanted ChatGPT to write ALL of the code for me. Here’s what I ended up finally saying to it (with a little ALL CAPS yelling, no less) that resulted in the successful code I eventually shared on GitHub:

Hey, you are an incredibly capable software coder and your skills far exceed mine! I realize that there is some complexity here, but I’m wanting to leverage your coding skills and abilities, and that’s part of why I’m paying the monthly fee for access to ChatGPT 4. So, please do not respond with, ” I can certainly help guide you through this process.” TO BE CLEAR: I AM POLITELY ASKING YOU TO CREATE EACH OF THESE HTML, CSS, AND JAVASCRIPT PAGES IN THEIR ENTIREITY. Yes, this is more complex than a “Hello World” webpage, but it’s also not rocket science and this is something well within your capabilities to script and share. Please help me! These are functions that I want for my own use, and as a current middle school computer programming instructor (we mainly use block-based coding like Scratch and Microsoft MakeCode in my classes) I want to be able to show my students some of your capabilities as a LLM.

“Create HTML & JavaScript App.” ChatGPT, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Although not as dramatic as the much longer conversation which New York Times journalist Kevin Roose had with ChatGPT’s Bing variant, “Sydney,” and certainly NOT as “creepy,” my intereactions with ChatGPT 4 in creating the “Social Media Text Prepper” code was definitely jarring and surprising. I had to use my best skills of text persuastion and argumentation to convince a large language model AI to create functional javascript, CSS and HTML code which matched my detailed specificiations. WOW.

This was also a delightful experience.

In addition to accessing, downloading, and (if you choose) modifying / forking my shared code on GitHub, you can also access (and demo) these webpages on my personal website with this link: Give it a spin!

I’m actually very proud of this AI coding experiment and project. I use this web application multiple times every week, sometimes more than once per day. It’s super useful to me.

And I created it with the help of AI.

The future has arrived.

The Future Has Arrived” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer



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