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Build Websites in Seconds with ChatGPT's New Web Dev Plugin

Author: Digital Creator AviTime: 2024-02-13 21:15:01

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Web Dev ChatGPT Plugin

ChatGPT has exploded in popularity recently due to its advanced conversational AI capabilities. One particularly exciting new development is the Web Dev plugin, which allows you to generate basic websites directly within ChatGPT through simple text prompts.

In this post, we'll provide an overview of the Web Dev plugin, discuss how it can help build websites, walk through examples of using it, examine some of its limitations, and share sample sites created with it.

What is the Web Dev Plugin?

The Web Dev plugin is an add-on for ChatGPT that was created by Anthropic. It allows you to build live websites with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript directly within the ChatGPT interface. With Web Dev, you can create website sections, add text, images, buttons, and more purely through conversational prompts and see the code generate in real-time. For example, you can prompt the AI to 'Create a header section with Home, About, Contact links' and it will generate that header section code instantly. The plugin even provides a live preview so you can view the rendered website as you build it within ChatGPT.

How Can It Help Build Websites?

The Web Dev plugin aims to dramatically simplify and speed up website creation. Without Web Dev, building even a simple site requires manually writing all of the underlying HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. This can be complex and time consuming. With Web Dev, you can simply describe the sections you want in plain English and the AI will generate the necessary code automatically. This allows rapid prototyping and creation of basic websites without needing to be an expert coder. While the generated code may need some refinement, Web Dev provides a way for non-developers to quickly spin up sites. It also gives developers a helpful starting point that can save significant time compared to coding from scratch.

Using the Web Dev Plugin to Build Websites

While the Web Dev plugin shows immense promise, it does have some quirks and limitations in its current state that require workarounds. Based on hands-on testing, here are some tips for getting the best results when using Web Dev to build websites:

First, clearly prime the AI and provide context by stating the type of website you want to create (e.g. inform it you'll be building a luxury watch ecommerce site). Then build up the site section-by-section through focused prompts (header first, then hero section, etc). Trying to generate the full site in one prompt often fails.

You can tweak the site on the fly - swapping out images is as easy as sending a new image URL. However, overly complex requests may crash the tool. Simple prompts and making incremental changes work best for now.

Priming the AI Assistant

Before jumping straight into website prompts, first 'prime' the AI by providing some context. Explain that you will be building a website for a specific purpose, brand, or industry. This primer helps steer the AI to generate on-topic content. For example: 'I will be building a website for a luxury watch brand.' The AI will respond confirming it is now ready to create that site.

Building the Website Section by Section

Rather than trying to construct the entire website in one go, build it up section by section with focused prompts for each part. Start with the header, then hero image, followed by sections like 'pricing' or 'FAQ'. For example: 'Create a header section with the links: Home, Shop, About Us, Contact.' Then for the next prompt: 'Add a hero section with the text 'Time is Precious' over a watch image.' This incremental approach works better than prompting the full site at once.

Tweaking Images and Text On-the-Fly

One benefit of Web Dev is you can promptly tweak the generated site. Don't like the hero image? Simply send a new image URL like 'Replace the hero image with this: [new URL]' and Web Dev will swap it out instantly. You can also edit text by specifying section and new text. This on-the-fly editing enables rapid iterations as you build the site.

Limitations and Considerations When Using Web Dev

While Web Dev is an exciting new innovation, the plugin is still in early development and has some key limitations to keep in mind:

First, prompting the generation of complex, multi-faceted website sections often results in failures or crashes. The AI struggles with intricate requests beyond basic headers, heroes, and galleries.

Second, website output can be inconsistent across sessions. The same prompt may produce different code each time rather than predictable output. This makes iterative tweaking tricky.

Despite the issues, Web Dev shows the vast potential for AI to aid and accelerate website building in the future. The plugin just needs further refinement to become more robust and reliable.

Complex Sections May Cause Crashes

While Web Dev can easily generate simple sections like headers, hero images, and product galleries, asking it to produce complex, multi-faceted sections often results in failure. For example, prompting Web Dev to create a detailed pricing page with multiple plan tiers, feature lists, and buy buttons in one go frequently causes crashes. The AI struggles to handle this complexity currently.

Inconsistent Outputs and Behavior

One quirk of the current Web Dev plugin is inconsistent output across Chat sessions. The same prompt can produce different website code each time rather than reliable, predictable results. This makes iteratively refining a site tricky. Tweaking the prompt words to guide the AI in the right direction takes trial-and-error as behavior changes.

Example Website Sections Built With Web Dev

Despite limitations, Web Dev can successfully handle simple website sections. Here are a couple examples of components built using the plugin:

Simple FAQ and Pricing Page

For an FAQ page, prompts like 'Add an FAQ section' and 'Create 3 frequently asked questions with answers' produced a basic responsive FAQ. A pricing section was generated by prompting 'Show 3 pricing tiers: Basic, Pro, Enterprise with details.' While basic, these simple sections were created with just a few prompts.

Basic Headers and Menus

Web Dev reliably generates headers, footers, and menus through prompts like 'Add header with Home, About, Contact links'. It can also handle floating menus like 'Make menu fixed at top when scrolling'. These basic navigational components allow quickly piecing together a multi-page site framework.

Key Takeaways and Conclusion

ChatGPT's Web Dev plugin shows immense promise to enable code-free website building through plain English prompts. But it still has a ways to go before realizing its full potential.

Here are some key takeaways after hands-on testing of the experimental Web Dev tool:

Great Promise for Quick Site Building

Web Dev gives non-coders a way to draft websites faster than ever through conversational prompts. It can accelerate prototyping and development significantly.

Improvements Needed for Robust Sites

The tool struggles with complex sections and has inconsistent output. More work is needed so Web Dev can reliably build sophisticated, polished sites.

Worth Testing Out Yourself

Despite current limitations, Web Dev provides a glimpse of the future for AI-assisted web design. It's worth trying for yourself to see firsthand and provide feedback to the creators.


Q: What exactly is the Web Dev plugin?
A: The Web Dev plugin for ChatGPT allows users to build live websites directly within the chat interface. It generates HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code.

Q: How do you use the Web Dev plugin?
A: You can build a site section-by-section by prompting the AI to generate specific elements like headers, menus, hero sections etc. Replace images and text by providing new URLs and content.

Q: What are some limitations of the plugin?
A: The Web Dev plugin can sometimes crash when trying to generate complex site sections. The results are also inconsistent, so you may need several tries to get it right.

Q: What kind of sites can you build with Web Dev?
A: Currently, you can build simple sites with headers, menus, FAQs, and basic pricing pages. More complex or robust sites are difficult to create.

Q: Is the Web Dev plugin worth trying out?
A: Yes, Web Dev shows promise for quick site building assistance. It's worth testing yourself, though some improvements are still needed.

Q: How can the Web Dev plugin be improved?
A: The developers need to improve stability to handle complex site sections. More consistent outputs would also help make site building easier.

Q: Can Web Dev build full-featured sites?
A: Not yet. Currently Web Dev works best for simple page layouts. Full-featured sites with complex functionality are difficult for it to handle reliably.

Q: Does Web Dev eliminate the need to code?
A: No, you still need to know HTML, CSS, JavaScript to build robust sites. Web Dev is more of an AI assistant for quick site scaffolding.

Q: Can I sell websites built with Web Dev?
A: You need to be careful about copyrights when selling AI-generated content. It's best to manually customize the code before selling sites.

Q: What are some best practices for Web Dev?
A: Build section-by-section, start simple, customize the code output, and experiment to find what works best.