ANNOUNCE: Release of Vital, an interactive visual
programming environment for Haskell
GK at ninebynine.org
Thu Nov 13 10:03:18 EST 2003
[Switching to haskell-cafe]
For "serious programming", I entirely agree.
But my view is that we are seeing some degree of programmability entering
all sorts of everyday objects -- video recorders spring to mind as an early
example -- and there's lots of work going on in the field of "ubiquitous
computing". Many of these pervasive devices may be fire-and-forget, but I
suspect many will not be. Graphical displays may be more common than full
keyboards. So how is the user to be presented with options to enter
programming information? I don't have any final answers here, but I do
have an intuition that for many users, where the "programming" requirement
is a simple but flexible composition of existing functions, that a
graphical, self-documenting interface may be an appropriate response to the
"video recorder programming hell" syndrome.
Some of my thoughts about this came from considering issues faced by a
friend of mine who has recently wired his new home for "total data"
(several kilometres of Cat5A cable in the loft!) -- it's all very well
having all these intelligent devices around the home, but how to actually
tell them what to do? Opening a door may signal that a light should turned
on, or an alarm should be set off -- how to describe the
distinction? (Assuming the owner is not an experienced programmer.)
Finally, as evidence for this view of user interfaces, I note that for
tasks like computer system administration, graphical interfaces have pretty
much taken over from the old command-line-and-text-file approach. Even
Linux systems have graphical front-ends for most of the common
configuration, even though, for an experienced sysadmin, the text-based
versions are generally quicker to set up and understand what's
happenning. In short, it's the occasional user, not the full-time expert,
who may be better served by a non-textual approach.
At 23:56 12/11/03 +0100, Marcin 'Qrczak' Kowalczyk wrote:
>W li¶cie z ¶ro, 12-11-2003, godz. 11:06, Graham Klyne pisze:
> > I've sometimes thought that a functional language would be the ideal
> > platform to usher in a purely graphical style of programming;
>I don't understand why so many people talk about graphical programming,
>i.e. putting together functions, arguments, definitins etc. with the
>mouse instead of the keyboard, drawing arrows instead of naming etc.
>No wonder it didn't succeed. It would be much less convenient than
>typing text and less readable too.
> __("< Marcin Kowalczyk
> \__/ qrczak at knm.org.pl
> ^^ http://qrnik.knm.org.pl/~qrczak/
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