Menu Items as Statements (was Re: About the new syntax)
guzdial at cc.gatech.edu
Thu Jun 8 16:30:15 UTC 2000
(Before I ask my question, I gotta say: "WOW! The new syntax looks
SO interesting! Very inviting! And the fact that I can switch
back-and-forth makes for a terrific way of moving scaffolding
> Now, I should confess that I have thought for many years that menu
>items SHOULD generally be actual statements in the programming language,
>because of the beautiful bridging that is possible. In fact, I would like
>to derive object-specific menus as filterings of their class interface ....
>This was done once at PARC as one of the first uses of MVC, and was quite
>compelling (again, to me at least).
> To me this means that a "language for most" should be as much for
>READING as it is for WRITING.
> But learning programming is partially about the UI for it, and as
>Andreas Raab has pointed out, the syntax of the language is definitely part
>of the UI, and should be treated with the same respect that eventually has
>to be given to the UI.
Alan, as you well know, these are the kinds of arguments that Andy
diSessa has been making about Boxer for many years. Andy has been
working toward the dream of defining and supporting "computational
literacy." (I'm reading Andy's new book these days, which has been
keeping Boxer forward in my thinking lately.)
Boxer has Logo's syntax, with the exception that "blocks" (defined in
Logo with [square brackets] as in Smalltalk) are graphical "boxes" on
the screen. Menu's in Boxer are literally just Boxer statements that
you can click on to execute them -- literally, boxes, blocks, and
menus are all the same things.
Do you see Squeak moving toward a Boxer-like mixture of graphical
elements plus textual elements, in order to realize this vision of
bridging between UI and programming?
Mark Guzdial : Georgia Tech : College of Computing : Atlanta, GA 30332-0280
Associate Professor - Learning Sciences & Technologies.
Collaborative Software Lab - http://coweb.cc.gatech.edu/csl/
(404) 894-5618 : Fax (404) 894-0673 : guzdial at cc.gatech.edu
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