Programming by Example – Visual Interfaces

In the mid-1970s, Smith introduced the technique of example programming with a program called Pygmalion, described by Smith in Watch What I Do: Programming by Demonstration (Chapter 1). This demonstrated the need to explain algorithms through concrete examples rather than abstractions. ‘Example-Based Programming: An Appropriate Visual Approach to Learning to Program’ (Gebert et al, 2004) elaborates and extends Smiths’ work with an example that shows how numbers represent the concepts behind them. fail to show. An example is a numerical representation of a triangle. This representation is ‘Fregean’ because it does not show the concept of triangles. Next to it is a diagram of a triangle that illustrates the concept. Next to this is a diagram of the triangle that represents the concept, called a ‘complex’ representation because it involves the context of the information. Adding context to information allows a person to discover meaning or relationships in…

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