Research and Advances

Designing a New Foundation For Design

The book in which Fernando Flores and I introduced our version of the language-action perspective had an ambitious and provocative subtitle: Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design [8]. This special section of Communications offers the opportunity to apply the hindsight of nearly two decades to the implicit claim in that phrase, asking how the perspective has been successful as a foundation and promises to be so in the future.


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Research and Advances

From programming environments to environments for designing

Though there have been advances in end-user programming, complex applications still need professional developers. This inspired look at the future of creating complex software explores the shift from programming environments to design environments, discussing environments that help developers satisfy end-users' cognitive needs and help deal with contextual issues such as the aesthetic, practical, and social properties of the application and the users. A strong case is made that design environments will need to provide robust support for communication between developers and end users.
Research and Advances

Beyond programming languages

As computer technology matures, our growing ability to create large systems is leading to basic changes in the nature of programming. Current programming language concepts will not be adequate for building and maintaining systems of the complexity called for by the tasks we attempt. Just as high level languages enabled the programmer to escape from the intricacies of a machine's order code, higher level programming systems can provide the means to understand and manipulate complex systems and components. In order to develop such systems, we need to shift our attention away from the detailed specification of algorithms, towards the description of the properties of the packages and objects with which we build. This paper analyzes some of the shortcomings of programming languages as they now exist, and lays out some possible directions for future research.

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