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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

The Coming Software Apocalypse


Cartoonish figures interact with the world through code.

A group of coders is working to overcome the abstract approach to programming.

Credit: The Atlantic

The growing complexity and connectivity of software and the fact that its foundational requirements can lead to serious and potentially disastrous consequences has prompted a group of coders to combat the abstract approach to programming.

The Communications Design Group's Bret Victor says thinking about software systems via code is difficult, which plays directly into their high incidence of bugs. His solution is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface to enable programmers to write and revise code and see the immediate effects of those changes on the application under development.

Some programming experts are following Victor's lead, with Microsoft's Chris Granger having built a prototype coding environment designed to provide instant feedback to developers on software behavior.

Also gaining favor is a model-based approach that is still sufficiently unambiguous for computers to comprehend, while of paramount importance is the creation of a program to convert the models into actual code that can be proven to function correctly all the time.

From The Atlantic
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