Re: We need better tools to make better tools.

Twirlip of Greymist (
Tue, 3 Dec 1996 10:42:19 -0800 (PST)

On Dec 2, 6:33pm, James Rogers wrote:

} >will improve our tools for making tools. I could easily imagine languages
} >like c++ or Java redone with a completely graphical interface that you
} >could learn to use by using it. Done right it should speed up the software

The point of programming is to tell the computer what to do. Consider
telling humans what to do. Ever play charades? Sometimes specific
gestures or friends' telegrapy works well, but for general purposes we
use language. Similarly, for limited and related suites of applications
some "drag and drop" or even pipelined (data streaming) development
system can work well, but if you want the ability to tell the computer
how to do anything, you need a language. Or a best a visual system with
the complexity of a language.

Graphics can be good for showing data relationships, and certain types
of connections. We evolved to see things rather than put numbers
together in our heads, so graphs are neater (and more manipulable) than
columns of data points. For directing complex systems, such as each
other, we've evolved to use words and language. This will probably
continue to be true of computers.

On the other hand, Visual C++'s resource editor is wonderful. You want
your GUI to look a certain way? Edit the appearance, and your program's
GUI will be changed to match. Given that everyone is using menus and
buttons and dialogs, it's a great timesaver.

} >Yes but it doesn't have to look like gibberish.

To whom? There are people who can read and possibly write in straight
hex machine code.

} usefulness of languages such as C and C++ apparent. Those languages make
} more sense than the really high-level ones if you understand what is
} actually going on.

On bad compiler days programming in assembler has its appeal. Start all
over from the CPU up.

} easily abstracted. Other applications, such as database or systems
} development, require very thorough knowledge of data structures, algorithms,

Hmm. Graphical representation of a database of records; highlight a
field to be the sort index, drag and drop "Quicksort"...

But someone had to write "Quicksort".

} >Everybody (almost) agrees that the GUI is a better way to comunicate with a
} >computer than a command language. Everybody except system developers. Eh...

Around here, programmers in general, and many people who don't program
regularly as well, prefer command lines to GUIs, or at least want the
option available.

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

Jesus don't walk on water anymore; his feet leak.
-- Edward Abbey