Hyper structures + visual programs = hyperprograms : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Computer Science at Massey University

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Massey University
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This thesis describes an investigation into the integration of hyper-techniques with visual programming languages to support a multi-dimensional, minimally syntactic program representation. Programming involves two phases: first, forming a mental model of the problem solution; secondly, mapping the mental model onto a physical representation. The mental model is complex, syntax-free and multi-dimensional; in textual programming languages, the physical representation is complex, syntax-rich and single-dimensional. Performing the mapping is painstaking work which has more to do with easing compilation than with representing data manipulations. It is believed that a physical representation which better matches the programmer's mental model will significantly reduce the difficulty of generating programs. Modern computer systems combine powerful processors, and large memories with high-resolution graphics and powerful graphic input mechanisms. This ideally fits them for supporting the building and interpretation of complex multi-dimensional structures with minimal syntax. The Hyperprogramming paradigm exploits this capability. A hyperprogramming language uses different visual representations for different program dimensions - for example different visual vocabularies are appropriate for algorithms and subroutine nesting. Each view is carefully chosen to overlap the others minimally, and where overlap is essential, hyperlinks between views are provided to allow easy navigation between them, and to allow automatic updating of shared information. HyperPascal was developed using this philosophy, as a testbed for it. In creating a program, a HyperPascal programmer edits information in three separate views: the action window view, in which subroutines are each represented using a visual language based on structure diagrams the scope window view, in which declarations are stored in a nested structure corresponding to conventional subroutine nesting the forms window, in which the appearance of I/O can be designed using a WYSIWYG editor, free of the distractions of data processing specifications. A protoype of HyperPascal has been implemented, and a number of programs developed using it.
HyperPascal(Computer program), Visual programming (Computer science), Visual programming languages (Computer science)