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Visual Programming Means Anyone Can Be a Coder

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created with Recursive Drawing

Shapes created with the Recursive Drawing programming interface.

Credit: The Letter

New York University programmer Toby Schachman has developed Recursive Drawing, an experimental programming interface that enables coders to incrementally build complex, fractal-like structures. The interface allows users to manipulate the underlying source code by dragging parts of the patterns around. Schachman says the ideas behind the interface could change the way programming is performed in the future. He says there would be no need to be concerned about changing the underlying code, because "the form that you're working in resembles the thing that you're creating."

Although there is still a major gap between writing the text and seeing what the running program does, "bringing in graphical ideas like Schachman does can definitely reduce this gap," says Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium researcher Peter van Roy.

Recursive Drawing is part of a trend that will help democratize programming, predicts City University in London researcher Sara Jones. "It opens up the process of programming to a broader community of people, including artists, architects, and designers, for whom the unnecessary translation of ideas into text may constitute a frustrating and unwelcome block to the flow of creative ideas," Jones says.

From New Scientist
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Recursive Drawing from Toby Schachman on Vimeo.