July 23, 2007
At the Cooper Union Design Museum, there was a poster for a programming language called Processing. Isn’t it absurd that a PL would be in a museum? It appears to be a minor syntactic improvement over Java, plus a radically simplified graphics library. It refers to another language called Design By Numbers, which also aims to make programming simpler for artists. Finally, I ran across (again) an environment called Scratch designed for children. It is a media production environment built on top of Squeak. All three aim to make programming easier for non-programmers. However, in most cases these language merely offer syntactic sugar over traditional PL control constructs. People can learn that “for (i=1;i<=10;i++)” is the same as “repeat i 1 10” (dbn). It just feels like Cobol all over again: make the syntax “friendly” and programming is a snap. I think much more needs to be done to make programming much simpler (and less powerful) for non-programmers in special domains.