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Subject: comp.lang.visual Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ)

This article was archived around: 24 Jan 2001 17:00:59 -0500

All FAQs in Directory: visual-lang
All FAQs posted in: comp.lang.visual
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Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1998/03/10 Archive-name: visual-lang/faq Version:
Comp.Lang.Visual - Frequently-Asked Questions List Most recent update: 10 March 1998 =========================================================================== This article contains a list of frequently-asked questions and frequently-desired resources for the newsgroup comp.lang.visual. You should read this faq before you post to this group so that you understand what it is all about. This article is posted at least weekly, or more often when changes are submitted. I encourage everyone to send in their ideas and additions. This collection of documents is Copyright (C) 1999, David McIntyre. All rights reserved. Permission to distribute this collection is hereby granted providing that distribution is electronic, no money is involved, reasonable attempts are made to use the latest version and all credits and this copyright notice are maintainted. Other requests for distribution should be submitted to the editor. All reasonable requests will be granted. Many FAQs, including this one, are available on the archive site rtfm.mit.edu in the directory pub/usenet/news.answers. The name under which a FAQ is archived appears in the "Archive-Name:" line at the top of the article. This FAQ is archived as "visual-lang/faq" =========================================================================== Maintainer: Dr. David McIntyre BlackRock Financial Management 345 Park Ave New York, NY 10154 USA dmcintyr@blackrock.com 212-409-3574 (office) =========================================================================== Index: General: 1) What is comp.lang.visual? .1) What is moderation, and how does it work? .2) Why is this newsgroup moderated? .3) Who is the moderator? .4) What is the moderation policy? .5) Is this newsgroup archived? 2) What is a visual (programming) language? .1) Do we need the word "programming" in that phrase? .2) Is there a better phrase to use? 3) What about Visual Basic and Visual C++? 4) What are some examples of visual programming languages? a) Research visual programming languages. b) Commercial visual programming languages. 5) Information sources: a) Books. b) Journals [ including CFP's for special issues ] c) Conferences proceedings. d) Upcoming conferences. e) Info available through ftp. f) Graduate programs in visual programming. g) Other newsgroups. h) WWW pages. 6) Can we talk about VPL's in a newsgroup? 7) VP paper classification project. Paradigm-specific: 8) What are some references about visual query languages? 9) What are some references for component-based software? Miscellaneous: 10) Doesn't everyone agree that VL is great? Technical: 11) Work done in specifying visual language grammar. 12) The Deutsch Limit Toolkits: 13) Commercially available toolkits to help in VL design. Calls for Papers: 14) Calls for papers and announcements for upcoming conferences. References: References used in this FAQ (in Bibtex/Scribe format). Acknowledgements --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q1: What is comp.lang.visual? A1: It is a forum for discussing Visual Programming Languages: their problems, their advantages, and ideas for making them better. Visual language discussion can also include aspects of many other topics, eg, visualization of programs and/or data, human-computer interaction and interfaces, formal languages. Visual Basic and Visual C++ are not for the most part visual programming languages. They are textual languages with a graphical user interface builder attached. See Q3 for locations where you can get information about these products. Commercial postings, with few exceptions, are not acceptable. Comp.lang.visual is a moderated newsgroup (see the next questions). Q1.1: How does this moderation stuff work? A1.1: At the beginning of 1995, comp.lang.visual became an officially moderated newsgroup. This means that any posting to this group first gets sent, via email, to the moderator. This is done invisibly to you; normal news-posting software is used. If the content of the article is appropriate to the charter of this group the moderator approves the article, and it is sent back into the news system, this time to be read by all. If the content of the article is inappropriate to the charter of this group, the article is not seen by the news system. Typically, the moderator replies to the poster, letting them know what was unacceptable about the rejected posting. Q1.2: Why is this newsgroup moderated? A1.2: This newsgroup hummed along steadily for many years without the need for moderation. When Microsoft released their line of "visual" products (Visual BASIC, Visual C++, etc.) a myriad of news-readers saw the word "visual" in the title of this newsgroup and decided that it was the correct place to ask Visual BASIC questions, drowning out the conversations about visual programming languages taking place here already. The moderation has cleaned this problem up. Q1.3: Who is the moderator? A1.3: David McIntyre, who is also the maintainer of this FAQ. Moderation questions can be addressed to visual-request@ms.com, or you can just use the email address at the top of this FAQ. Q1.4: What is the moderation policy? A1.4: Any article having any semblance to the charter is accepted without any editing. Any article having content only related to Visual BASIC, Visual C++ or anything else non-visual is rejected. Visual BASIC and Visual C++-related articles are sometimes accepted when their content is about the visual aspects of the environments. On rare occasions the moderator may add comments to the bottom of the article. These are always enclosed in square brackets ([]) and signed by the moderator. Q1.5: Is this newsgroup archived? A1.5: YES! As of the end of summer '95 we are now archived at the UUNET site ftp.uu.net ( or Use anonymous ftp to reach the site. Our directory is /usenet/comp.lang.visual. Two subdirectories hold the FAQ (but perhaps not as recent a copy as is in rtfm.mit.edu) and all the posts to this newsgroup since it became moderated. The archive currently holds the first 263 or so articles. New articles will be added approximately monthly, depending on traffic volume and moderator stress level. This directory also contains an index file (named index) which contains message number, author, date and title for each article. The archived articles are stored in a gzip-compressed format. Use gunzip to decompress when you ftp them home. [ Unfortunately, I seem to have messed this up, and hopefully we'll resume this shortly. 1/2/97, Dave ] --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q2: What is a Visual Programming Language? A2: A few representative answers: (a) Visual Programming (VP) refers to any system that allows the user to specify a program in two-(or more)-dimensionsional fashion. [...] conventional textual languages are not considered two dimensional since the compilers or interpreters process them as long, one-dimensional streams. [Myers90a] (b) A Visual Language manipulates visual information or supports visual interaction, or allows programming with visual expressions. The latter is taken to be the definition of a visual programming language. Visual programming languages may be further classified according to the type and extent of visual expression used, into icon-based languages, form-based languages and diagram languages. Visual programming environments provide graphical or iconic elements which can be manipulated by the user in an interactive way according to some specific spatial grammar for program construction. [Golin90b] (c) Visually transformed languages are inherently non-visual languages but have superimposed visual representations. Naturally visual languages have an inherent visual expression for which there is no obvious textual equivalent. [Burnett89] (d) Visual programming is commonly defined as the use of visual expressions (such as graphics, drawings, animation or icons) in the process of programming. These visual expressions may be used in programming environments as graphical interfaces for textual programming languages; they may be used to form the syntax of new visual programming languages leading to new paradigms such as programming by demonstration; or they may be used in graphical presentations of the behavior or structure of a program. [McIntyre&Burnett] (e) A visual language is a set of spatial arrangements of text-graphic symbols with a semantic interpretation that is used in carrying out communication actions in the world. Q2.1: Do we need the word "programming" in that phrase? A2.1: Perhaps not. People like to point out languages such as Miro and GIL which are visual specification languages as reasons for saying visual language instead of visual programming language. I think of Miro as a language for programming specifications, so I like the word. We'll try to avoid using the word "programming" when we don't mean to exclude non-programming visual languages. Any comments? [Fred Lakin says: ] Sure. The short answer is, it reminds us of all the other visual languages there are, which should be looked at and learned from. Keeping the word "programming" in the phrase keeps the computer folk from becoming visually provincial, which I see as a real danger. The longer answer is, people have invented and used many visual languages in the course of history. A fraction of those have anything to do with computers, and even smaller number represent programs, and an even smaller number of those represent programs and can be executed on a computer. Let's say people have been using visual languages for 10,000 years; and using them for communication *about* computers for 50, and using them for communication *with* computers for 30. So you can see how small a percentage of the total numbers of visual languages we are talking about. Q2.2: Is there a better phrase (than VPL) that we could use? A2.2: [Send in your ideas!!!!] [Fred Lakin's idea:] I prefer the term "executable graphics" instead of visual programming languages. Visual programming language is a misnomer. It either means a programming language which we can see, which is trivial, or a language used for programming the behavior of visual things, which is limiting. Executable Graphics expresses a different orientation toward the problem domain: graphics which can be executed. [Lakin86] [Paul Lyons sez:] I've coined the term "Hyperprogramming" which I think better summarises the capabilities and support provided by visual Programming Languages. We argue for VPLs on practical as well as theoretical basis. The theoretical arguments relate to the greater expressivity and intuitiveness of diagrammatic representations of complex relationships. The practical arguments relate to the availability of sufficient computing power to support the capture and processing of visually expressed diagrams. Specifically, we utilise: processor speed, to let us do it in real time high-res graphics, to represent complex diagrammatic notations mouse input, to create complex diagrammatic notations and window-based displays, to partition the resulting diagrams into a manageable size. It's this last point that's the important one. Partitioning big programs to make them more manageable is great, but creates navigational difficulties. These sort of navigational problems have been addressed, for "ordinary" documents, by hypertext systems. Now, "ordinary" hypertext documents are tedious to create because adding all the hyperlinks takes a long time, but there's no such problem with programs, because it's easy for the entry support system to generate the hyperlinks automatically, on-the-fly. As well as providing programmers with simple and consistent navigation techniques, the hyperlinks can be used to automatically update shared information between views. So I think that VPLs, if they aren't already, will achieve partitioning based on multiple windows, with hyperlinks between the windows connecting shared items of information. Calling them Hyperprogramming languages will reflect this situation, and might reduce the subtle suggestion (inherent in the name VISUAL programming languages) that these languages should eschew text entirely. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q3: What about Visual Basic and Visual C++? A3: Visual Basic and the entire Microsoft Visual (tm) family are not, despite their names, visual programming languages. They are textual languages which use a graphical gui builder to make programming decent interfaces easier on the programmer. The user interface portion of the language is visual, the rest is not. Because many Visual BASIC users have many questions, and frequently post them to this newsgroup, we list some alternate resources: a) comp.lang.basic.visual !!!! b) VB Online is a bulletin board dedicated to Visual Basic users. It can be accessed via. 1-216-694-5734 at 9600 baud. [haston@utkvx.utk.edu (Haston, Donald Wayne)] c) comp.os.ms-windows.programmer.tools comp.os.ms-windows.programmer.misc comp.os.ms-windows.apps comp.os.ms-windows.misc --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q4: What are some examples of visual programming languages? Language Name Authors Reference(s) 1966: ???? R. Sutherland [Sutherland66] 1968: Ambit/G and Ambit/L Christensen et.al. [Christensen68] 1969: GRAIL Ellis et.al. [Ellis69] 1974: PLAN2D Denert et.al. [Denert74] 1975: Pygmailion Smith [Smith77] 1980: Outline Lakin [Lakin80] 1983: Prograph Pietryzchowski [Piet83] ML-like VL Cardelli [Cardelli83] 1984: Pict Glinert [Glinert84] Programming by Rehearsal Finzer&Gould [Finzer84] 1986: HI-VISUAL Ichikawa [Ichikawa86a] [Hirakawa90a] LabView [LabView] PC-TILES Glinert&Smith [Glinert86a] Show & Tell Kimura [Kimura86c] [Kimura89] ThingLab Borning [Borning86] Tinkertoy Edel [Edel86] 1987: ARK Smith [Smith87] 1988: C^2 Kopache [Kopache88] Fabrik Ingalls [Ingalls88] 1989: SunPICT Glinert&McIntyre [Glinert89] 1990: Cube Najork [Najork91] Hypersignal Carlson [Carlson94] Miro Heydon [Heydon90] NoPumpG Lewis Novis Norton [Norton90] 1991: Agentsheets Repenning [Agentsheets WEB] Forms/3 Burnett [Burnett92] Hence 1.4 Beguelin [Beguelin91] Mondrian Lieberman Visavis 1992: ChemTrains Bell [Bell92] CODE 2.0 Newton [Newton92] Hyperpascal Lyons [Lyons93] Iconicode Vampire McIntyre [McIntyre92b] Visavis Poswig [Poswig92] Voice Dialog D.E. Repenning&Summner [Agentsheets WEB] 1993: MViews Grundy&Hosking [G&H93b] SPE Grundy&Hosking [G&H93a] MEANDER Wirtz [Wirtz93] SPARCL Spratt&Ambler [Spratt93] 1994: Escalante McWhirter [see faq info] PhonePro Cypress Research [GACote94] Vipers Mosconi [not pub yet] VIPR Citrin&Zorn [see ftp info] WinPict McIntyre 1995: LEGOsheets Repenning et al. [Agentsheets WEB] ViTABal Grundy&Hoskings [Grundy95] No info yet: CANTATA VIVA AVS Serius Developer apE b) Visual programming languages commercially available today. ** General purpose: Prograph Pictorius, Inc 800-927-4847 AppWare Novell 800-277-2717 Iconicode IconIcon Design/CPN Meta Software 617-576-6920 SystemSpecs IvyTeam, Bern Switz. Layout Objects, Inc 508-777-2800 LabVIEW National Instruments 512-794-0100 VPLus SimPhonics, Inc 813-623-9917 N!Power Signal Technology 805-899-8300 x350 EiffelBuild ISE info@eiffel.com Sanscript Northwoods Software www.nwoods.com MultiMedia Logic Softronix www.softronix.com ** Component-based: Visual AppBuilder Novell 800-453-1267 Capsule Metaphor / IBM 800-426-3333 SynchroWorks Oberon Software, Inc 800-524-5459 Parts Digitalk 800-531-2344 Synergy Prodea Software Corp 800-PRODEA-1 VisualAge IBM 800-426-3333 Eiffel libraries ISE info@eiffel.com ** Multi-media and computer-based training authoring tools: Authorware Macromedia, Inc 800-945-4061 IconAuthor AimTech Corp 800-289-2884 ForShow Bourbaki, Inc 800-289-1347 HSC InterActive HSC Software 800-566-6699 ** Telephony: PhonePro Cypress Research 408-752-2700 PhoneOne Information Gateway 703-760-0000 ** Data aquisition: LabVIEW National Instruments 512-794-0100 DT VEE (HP VEE reseller) Data Translation, Inc 800-525-8528 ** Data analysis and visualization: Khoros Khoral Research 505-837-6500 AVS Advanced Visual Systems 617-890-4300 ** Design & Testing: Dataflo MP Dynetics, Inc. 800-922-9261 Design/CPN Meta Software 617-576-6920 ** DSP Design/Analysis Hypersignal Hyperception 214-343-8525 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q5: What can I read to learn more about Visual Programming Languages? A5: a) Books: ** The most comprehensive collection so far is: "Visual Programming Environments," E. P. Glinert, editor, 1990. [Glinert90b][Glinert90c] ** Other well-known books include: "Visual Languages," Chang, Ichikawa and Ligomenides, editors, 1986. [Chang86] "Visual Programming," N. C. Shu, 1988. [Shu88] "Principles of Visual Programming Systems," S.-K. Chang, editor, 1990. [Chang90a] "Visual Object-Oriented Programming: Concepts and Environments," M. Burnett, A. Goldberg and T. Lewis, editors, Manning / Prentice-Hall, 1994(?). [Burnett94] ** Component-based software construction: "Reusable Software: The Base Object-Oriented Component Libraries," B. Meyer, Prentice Hall, 1994. ** Language specific books include: "Cutting Your Test Development Time with HP VEE," Helsel, HP Professional Books / Prentice Hall, 1994. "LabVIEW Graphical Programming, Practical Applications in Instrumentation and Control," Gary W. Johnson, Carl Machover, series editor, McGraw-Hill, 1994. "Visual Programming with Prograph CPX," Steinman and Carver, Manning, 1995 [ ISBN: 0-13-441163-3 ]. ** Possibly related books: "The Design of an Extensible Graph Editor", F. N. Paulisch, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) 704, Springer-Verlag, 1993. b) Journals: Journal of Visual Languages and Computing. The JVLC is published quarterly by the Academic Press, London, phone (outside the UK) +44-1-81-300-3322, fax +44-1-81-309-0807, ISSN 1045-926X. Institutional rate is $154/year, personal $70/year. Editors are S.-K. Chang and S. Levialdi. Address is: Journals Marketing Department Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Ltd. 24-28 Oval Road London NW1 7DX, UK Journals Promotion Department Academic Press 1250 Sixth Ave. San Diego, CA 92101, USA ------------------- c) Proceedings: IEEE Workshop/Symposium proceedings have been published since 1986, but most have gone out of print. The most recent two are still available, others are probably not. VL'84, Hiroshima, Japan. IEEE Computer Society Press #612. VL'86, Dallas, Texas. IEEE Computer Society Press #722. VL'87, Linkoeping, Sweden. VL'88, Pittsburgh, PA. IEEE Computer Society Press #876. VL'89, Rome, Italy. IEEE Computer Society Press #2002. VL'90, Skokie, Ill. IEEE Computer Society Press #2090. VL'91, Kobe, Japan. IEEE Computer Society Press #2330. VL'92, Seattle, Washington. IEEE Computer Press #3090. VL'93, Bergen, Norway. IEEE Computer Society Press #3970-02. VL'94, St. Louis, MO. IEEE Computer Society Press #6660-02. VL'95, Darmstadt, German. IEEE Computer Society Press #. VL'96, Boulder, CO. IEEE Computer Society Press #. VL'97, . IEEE Computer Society Press #. 1994's Visual Software Programming Languages Meeting held in Scottsdale, Arizona will probably never produce a proceedings, which is really too bad. Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI) : 1992 International Workshop on Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI '92), Rome, May, 1992. Published as Advanced Visual Interfaces, T. Catarci, M. F. Costabile, and S. Levialdi, eds., World Scientific Series in Computer Science, vol. 36, Singapore: World Scientific Press, 1992. 1994 International Workshop on Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI '94), Bari, Italy, May, 1994. Proceedings published by ACM Press. d) Upcoming Conferences: VL '98, September 1-4, 1998, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. WWW: http://www.cs.dal.ca/~smedley/vl98/ e) FTP-able information. ** The POLKA program visualization system, including documentation, and the Gthreads view library: site: ftp.cc.gatech.edu dir : pub/people/stasko file: polka.tar.Z gthread.Animations.tar.Z gthread.KSRtracing.tar.Z ** A technical report describing the NL visual language is available from: site: probitas.cs.utas.edu.au ( dir : pub/TR file: R93-11.ps.Z [ this file appears to be renamed as TR93-11.ps.Z ] ** Executables for ChemTrains and NoPumpGII: site: ftp.cs.colorado.edu dir : pub/cs/distribs/clewis/NATP ** Annotated Bibliography on Graph Drawing Algorithms site: wilma.cs.brown.edu ( dir : /pub file: gdbiblio.tex.Z and gdbiblio.ps.Z ** Prograph source archives site: ftp.iup.edu dir : info-prograph ** Papers, user manuals and Sun 4 binaries for CODE 2.0 site: pompadour.csres.utexas.edu dir : ParProg/code2 site: ftp.cs.utexas.edu dir : pub/techreports ** Source, manuals and papers for HeNCE 1.4 site: netlib2.cs.utk.edu dir : hence or through xnetlib ** Escalanate source/binaries & users' guide site: cs.colorado.edu dir : /pub/distribs/escalante file: README ** LabVIEW ftp sites site: ftp.natinst.com dir : support/labview site: ftp.pica.army.mil dir : pub/labview *** GIL papers and GIL toolkit, including theorem prover site: ftp.cs.ucsb.edu dir : /pub/gil/papers file: README dir : /pub/gil file: [toolkit] ** HyperPascal papers site: smee.massey.ac.nz ( dir : plyons file: PICSIL.ps, PICSIL.st (stuffit compressed Word file) file: hyperpas.ps, hyperpas.st ** [G&H93a] and [G&H93b] site: ftp.cs.waikato.ac.nz dir : /ftp/pub/papers/postscript/ file: mviews, spe ** VIPR papers site: ftp.cs.colorado.edu dir : /pub/techreports/{citrin/zorn}/ file: CU-CS-672-93.ps.Z ([CITRIN93a]) CU-CS-673-93.ps.Z ([CITRIN93b]) VOOP-VIPR.ps.Z ([CITRIN94]) ** Hypersignal paper [Carlson94] send email to info-dspxblk@hyperception.com. f) Graduate programs that include visual programming. [ send a blurb about profs, languages, courses at your favorite grad school to me so I can include it here!!! ] ### George Mason University: GRADUATE PROGRAMS AT GMU: Degree programs available include the M.A. or M.F.A. in Visual Information Technology in the College of Arts & Sciences (centering on computer imaging and animation in electronic and digital media technology), the M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Instructional Technology (Graduate School of Education), or the M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science or computational statistics (School of Information Technology & Engineering). CONTACT POINT: Dr. Chris Dede Graduate School of Education George Mason University 4400 University Drive Fairfax, VA 22030-4444 cdede@gmu.edu ASSISTANTSHIPS: Research Assistantship for Virtual Reality ### Waikato University, New Zealand We are currently conducting research into software development environments which support integrated visual and textual programming (i.e. being able to specify a program using both techniques with full bi-directional consistency management). Included in this is support for collaborative visual (& textual) programming, version control and configuration management for visual (& textual) programs, and flexible user interface specification and generation. We are building both an environment which supports these facilities and an environment generator/OO framework for more easily constructing such systems. This work is a follow on to our earlier SPE/MViews research. CONTACT POINT: Dr John Grundy Department of Computer Science University of Waikato Private Bag 3105 Hamilton New Zealand jgrundy@waikato.ac.nz ### Auckland University, New Zealand CONTACT POINT: Dr John Hosking Department of Computer Science University of Auckland Private Bag Auckland New Zealand j.hosking@cs.aukuni.ac.nz ### Massey University, New Zealand I'm currently running a small research program at Massey University, in New Zealand (that's in the South Pacific) investigating the implications of applying hypertechniques to visual programming languages. The vehicle for this research is a language called HyperPascal, implemented in Prolog with extensions to support object-orientation, and mutual real-time updating of multiple-window systems. Contact me (p.lyons@massey.ac.nz) for more information about possible projects at Masterate, Doctoral or Post-doctoral levels. CONTACT POINT: Dr. Paul Lyons Computer Science Department Massey University Private Bag 11-222 Palmerston North New Zealand p.lyons@massey.ac.nz ### Oregon State University CONTACT POINT: Dr. Margaret Burnett burnett@cs.orst.edu ### University of Washington CONTACT POINT: Dr. Steven Tanimoto Dr. Alan Borning ### University of Kansas CONTACT POINT: Dr. Allen Ambler ### University of Pittsburgh CONTACT POINT: Dr. S.-K. Chang ### Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute CONTACT POINT: Dr. Ephraim P. Glinert glinert@cs.rpi.edu ### University of Colorado CONTACT POINT: Dr. Wayne Citrin citrin@cs.colorado.edu ### University of Colorado, Center for LifeLong Learning & Design The Center for LifeLong Learning & Design is creating tools and theoretical frameworks to support learners of all ages in the general context of design activities. Many of these tools are domain-oriented visual programming languages. The center offers course/degress through the University of Colorado computer science department and the Institute of Cognitive Science. We also work with the department of environmental design and fine art. Industrial affiliates include: Apple Computer Inc, NYNEX, and US WEST. CONTACT POINT: Dr. Alexander Repenning http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~ralex/ ### New Mexico State University CONTACT POINT: Dr. Joseph Pfeiffer pfeiffer@nmsu.edu ### MIT Visible Languages Lab CONTACT POINT: Dr. Henry Lieberman ### Carnegie Mellon University CONTACT POINT: Dr. Brad Myers bam@cs.cmu.edu ### Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia We are working on visual language aspects that support parallel program development, and program visualization techniques that assist parallel program debugging and performance tuning. We currently focus on message-passing programming systems. CONTACT POINT: Dr. Kang Zhang Department of Computing Macquarie University Sydney, NSW 2109 Australia kang@mpce.mq.edu.au g) Other newsgroups. The newsgroup comp.lang.prograph was recently voted into existence and should soon appear at a newserver near you. Prograph is a commercially available visual programming language, originally for Macs, but soon to be available on a variety of platforms. Comp.soft-sys.khoros discusses various aspects of the Khoros integrated software development environment for information processing and visualization. Khoros includes the visual programming language Cantata. There is a mailing list for LabVIEW. To subscribe, send a message to: info-labview-request@pica.army.mil. There is a mailing list for Novell's AppWare project, which now includes Serius Developer. To subscribe, send a message with the contents "subscribe appware-info" to appware-info-request@adeva.org. Adeva is the AppWare developers association. (See WWW pages). h) WWW pages: # This FAQ in WWW/html format: http://union.ncsa.uiuc.edu/computing/visual.shtml [ by Dan Liberte, liberte@a.cs.uiuc.edu ] # VL'97 conference home page: http://www.unisa.it/vl97/vl97.html # VL'96 conference home page: http://soglio.colorado.edu/Web/vl96.html # VL'95 conference home page: http://www.pu.informatik.th-darmstadt.de/vl95/ # The VPL Classification project http://www.cs.orst.edu/~burnett/vpl.html [ by Benjamin Summers, summers@storm.cs.orst.edu, and Margaret Burnett, burnett@cs.orst.edu ] # Bertrand Ibrahim http://cuiwww.unige.ch/eao/www/Visual/Visual.Programming.biblio.html [ All sorts of references to various VL/VP resources. ] http://cuiwww.unige.ch/eao/www/readme.html http://cuiwww.unige.ch/eao/www/VP.group.intro.e.html http://cuiwww.unige.ch/eao/www/CBL.papers/CBL.group.intro.e.html [ ref: Bertrand Ibrahim, Bertrand.Ibrahim@cui.unige.ch ] # Garnet home page http://www.cs.cmu.edu:8001/afs/cs.cmu.edu/project /garnet/www/garnet-home.html [ all on one line, of course ] [ ref: Brad A. Myers, bam+@cs.cmu.edu ] # Software visualization and animation system at Univ. of Exeter http://www.dcs.exeter.ac.uk/reports/reports.html#Multi-Media [ ref: Lindsey Ford ] # PROGRES ftp://ftp.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/pub/reports/1994/94-11.ps.gz # Self system http://self.sunlabs.com/ # Index of HCI-related material in the Web http://is.twi.tudelft.nl/hci/ [ ref: Hans de Graaff J.J.deGraaff@TWI.TUDelft.NL ] # Kent Wittenburg's home page, which contains some info about relational languages, multimedia parsing, etc. Also a pointer to Louis Weitzman's home page: http://www.caiwireless.net/~witsend/kentw Relational grammars: http://www.caiwireless.net/~witsend/relational-grammars-home.html [ ref: Kent Wittenburg kentw@gte.com ] # Marc Najork's PhD thesis on Cube, a 3-D visual programming lanuage http://www.research.digital.com/SRC/personal/Marc_Najork/thesis/ index.html # Prograph related pages comp.lang.prograph FAQ: http://msor0.ex.ac.uk/PrographFAQ.html Misc. stuff including screen shots of Prograph code: http://msor0.ex.ac.uk/Prograph_Talk/StartTalk.html Pictorius Web page, includes Prograph info. http://www.pictorius.com # Various software visualization projects, systems and reports: [ John Stasko, stasko@cc.gatech.edu] http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/softviz/SoftViz.html # Alex Repenning's / Agentsheet [ Alex Repenning ] Agentsheets is a programming substrate to create domain-oriented visual progrmaming languages and simulation environments. Web page refers to : - papers - LEGOsheets : programming environment for LEGO - Agentsheets Remote Exploratorium - Child's play workshop notes http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~ralex/ # Wayne Citrin's homepage [ Wayne Citrin ] http://soglio.colorado.edu/ # MEANDER homepage [ Guido Wirtz ] http://www.informatik.uni-siegen.de/~guido/papers/meander.html # Karl Lieberherr's adaptive software systems [ Salil Pradhan ] http://www.ccs.neu.edu/research/demeter # Visual programming book nook http://www.sirius.com/~freedom/BBC/VisualNookPage.html # Browser's Book Corner [ Marjan Bace] http://www.browsebooks.com # EiffelBuild visual tool page http://www.eiffel.com # Novell's AppWare home page http://netwire.novell.com/home/appware # Adeva (AppWare developers' association) page: [ Mark Sulzen ] http://www.adeva.org # CODE (visual parallel programming environment) page http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/code # DV-Centro programming environment http://www.dvcorp.com/centro.html # John Grundy's home page; misc VL info and many papers http://www.cs.waikato.ac.nz/~jgrundy/ # Forms/3 page http://www.cs.orst.edu/~burnett/Forms3/forms3.html # Signal Technology N!Power http://www.silcom.com/~stilarry # AVI'96 pages http://disparc10.dis.uniromal.it:80/AVI96/info.html --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q6: How do you talk about Visual Programming Languages in an ASCII medium (i.e., USENET)? A6: NEW FAQ ANSWER: Multiple-sided answers are needed for this question. When the VSPLM/Arizona proceedings become available, I'll include some of that here. OLD FAQ ANSWER: Good question. Debate over this one continues. Some people on comp.lang.visual suggest that it can be done, citing film criticism as a textual medium talking about a decidedly non-textual medium. Others say that, sure, you can criticize a released film, but how can you talk about a film no one has seen (and by extension, a VPL no one has made programs with)? Brook Conner (dbc@cs.brown.edu) tends to go with the first team (that meaningful discussion can take place). Textual criticism will not replace actual experience. However, it can still be valuable. After all, text is fundamentally a form of communication, just like movies, animation, hypermedia, and that old standby, speech. The fact that there are some things text does not do well is probably why many of us are interested in VPLs in the first place, but I don't think anyone on this group would say "Text is useless." --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q7: VP paper classification project. A7: We have developed a classification scheme for classifying visual programming language research papers. As part of this work, we compiled a bibliography of papers classified by their _original authors_ according to this scheme. This bibliography is now available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.cs.orst.edu/~burnett/vpl.html If there are research papers you've written that you'd like to have added to the bibliography, pick up a copy of the report and send us a list of your papers classified according to the classification scheme described in the report. We'll update the bibliography from time to time. Please include the phrase VPLclassification in your email header. Margaret Burnett Oregon State University burnett@cs.orst.edu --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q8: What are some references about visual query languages? A8: Thom Gillespie's dissertation is titled "VisualMelvyl, a prototype model of a visual interface for an online public access catalog." It includes all the reasoning and every visual element in the interface, hundreds of pictures. Available through UMI as order number 9228661. I'd also suggest looking at Scott Kim's diss from Stanford on the Visual Computer. He's a graphic artist who did his dissertation with Knuth, very interesting. [Note, at least some readers think that Kim's work has very little, if any, to do with this topic. -DM] There are a number of visual query language ideas that are not diagrammatic, which may be more helpful to you than the diagrammatic ones. Have you looked in the annual proceedings of the Visual Language Workshops? (title: 19?? IEEE Workshop on Visual Languages). For example, there's an interesting paper in the 1992 proceedings by Del Bimbo et al. in which the query is basically a simplified picture of the desired results. A longer version of that paper appeared in the Journal of Visual Languages and Computing 3(3), Sept. 1992. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q9: What are some references for component-based software? A9: Is anyone familiar with the idea of component based software construction? Look at Parts, from Digitalk. It is commercial example of what you are talking about. A couple of books related to the idea were pointed out, such as Grady Booch's "Software Components with Ada". Along the same line is the book "A Systematic Catalogue of Reusable Abstract Data Types" by Jurgen Uhl and Hans Albrecht Schmid (Springer-Verlag, ISBN 0-387-53229-3). Other components libraries can be found in Smalltalk, Gnu G++, the NIH C++ class library. Commercial sources include Digitalk, ParcPlace and Mediashare. Papers on the subject suggested by others include: Stovsky, MP, and Weide, BW, "Building Interprocess Communication Models Using STILE," in _Visual Programming Envinroments: Paradigms and Systems_, EP Glinert, ed., IEEE Press, 1990, 566-574. David C. Smith, Joshua Susser (1992) A Component Architecture for Personal Computer Software. In Brad A. Myers (ed.) Languages for Developing User Interfaces. Jones and Bartlett, Boston, pp: 31-56. Graphical Toolkit Approach to User Interaction Description Kosuke Tatsukawa Proc CHI'91 (ACM) ISBN 0-201-51278-5 pp 322-328 ** Mike McMahon of Oberon has the following to say: Now, with component assembly, you have to ask where the components come from. Often as not, textual programming is needed to produce non-GUI and/or non-database components. Whether this programming is done only by the supplier, by ISVs, in the same company as the customer, or by the actual user of the visual programming language varies, and depends more on the marketing strategy of the product than the capabilities of the visual system. Somewhat arbitrarily, I think one could draw the line by saying that a tool qualifies as a visual programming language if it is possible to build some application without textual programming. This means that the components available (from whereever) are reusable enough and the visual part powerful enough. Again arbitrarily, this excludes tools where some part of any conceivable application would be textual, such as NeXT Interface Builder or Lotus Notes ViP Visual Links, even though these tools allow some visual specification of the application control structure in addition to just the GUI. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q10: Doesn't everyone agree that VL is great? A10: Heck, no! In fact, some pretty well-respected people have nothing but contempt for the visual representation of software. In a very famous article [Brooks87] Fred Brooks says this: A favorite subject for PhD dissertations in software engineering is graphical, or visual, programming - the application of computer graphics to software design.... Nothing even convincing, much less exciting, has yet emerged from such efforts. I am persuaded that nothing will. Of course, Brooks' arguments contain several weaknesses: 1) He focuses on flowchart-based control-flow diagrams. 2) He is worried about screen size in pixels. Phil Cox has presented a strong argument why this may not be meaningful. 3) I think he misunderstands the power of multiple views - not superimposed views. ------------- Another anti-vl quote: ...beware the claims of visual programming. Drawing lines between objects becomes bafflingly web-like. Purely visual programming is not yet and may never be viable. [OBrien93] --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q11: What work has been done in specifying visual language grammars? A11: Much work has been done. Here are some references broken down into the style of grammar used... * Parsing pictures with text: [Helm91a] [Wittenburg91] [Golin90, Golin91c] [Lakin86] * Visual Grammars: This work focuses on using non-textual grammars to specify the behavior of a language or system. ChemTrains: [Bell93, Bell91] Vampire: [McIntyre92b, McIntyre92c] BITPICT: [Furnas91] Visual Grammar Notation: [Lakin87] * Combination: This work combines graphical productions with textual productions. [StDenis90] --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q12: What is the Deutsch Limit? A12: A term made up by Fred Lakin describing a comment Peter Deutsch made at a VL talk by Scott Kim and Warren Robinett about a visual machine language they had invented. Deutsch said something like: "Well, this is all fine and well, but the problem with visual programming languages is that you can't have more than 50 visual primitives on the screen at the same time. How are you going to write an operating system?" This points out the obvious density advantage of text. This barrier has become known as the "Deutsch Limit," stated as: The problem with visual programming is that you can't have more than 50 visual primitives on the screen at the same time. [ Above by Fred Lakin, below by Dave McIntyre ] This is clearly a problem with visual representations. However, it is not immediately clear to me that a similar limit does not also exist in textual languages. When textually programming I frequently use an Emacs window with about 50 lines of text on my 19" monitor. Anyone older than about 35 complains that they cannot read the text because the font is too small. I use a lot of whitespace in my programs, so we might assume that the 50 lines in the editor contain 40 meaningful line. Most common programming styles dictate limiting the number of "primitives" or statements to one or two per line, giving my textual screen at most 80 primitives. Any comments? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q13: What commercially available toolkits could help in VL programming? A13: [Note: these sections contain blurbs from ads...I'm not writing this] 1) Tom Sawyer's Graph Layout Toolkit. Tom Sawyer's Graph Layout Toolkit is a family of portable libraries that deliver an immediate face-lift to graphics applications with its sophisticated layout algorithms. [Seems to include several different layout algorithms for different style networks.] info from: info@tomsawyer.com / 510-848-0853 / Berkeley, CA --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Q14: Calls for Papers IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - September 1-4, 1998 Sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society VL '98 is the premiere international conference on visual computer languages. The aim of this symposium is to bring together researchers and industrial professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds to present and discuss their ongoing work on visual communication with computers. We are interested in visual computer languages in the broad sense of the term, ranging from high-level graphical tools for programming professionals, to graphical database query languages, to languages for children to create simulation environments. In past years attendees have come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including human-computer interaction, programming languages theory and practice, psychology of programmers, computer-aided design, multimedia, database systems, geographical information systems, software engineering, and computer science education. We also draw participants from both industry and academia, including students as well as professionals. This year we are particularly interested in increasing attendance from the human psychology community, including human computer interaction, empirical studies (qualitative as well as quantitative), psychology of programmers, and related fields. The technical program will include research and practice papers, posters, panels, keynote addresses by distinguished speakers, and special events. Submissions Papers can be original research papers (maximum 8 pages ), original application/case studies (maximum 6 pages), or poster papers (maximum 2 pages) in IEEE two-column proceeding format. Authors must identify the paper's category. In addition we are interested in tutorial proposals and live demonstrations. Original research papers should make clear what new contribution the work makes to visual languages, and how it differs from related works; original case study/application papers should describe the use of one or more VLs in the real world. Such papers are especially encouraged if they report on ways to use VLs or applications of VLs that have not been reported before. Poster papers are most suitable for interactive discussion. Deadlines Abstracts: February 27, 1998 All authors intending to submit a paper must submit, by e-mail, a 150 word abstract of the paper. These will not be reviewed, but will be used to select reviewers, and thus are essential to enable us to have the papers reviewed in a timely manner. Papers: March 13, 1998 All papers will be submitted electronically, in postscript format. Details of electronic submission will be made available shortly. Notification to authors of acceptance: May 1, 1998 Final camera-ready manuscript: July 3, 1998 Technical Committee General Chair: Genny Tortora, Italy Program Co-Chairs: David McIntyre, USA Trevor Smedley, Canada Tutorials Chair: Joe Pfeiffer, US Steering Committee: S.K. Chang, USA Allen Ambler, USA Tadao Ichikawa, Italy Erland Jungert, Sweden Robert Korfhage, USA Stefano Levialdi, Italy Steven Tanimoto, USA Program Committee: Meera Blattner, USA Margaret Burnett, USA Wayne Citrin, USA Francesca Costabile, Italy Philip T. Cox, Canada Isabel Cruz, USA Alberto Del Bimbo, Italy Stephen Eick, USA Ephraim Glinert, USA Thomas Green, United Kingdom John C. Grundy, New Zealand Volker Haarslev, Germany Masahito Hirakawa, Japan H.J. Hoffmann, Germany Chris Holt, United Kingdom John Hosking, New Zealand Dan Kimura, USA Kim Marriott, Australia Satoshi Matsuoka, Japan Paul Mulholland, United Kingdom Piero Mussio, Italy Marc Najork, USA Alex Repenning, USA Andy Schuerr, Germany John Stasko, USA Susan M. Uskudarli, USA Susan Weidenbeck, USA Kang Zhang, Australia For further information, contact: Dr. Trevor Smedley, Dalhousie University, Faculty of Computer Science, PO Box 1000, Halifax, NS, Canada, B3J 2X4 e-mail: Trevor.Smedley@dal.ca Fax: 1-902-492-1517 Or visit the website: http://www.cs.dal.ca/~smedley/vl98 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- References: @inproceedints{Beguelin91, author="A. Beguelin et al.", title="Graphical Development Tools for Newtork-Based Concurrent Supercomputing", booktitle="Proc. 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Talley", year="1991", month="December", volume="2", number="4", journal=jvlc, pages="347--370"} String definitions used in the above references: @string{ieeec = "IEEE Computer"} @string{jvlc = "J. Visual Languages and Computing"} @string{ieeese = "IEEE Trans. Software Engineering"} @string{ieees = "IEEE Software"} @string{ieeecga = "IEEE CG \& A"} @string{hci = "Human Computer Interaction"} @string{toplas = "ACM Trans. Programming Languages and Systems"} @string{vl84 = "Proc. 1984 IEEE Workshop Visual Languages"} @string{vl86 = "Proc. 1986 IEEE Workshop Visual Languages"} @string{vl87 = "Proc. 1987 IEEE Workshop Visual Languages"} @string{vl88 = "Proc. 1988 IEEE Workshop Visual Languages"} @string{vl89 = "Proc. 1989 IEEE Workshop Visual Languages"} @string{vl90 = "Proc. 1990 IEEE Workshop Visual Languages"} @string{vl91 = "Proc. 1991 IEEE Workshop Visual Languages"} @string{vl92 = "Proc. 1992 IEEE Workshop Visual Languages"} @string{vl93 = "Proc. 1993 IEEE Symposium Visual Languages"} @string{vl94 = "Proc. 1994 IEEE Symposium Visual Languages"} @string{vl95 = "Proc. 1995 IEEE Symposium Visual Languages"} @string{vl96 = "Proc. 1996 IEEE Symposium Visual Languages"} @string{cacm = "Commun. ACM"} @string{byte = "BYTE"} @string{oopsla88 = "Proc. OOPSLA '88"} --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Acknowledgements: This work has been significantly enhanced through input from: Margaret Burnett burnett@cs.orst.edu Nick Wilde wilde@sigi.cs.colorado.edu Brendan Madden bmadden@tomsawyer.com Ron Dolin rad@sbhep.physics.ucsb.edu Fred Lakin lakin@pgc.com Michael Bell mbell@compsci.liverpool.ac.uk John Morris morris@probitas.cs.utas.edu.au Wayne Citrin citrin@cs.colorado.edu Kent Wittenburg kentw@bellcore.com Marc Brown mhb@src.dec.com Marc Najork najork@src.dec.com Brigham Bell bbell@advtech.uswest.com Peter Newton newton@cs.utk.com Makoto Murata murata@wrc.xerox.com Brian Powell brian@natinst.com John Grundy jgrundy@waikato.ac.nz Dan Liberte liberte@a.cs.uiuc.edu Bertrand Ibrahim Bertrand.Ibrahim@cui.unige.ch Nicholas Tarnoff tarnoff@cme.nist.gov Stefan Pantke sp@informatik.uni-kiel.d400.de Bernd Gruendling bernd@gobio.escape.de John Garden gardenj@prograph.com Jutta Degener jutta@cs.tu-berlin.de Mike McMahon mmcm@oberon.com Greg McKaskle greg.mckaskle@natinst.com Guido Wirtz guido@informatik.uni-siegen.de Salil Pradhan salil@ccs.neu.edu Larry Pfeifer stilarry@signal.com Eric Jacopin jacopin@thomson-lcr.fr Bertrand Meyer bertrand@eiffel.com Mark Sulzen Mark_Sulzen@novell.com Emery Berger emery@cs.texas.edu Alex Repenning ralex@cs.colorado.edu Dave Clark dclark@dvcorp.com Marjan Bace maba@manning.com Brian Carlson brian@hyperception.com Paula Minnikin pminni@pictorius.com Bay-Wei Chang bchang@parc.xerox.com --------------------------------------------------------------------------- David McIntyre mcintyre@wizvax.net 212-409-3574