visual language compilers (Eric J. Golin)
Tue, 26 Nov 91 13:30:04 -0600

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Eric J. Golin)
Keywords: design
Organization: Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
References: 91-11-064
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 91 13:30:04 -0600

Morgan Woodson asks:
>My idea is to forget textual languages altogether and use visual
>languages. <...> I've found NOTHING on how this stuff is implemented.
>"Compilation" and code generation for visual programs seems to be either
>a big secret or a black art. Academic contributions (read: not proprietary)
>are certainly needed.

Most early efforts to develop visual languages, and most of the commercial
systems take an ad-hoc approach, using a special purpose interface for
creating and processing visual programs. This is partly a result of a
lack of models and tools (such as yacc) for visual languages.

There has been a substantial amount of academic research on visual
languages published - look at the annual IEEE Workshop on Visual
Languages, and the Journal of Visual Languages and Computing. You might
also look at the following:

S. K. Chang, "Visual Languages: A Tutorial and Survey", in IEEE Software,
4(1), January, 1987, pp. 29-39.

Shi-Kuo Chang, Michael J. Tauber, Bing Yu, and Jing-Sheng Yu,
"A Visual Language Compiler", in IEEE Trans. on Software
Engineering, 15(5), May, 1989, pp. 506-525.

and in the October, 1990 issue of IEEE Trans. on Software Engineering,
which had a special section on Visual Programming.

Eric J. Golin
Dept. of Computer Science uiucdcs!golin
Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1304 W. Springfield Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801-2987 USA (217) 333-4862

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