AN EDITOR FOR PARAMETRIC PROGRAMS
Original Publication Date: 1976-Jun-25
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2007-Mar-30
Software Patent Institute
Kruskal, Vincent J.: AUTHOR [+2]
AN EDITOR FOR PARAMETRIC PROGRAMSVincent J, KruskalThomas J. Watson Research CenterYorktown Heights, New York 10598ABSTRACT: A new kind of editor for programs has been implemented in prototype form. This editor makes use of color graphics to help the user keep track of different versions of his programs and to keep him constantly informed of any errors in his programs. This editor was originally designed as an aid to building application customizers. However, it has since become clear that it will have much broader applicability. RC 6070
AN EDITOR FOR PARAMETRIC PROGRAMS
Vincent J, Kruskal
Thomas J. Watson Research Center
Yorktown Heights, New York 10598
ABSTRACT: A new kind of editor for programs has
been implemented in prototype form. This editor
makes use of color graphics to help the user keep
track of different versions of his programs and to
keep him constantly informed of any errors in his
programs. This editor was originally designed as
an aid to building application customizers.
However, it has since become clear that it will
have much broader applicability.
6/25/76 . Computer
A team of six people within the Research Division's
Automatic Programming Group have built a prototype of an
interactive editor to try out three new aids to program
maintenance and modification[ll . While the prototype still
has many rough edges, it is capable of dramatic
demonstration of all these new ideas. We invite the curious
to come and play with the system. Many of the nice features
of our editor come from it being interactive. I will assume
the reader is already familiar with some such editor and
restrict myself to the virtues of our system beyond those of
of a simple interactive editor. There are three new
I - Editor is syntax oriented rather than text
oriented. The editor knows the syntax of the programming
language and keeps the program internally as a tree. A
de-parser is used to display the program as "pretty-printed"
text, so the syntax orientation is not obvious at first
Whenever the user points with his light-pen at a
character in the program it is interpreted as pointing to
some node of the internal tree and the phrase corresponding
to that node starts blinking on and off. For example,
pointing at the plus or either parenthesis in A-(B+C) causes
(B+C) to blink and pointing at the minus causes the whole
thing to blink. The system responds to such a phrase
selection by presenting a menu of permitted editor command.
The items on this menu differ quite a bit for different
kinds of phrases.
Such a syntax orientation of an editor permits richer
editor commands and prevents many kinds of gross structural
programming errors in a natural way.
The prototype currently exists in two flavors: one
which knows about BDL-DTC , a locally developed language
for writing business applications, and the other which knows
about a PL/I subset. The original prototype, for BDL-DTC,
was written with the possibility of supporting additional
languages in mind. As a consequence, it took someone who
was only partially familiar with the system two months to
get the PL/I version going. It is quite possible that an
RPG version will be built shortly.
I1 - Editor checks programming
errors after each editor
command. The user is thus kept comple...