Non-syntactic, end-user, functional programming

(This is an edited version of a post made on April 11 that somehow became inaccessible from my main blog page.)

I have a draft paper called “Functional Programming by Interacting with Concrete Values”. I’m very excited about this research direction as a way to let people program without turning them into programmers. A concrete form of this goal is enable artists to make and share their own software tools (parameterized image effects), while staying in an artistic creative mode.

An excerpt from the introduction:

Suppose users of interactive programs could also create such programs with a simple extension of their current style of interaction. First, such a development would enable many more people to create and share computational content. Second, it would allow this content to be created without imposing the abstract, linguistic mode of creativity. This freedom may give birth to new kinds of programs whose creation is nurtured by a concrete and visual environment.

Comments please (related work, ideas, typos, unclear bits, etc)!

Edit 2008-04-17: The paper didn’t get accepted in 2006. Thanks to very helpful review comments, and a lot of rewriting, the paper did get accepted in 2007, under the title “Tangible functional programming”.


  1. Anonymous:

    I am very interested in this and visual representations of dataflow via arrows,comonads, applicative functors or whatever. What happened to the eros download? I could not get the last one to work due to all of the dependencies of wxwindows, haskell plugin,etc. You mentioned some time back there would be a new version?

    kmiller(three)cop at yahoo dot com

  2. Conal:

    I’m glad to know you’re interested. Currently hs-plugins is broken, but Don S says he’ll work on it next week during the GHC Hackathon. Meanwhile, I’ve been refactoring Eros to make its implementation more approachable.

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