Software Open Access

Artifact: Adding Interactive Visual Syntax to Textual Code

Andersen, Leif; Ballantyne, Michael; Felleisen, Matthias

Many programming problems call for coding geometrical thoughts: tables, hierarchical structures, nests of objects, trees, forests, graphs, and so on. Linear text does not do justice to such thoughts. But, it has been the dominant programming medium for the past and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

This paper proposes a mechanism for conveniently extending textual programming languages with problem-specific visual syntax. It argues the necessity of this language feature, demonstrates the feasibility with a robust prototype, and sketches a design plan for adapting the idea to other languages.

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