Technical Report Number
Structured program editors can lower the entry barrier for beginning computer science students by preventing syntax errors. However, when editors force programs to be executable after every edit, a rigid development process results. We explore the use of a separate edit-time grammar that is more permissive than the runtime grammar. This helps achieve a balance between structured editing and flexibility, particularly in live development environments. JPie is a graphical programming environment that applies this separation to the live development of Java applications. We present the design goals for JPie’s edit-time grammar and describe how its implementation supports a balance between structure and flexibility. As further illustration of the benefits of a relaxed edit-time grammar, we present “mixed-mode editing,” an integration of textual and graphical editing for added flexibility.
Birnbaum, Benjamin E. and Goldman, Kenneth J., "Achieving Flexibility in Direct-Manipulation Programming Environments by Relaxing the Edit-Time Grammar" Report Number: WUCSE-2005-22 (2005). All Computer Science and Engineering Research.