Supporting the migration from construal to program : rethinking software development
Pope, N. W. (2011) Supporting the migration from construal to program : rethinking software development. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Creative software design, where there is no theory, no pre-computer precedent,
no set of requirements or even necessarily an objective, challenges all existing software
development methods. There can be no assumption that end-users know what they
want. Each and every situation is unique, unpredictable and due to feedback is continually
changing. Fixed solutions developed by non-domain experts are all but impossible in
more unconventional systems, and increasingly there may not be domain experts at all.
Allowing individuals or groups of non-professionals to program is one approach (End-User
Development). However, programming requires a degree of formality, design and specification that cannot co-exist with the most informal pre-theoretical applications which
need to be developed by exploratory experimentation to help with problem-solving and
sense-making. Instead of programming a finished application from the beginning, there
is a need to develop personal, provisional and subjective models and evolve these into
public, objective and assured applications. Developing these models \on-line" through
interactive experimentation is essential and it is the objective of Empirical Modelling
(EM) research to enable the modelling of sense-making artefacts called construals.
Whilst existing EM tools are able to support construals there is a need to see
how a smooth transition from construals to applications can be made. Such a migration
is not one-way as the resulting applications need to remain plastic. The aim of this
thesis is to explore and develop ways of enhancing EM principles and tools to better
support such migrations from construals to programs.
By first identifying key characteristics of construals and associated principles and
techniques, along with a critique of the existing EM tool, a new kind of environment
for plastic software development is proposed. A major contribution of this thesis is the
development of such a prototype environment which is illustrated using a collection of
artefacts developed within it. From the prototype, called Cadence, an informal and a
formal idealised account was elicited to provide a framework for this kind of development
activity. The ideas explored in the thesis have the potential to impact upon the operating
systems community and the everyday computer user in radical ways if taken forward.
The thesis demonstrates that applications can be developed from construals without a
translation step, keeping the resulting applications plastic.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Electronic computers. Computer science. Computer software|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Software architecture, Computer software -- Development -- Computer programs|
|Official Date:||August 2011|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of Computer Science|
|Extent:||xx, 264 leaves : ill.|
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