Descriptions for a Programming Environment

Ira P. Goldstein, Daniel G. Bobrow

PIE is an experimental personal information environment implemented in Smalltalk that uses a description language to support the interactive development of programs. PIE contains a network of nodes, each of which can be assigned several perspectives. Each perspective describes a different aspect of the program structure represented by the node, and provides specialized actions from that point of view. Contracts can be created that monitor nodes describing different parts of a program’s description. Contractual agreements are expressible as formal constraints, or, to make the system failsafe, as English text interpretable by the user. Contexts and layers are used to represent alternative designs for programs described in the network. The layered network database also facilitates cooperative program design by a group, and coordinated, structured documentation.

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