Topic: non-constraining system

topics > computer science > programming > Group: goals for a programming system

natural language
Thesa programming system
user interface

design for change
direct engagement and theater in a user interface
evolutionary systems
fixed logic language
language flexibility
loosely structured data
open systems
user maintenance
user-centered design
user interface design
using a computer as a communication/information medium
vivid representation of programs


A non-constraining system is a structure which does not inhibit the system's users. A natural language is non-constraining. A political system should be non-constraining. Non-constraining systems provide freedom of direction and freedom of relationship. People are an important part of non-constraining systems.

Most computer systems are constraining especially fixed-logic systems like RPG. People eventually learn to work around such systems, but the process is a slow and frustrating one. (cbb 5/80)

Subtopic: system clay up

Quote: the dynamic languages Self, Smalltalk, and Lisp give you the sense of building--not writing--sofware; you watch your program emerge from objects, methods, and attributes; you try out objects as you go [»ungaD9_2007]
Quote: Hypertext is clay [»vandA7_1988]
Quote: computer scientists should help generate the living structure in the world [»alexC9_1999]
Quote: unnecessarily large gap between mental plans and programming languages

Subtopic: regularity vs. constraint up

Quote: the regularities found in a language are not sources of constraint [»ziffP_1960]
Quote: the value of a work must be estimated by its use; a dictionary must be useful to all

Subtopic: freedom up

Quote: freedom is the foundation of a state and its laws; the greatest freedom that is consistent with the freedom of every other individual [»kantI_1781, OK]

Subtopic: let users do anything, direct engagement up

Quote: let users do anything reasonable; warn about risky territory and provide reversible actions; tell users about any exceptions [»apple_1987]
Quote: a very interactive program should let you do something that really mattered at any time, and it could be anything you could think of--just like real life
Quote: direct engagement is the ideal of people engaging directly in their chosen activities; with emotional, artistic, and cognitive values [»laurB_1991]
Quote: the roll theory states that, for creativity, an individual needs access to data, without distractions, and an organization method [»bradJT5_1986]
Quote: users have the right to control a system; should be natural and intuitive [»karaCM12_1998]

Subtopic: tools as non-constraining up

Quote: users should always feel in control over tools [»potaWA_1979]
Quote: in a formalized theory, the tools are completely prescribed by its syntax; in proof-analysis, tools are unconstrained [»lakaI_1976]

Subtopic: natural up

Quote: while not intuitive, the minimalist UI feels natural after a couple of hours of training [»pikeR6_1991a]

Subtopic: request for attention up

Quote: systems should respond to a request for attention

Subtopic: easily customized up

Quote: ideally an integrated project support environment should be easily customized for an organization and its projects; not currently practical [»browAW5_1993]

Subtopic: examples up

Quote: the Apple Desktop Interface uses an event loop; respond to local requests without controlling the user's final destination; allow anything [»apple_1987]
Quote: all text is a potential command or argument; e.g., 'Open' a file name in the window's directory by clicking the left and middle buttons [»pikeR6_1991a]
Quote: TOPD was like PEARL except that it did not constrain the order of program development [»hendP9_1975]
Quote: windows in the Programmer's Assistant appear to manage themselves, though the user can change position, size, etc. [»teitW3_1977]
Quote: Pilot has few, artificial limits on the size and complexity of applications
Quote: the processed data of OZ does not obscure information or make decisions for the operator

Subtopic: system limitations up

Quote: with interactive programs there is an overwhelming sense of something being in the way; cognitive train wrecks; limitations and constraints [»laurB_1991]
Quote: people can get used to, and even promote, anything

Related Topics up

Group: natural language   (16 topics, 539 quotes)
Group: systems   (17 topics, 530 quotes)
Group: Thesa programming system   (11 topics, 561 quotes)
Group: user interface   (75 topics, 1639 quotes)

Topic: design for change (76 items)
Topic: direct engagement and theater in a user interface (35 items)
Topic: evolutionary systems (47 items)
Topic: fixed logic language (7 items)
Topic: language flexibility (34 items)
Topic: loosely structured data (20 items)
Topic: open systems (33 items)
Topic: rules (43 items)
Topic: user maintenance (13 items)
Topic: user-centered design (65 items)
Topic: user interface design (36 items)
Topic: using a computer as a communication/information medium (32 items)
Topic: vivid representation of programs
(22 items)

Updated barberCB 9/04
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Thesa is a trademark of C. Bradford Barber.