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Richard O'Keefe, Department of Computer Science


"Why can't I see the structure?"


Owheo G34 - 1:00 pm, Friday 15 July


More than 40 years after the book "Structured Programming" by Dahl, Dijkstra, Hoare appeared, structured programming -- programming paradigm aimed at improving the clarity, quality, and development time of a computer program -- has conquered. Languages like Java and JavaScript don't even have a goto statement (although C# does).

So why can't I see the structure?

When someone gives me 300 lines of Java, why do I experience the same levels of dread Fortran 66 used to arouse? (And I have over 1300 3rd-party Java files with more than 1000 lines. 300 is small.) Partly it's Java's verbosity and programs written with little use of abstraction.

But mostly it's because the pieces are connected in important ways and those connections have to be painfully reconstructed from the code because they aren't visible there.

This talk reports on work in progress to discover what kinds of structure I as a reader want to know about but are shown neither in the code nor in diagrams.

Last modified: Wednesday, 20-Jul-2016 17:42:07 NZST

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