Updated : Oct 25, 2020 in Uncategorized

Dagstuhl Seminar End – User Software Engineering

I have already been reading this abstracts paper from the Dagstuhl Seminar End-User Software Engineering and it has lots of interesting points to make.

In the Dagstuhl Seminar report (Burnett et al) it is stated that “The variety of end users creating software is far larger than the number of professional programmers. These end users are using various languages and development systems to create software in forms such as spreadsheets, dynamic web programs, and scientific simulations. This software needs to be sufficiently dependable, but significant evidence suggests that it is not. ” This point relates to that of (Ko) (Carnegie Mellon University) who explains that the objectives of end-users may be unrelated to production of code, but instead they may be interested in their domain problem, this implies they perceive programming barriers since distractions. Ko explains that end-user programmers must be allowed to focus on their particular goals, and an important part of the solution is to visualise the whole program execution not just the output. A further problem discussed by Ko is that of applications which were intended to be temporary plus owned by a particular person becoming central to a company, this often occurs with spreadsheets.

(Henry Lieberman) associated with MIT Media Laboratory asks “Why is it so much harder to system a computer than simply to use a computer program? I can’t think of any good reason why this really is so; we just happen to possess a tradition of arcane programming languages and mystically complex software advancement techniques. We can do much better. ” He argues that researchers ought to use program transformation, and visualisation to make the end-user programming process as automatic as possible. In order that people may become End-User Software Engineers without their even realizing it. This must involve interdisciplinary research to combine various research approaches. (Blackwell) also states the need for interdisciplinary research on the end-user programming problem to identify techniques within software engineering that can assist with this problem.

(Coutaz) explains how Model Powered Engineering and Service Oriented Structures can be combined. Coutaz also clarifies that “An interactive system is the graph of models related by mappings and transformations. ” This would fit in well with the structure associated with RDF (Resource Description Framework) a Semantic Web standard, which is also the graph structure. Alexander Repenning of University of Lugano explains the advantages of enhancements to UML (Unified Modeling Language) to aid end-user programming. (Engels) of University of Paderborn also explains that UML should be extended to allow development of user interfaces in order to assist end-users to program. (Repenning) also argues that “Visual programming languages using drag and drop mechanisms as programming approach allow it to be virtually impossible to create syntactic errors. ” So “With the syntactic challenge being – more or less : out of the way we can focus on the semantic level of end-user programming. ” (Rosson) of Pennsylvania State University also explains about creation of an online drag and drop interface. Abraham and (Erwig) of Oregon State University integrate spreadsheet modelling in to the UML modelling process. (Gerhard Fischer) of University of Colorado describes the concept of meta-design as aimed at developing infrastructures for collaborative design supposing future uses and problems cannot be completely anticipated during development of a process. (Dittrich) of University of Copenhagen argues that more research is required into the software lifecycle and methods and tools needed for end-user programmers, especially when they are collaborating. These end-users often need to adjust old software for new purposes. (Costabile and Piccinno) also explain that new methodologies and environments are required for helping end-user collaborative development

(De Souza) argues that the goal of human-computer interaction (HCI) will evolve from making systems easy to use to making systems that are easy to develop. Lieberman also argues that HCI experts possess concentrated on ease of use and should examine ease of programming.
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(Begel) of Microsof company Research explains that if programming is left only to programmers rather than permitting domain experts to be involved this program becomes a black box and the website expert cannot trust or confirm the results. He explains that textual content based computer languages are often as well obscure for end-user programmers. Begel also explains that end-users might lack an engineering mindset to create mental models of how to make the computer perform what they want. Segal of the Open University or college argues that professional engineers possess a history of programming so can be distinguished from other end-user programmers as having less problems with coding. (Fischer) points out that it is the mismatches between end-users needs and software support that allows new understandings. Fischer also argues that software development can never be completely delegated to software professionals because domain experts are the only people that fully understand the domain specific tasks that must be performed. He furthermore argues for an approach to enabling end-user programming that makes it interesting to end-users. He explains that often the problem is that end-users find programming boring instead of that they find it hard. (Spahn ou al) explains that end-users of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) techniques are domain experts not IT professionals, and this is forcing them to communicate their needs to IT programmers. Spahn et al argue for your empowerment of users to customise software by providing an abstraction coating to hide technical details and allow intended for concentrating on business needs.

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