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Scenario-Based Programming, Usability-Oriented Perception

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ACM Transactions on Computing Education Volume 14, Number 3, ISSN 1946-6226


In this article, we discuss the possible connection between the programming language and the paradigm behind it, and programmers' tendency to adopt an external or internal perspective of the system they develop. Based on a qualitative analysis, we found that when working with the visual, interobject language of live sequence charts (LSC), programmers tend to adopt an external and usability-oriented view of the system, whereas when working with an intraobject language, they tend to adopt an internal and implementation-oriented viewpoint. This is explained by first discussing the possible effect of the programming paradigm on programmers' perception and then offering a more comprehensive explanation. The latter is based on a cognitive model of programming with LSC, which is an interpretation and a projection of the model suggested by Adelson and Soloway [1985] onto LSC and scenario-based programming, the new paradigm on which LSC is based. Our model suggests that LSC fosters a kind of programming that enables iterative refinement of the artifact with fewer entries into the solution domain. Thus, the programmer can make less context switching between the solution domain and the problem domain, and consequently spend more time in the latter. We believe that these findings are interesting mainly in two ways. First, they characterize an aspect of problem-solving behavior that to the best of our knowledge has not been studied before--the programmer's perspective. The perspective can potentially affect the outcome of the problem-solving process, such as by leading the programmer to focus on different parts of the problem. Second, relating the structure of the language to the change in perspective sheds light on one of the ways in which the programming language can affect the programmer's behavior.


Alexandron, G., Armoni, M., Gordon, M. & Harel, D. (2014). Scenario-Based Programming, Usability-Oriented Perception. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 14(3),. Retrieved July 23, 2019 from .

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