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Colloquium - McCall

Programming for Designers and Other Non-programmers
Raymond McCall
College of Architecture and Planning
12/12/2007
11:30am-1:00pm

It used to be that the world was neatly divided into programmers and non-programmers. These days, however, people in many occupations do some coding as part of their normal work. Such people seldom have the job-title "programmer," nor do they think of themselves as programmers. The code written includes things as diverse as 1) spreadsheet macros, 2) JavaScript, PHP and Flash-ActionScript for websites and 3) MEL-scripts for 3D animations in Alias -- to name only a few of the many examples. There is thus a sort of coding ecology with niches for people with many different types and levels of expertise.

An interesting question is what sorts of programming environments best support the work of casual and part-time coders. My experiences in teaching Flash-ActionScript to undergraduate environmental design students suggest some answers to this question that might be surprising. In particular, they suggest that a number of the standard doctrines of professional programming may be inappropriate for programming by visually oriented designers, such as architects, urban designers, interior designers, industrial designers and website designers. In this talk I will give a brief overview of how Flash-ActionScript works, show the work of my students, and describe a style of graphically oriented programming that Flash-ActionScript has made possible. I will also describe how this style enables my current students to be more than ten times as productive as my previous students were using Pascal, Java and JavaScript.

Sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning & Design.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
webmaster@cs.colorado.edu
www.cs.colorado.edu
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