Spatial Hypermedia as a programming environment
Nemhauser, B. (2018). Spatial Hypermedia as a programming environment (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12157
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12157
This thesis investigates the possibilities opened to a programmer when their programming environment not only utilises Spatial Hypermedia functionality, but embraces it as a core component. Designed and built to explore these possibilities, SpIDER (standing for Spatial Integrated Development Environment Research) is an IDE featuring not only traditional functionality such as content assist and debugging support but also multimedia integration and free-form spatial code layout. Such functionality allows programmers to visually communicate aspects of the intent and structure of their code that would be tedious—and in some cases impossible—to achieve in conventional IDEs. Drawing from literature on Spatial Memory, the design of SpIDER has been driven by the desire to improve the programming experience while also providing a flexible authoring environment for software development. The programmer’s use of Spatial Memory is promoted, in particular, by: utilising fixed sized authoring canvases; providing the capacity for landmarks; exploiting a hierarchical linking system; and having well defined occlusion and spatial stability of authored code. The key challenge in implementing SpIDER was to devise an algorithm to bridge the gap between spatially expressed source code, and the serial text forms required by compilers. This challenge was met by developing an algorithm that we have called the flow walker. We validated this algorithm through user testing to establish that participants’ interpretation of the meaning of spatially laid out code matched the flow walker’s implementation. SpIDER can be obtained at: https://sourceforge.net/projects/spatial-ide-research-spider
The University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
- Higher Degree Theses