Doug Orleans dougo at
Tue Jul 26 00:15:32 UTC 1994

 > > Now, of course, Jecel's point about replacing the ODL with the
 > > graphical boxes begs the question "Why not replace the MPL as well?"
 > > This could be really cool in 3D: the objects are
 > > things/vehicles/robots in the world. Open up access panels (slots) and
 > > see the engines (methods) driving the object. Move some gears around,
 > > reconnect some wires, and you've changed the object's method. Blocks
 > > become little engine components -- by putting them in the right place
 > > (i.e., lexical context) they do the right thing.
 > It seems that great minds think alike :-).  Back in 89 I came up with
 > a "visual Smalltalk", very similar to your idea, for a keyboardless
 > computer for children. Click on the object with the hand cursor and
 > make it do somthing. Click on it with the screwdriver cursor and it
 > opens up to reveal the internal circuits. Complex drawings have some
 > problems ( as a hardware designer, I should know! ) so I later switched
 > to animation to bring using/prgramming/debugging closer together. I
 > already described this here some time ago, so I won't go into more
 > detail right now.

I attended a talk at Xerox PARC last month where Ken Kahn demonstrated
his programming system "ToonTalk", which was exactly this, with an
animated toolkit full of boxes (for slots/variables), robots who could
be taught actions (methods), etc.  It was very impressive, both in
terms of the animation and the choice of metaphors.  I don't know what
sort of information about the project exists on the net; is anyone on
this list familiar with it?

--dougo at

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