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Automatic generation of visual programming environments

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4 Author(s)
Costagliola, G. ; dept. of Comput. Sci., Salerno Univ., Italy ; Tortora, G. ; Orefice, S. ; De Lucia, A.

We have developed the visual language compiler-compiler (VLCC) system to automatically generate visual programming environments. VLCC is a grammar based system that can support implementation of any visual language by assisting the language designer in defining the language's graphical objects, syntax, and semantics. The final result of the generation process includes an integrated environment with a visual editor and a compiler for the defined visual language. In VLCC, graphical tools define visual languages to create both graphical objects and composition rules. Visual editors enable language designers to directly and visually manipulate the syntax of these languages. To capture the widest range of visual languages, the VLCC system can be configured for a specific language class. Different language classes can be characterized depending on their graphical objects' structure and on the way they can be composed. Also, box and arrow diagrams are defined for primitive objects with attaching points and for composition rules to join boxes and arrows at those attaching points. After choosing the visual language type to create, the designer can concentrate on language definition details. VLCC uses the positional grammar model as its underlying grammar formalism

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 3 )