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Traditional approaches to coding interactive programs, even literate programming, suffer from the problem of focusing on what the computer will do, not what the user wants it to do. The algorithmic code is primary and any documentation secondary, especially user documentation. Help facilities appear to be added as an almost independent exercise. We can solve this problem by focusing on the user documentation and regarding the algorithmic code as a mere adjunct. The production of an interactive program should start with the user documentation, with the majority of effort spent on developing and refining that documentation and its structure. Developers should add algorithmic code for any program module only after its documentation is complete and all parties have tested and agreed to it. This perspicuous programming approach seeks to produce programs for the user that are as unenigmatic as possible. With a touch of blithely false etymology, we could call this igmatic programming instead. Take your pick.
Date of Publication: April 2003