Dr. David J. Pearce

Graceful Language Extensions and Interfaces

Author(s). Michael Homer.

Venue. PhD Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, 2014.

Abstract: Grace is a programming language under development aimed at education. Grace is object-oriented, imperative, and block-structured, and intended for use in first- and second-year object-oriented programming courses. We present a number of language features we have designed for Grace and implemented in our self-hosted compiler. We describe the design of a pattern-matching system with object-oriented structure and minimal extension to the language. We give a design for an object-based module system, which we use to build dialects, a means of extending and restricting the language available to the programmer, and of implementing domain-specific languages. We show a visual programming interface that melds visual editing (à la Scratch) with textual editing, and that uses our dialect system, and we give the results of a user experiment we performed to evaluate the usability of our interface.