A useful resource from the days of LabView and HP VEE is Kirsten 
Whitley's review of the empirical evidence for the value of 
those kinds of system:

Kirsten N. Whitley: Visual Programming Languages and the Empirical Evidence For 
and Against. J. Vis. Lang. Comput. 8(1): 109-142 (1997)

As I recall, one of the very few controlled studies of visual
versus text languages on an actual project used HP VEE as the
visual comparison environment.

However, in the 15 years since then, I think the consensus in 
the field is that systematic analysis and application of design 
guidances such as Thomas's cognitive dimensions is far more 
valuable than single-case comparisons.

(I also did a study with Kirsten, back in those days, when we 
solicited information from LabView users about their personal 
experience of using the system. We found out some interesting 
and entertaining things that informed later work on CDs).


> Hello Dan,
> I make my living writing LabVIEW which is drawn rather then written. I 
> presume 
> this is what you mean by VPL.
> This language would be impossible to use without a mouse. 
> Another language that used to compete in the same space as LabVIEW was HP 
> VEE. 
> It would have also been impossible to use without a mouse. 
> ________________________________
> From: Dan Stowell <dan.stow...@eecs.qmul.ac.uk>
> To: PPIG Listserve <Ppig-discuss-list@open.ac.uk>
> Cc: Thomas Green <green...@ntlworld.com>
> Sent: Tue, March 8, 2011 3:40:35 AM
> Subject: Visual and text languages
> Hi,
> I'm fairly new to the PP literature. Thomas's self-promotion led me to his 
> interesting 1996 paper on visual programming languages. "Overall, we believe 
> that in many respects VPLs offer substantial gains over conventional textual 
> languages, but at present their HCI aspects are still under-developed. 
> Improvements in secondary notation, in editing, and in searching will greatly 
> raise their overall usability."
> As someone who does a lot of work in textual languages - in particular, 
> livecoding - I'd be interested to know what the state of the literature is on 
> VPLs, especially in comparison against text languages. I haven't been able to 
> find a recent survey, any recommendations?
> (Also, as someone who has had RSI, I wonder about the accessibility of VPLs 
> via 
> purely keyboard control...)
> Best
> Dan
> On 01/03/2011 17:32, Thomas Green wrote:
> > Er, a spot of self-promotion here ..... the various types of comparison
> > I did in the past led to a framework which attempts to make some sense
> > of the underlying trade-offs, the cognitive dimensions framework,
> > developed by me and lots of other people. Stefano, if you simply want to
> > know whether your new tool works, then you probably just need to do an
> > experiment and stop; but if you want to know why it works (or doesn't),
> > you might take a look at that framework. There's a resources page here:
> > http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~afb21/CognitiveDimensions/
> > 
> > CDs analysis is quite quick, though very vague. It's actually quite
> > possible that it would reveal problems you've overlooked .....
> > 
> > Thomas
> > 
> > --
> > The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an
> > exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland
> > (SC 038302).
> -- Dan Stowell
> Postdoctoral Research Assistant
> Centre for Digital Music
> Queen Mary, University of London
> Mile End Road, London E1 4NS
> http://www.elec.qmul.ac.uk/digitalmusic/people/dans.htm
> http://www.mcld.co.uk/

Alan Blackwell
Reader in Interdisciplinary Design, University of Cambridge
Further details from www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~afb21/

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