Frame-Based Editing

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In introductory programming teaching, block-based editors have become very popular because they offer a number of strong advantages for beginning programmers: They avoid many syntax errors, can display all available instructions for visual selection and encourage experimentation with little requirement for recall. Among proficient programmers, however, text-based systems are strongly preferred due to several usability and productivity advantages for expert users. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive introduc- tion to a novel editing paradigm, frame-based editing – including design, implementation, experimentation and analysis. We describe how the design of this paradigm combines many advantages of block-based and text-based systems, then we present and discuss an implementation of such a system for a new Java-like language called Stride, including the results of several evaluation studies. The resulting editing system has clear advantages for both novices and expert programmers: It improves program representation and error avoidance for beginners and can speed up program manipulation for experts. Stride can also serve as an ideal stepping stone from block-based to text-based languages in an educational context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-67
JournalJournal of Visual Languages and Sentient Systems
Early online date21 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • Editors
  • program manipulation
  • frame-based editing


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