VILArethinking programming Design & Implementation
Programming is seriously broken. Becoming a programmer is hard, but not because solving problems computationally is inherently difficult. Becoming a programmer is hard because it involves so much cognitive friction. Programming today means simulating a computer in your head when you already have one in front of you. Programming today means dealing with the incidental complexity of poorly designed programming tools and archaic mental models.
I’ve become so frustrated with programming that I’ve decided to stop merely thinking about how much better it could be.
VILA, the unimaginatively named VIsuaL Algorithm Designer, is a tiny step in the direction of making programming more bearable. It’s a simplistic imperative programming environment for manipulating data. Like Swift Playgrounds, it’s intended for existing programmers who want to visualize the execution of their programs. However, it has a much narrower focus.
- is always running (no compiling/running)
- has no hidden state (it shows the data before and after every transformation)
- is heavily in development at github.com/jecipek/VILA
VILA runs in a browser and is built using Reflux’s unidirectional data flow model.
VILA isn’t the future; it’s a stopgap measure to temporarily restore sanity while I try to figure out what the future might look like. Over the coming months, I’m going to prototype in some radically different directions. I’ll share more when I know more.