The Cost of Syntax and How To Avoid It: Text versus Frame-Based Editing

Altadmri, Amjad and Kölling, Michael and Brown, Neil C. C. (2016) The Cost of Syntax and How To Avoid It: Text versus Frame-Based Editing. In: CELT: COMPSAC Symposium on Computing Education & Learning Technologies; part of COMPSAC 2016: The 40th IEEE Computer Society International Conference on Computers, Software & Applications, 10-14 June 2016, Atlanta, USA. (doi: (Full text available)

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Plain text has always been the predominant medium for writing and editing programs for expert users. Text is powerful and flexible, but requires more careful manipulation than structural editors, such as those found in block-based environments. In addition, in textual editors programmers are responsible for managing detailed orthography and layout – when beginners work with text, significant time is spent managing syntax problems, indentation and spacing. Frame-based editing is a new editing paradigm that combines the structural editing of block-based systems with the flexibility and keyboard-focus of text editing. In this paper, we empirically examine how much time and effort is spent by beginners on managing syntax errors and indentation, which can be automatically saved by switching to frame-based editing. The data is obtained using the Blackbox dataset; the results predict a clear advantage of frame-based editing over traditional text editors.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: syntax errors; editing; block-based editing; text-based editing; frame-based editing; Stride; Greenfoot; Blackbox
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 76 Software, computer programming, > QA76.76 Computer software
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Computing > Computing Education Group
Depositing User: Michael Kolling
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2016 05:15 UTC
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2017 15:47 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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