Author Archives: Jonathan Edwards

Reifying Programming

Here is the abstract for my next talk: The need to think abstractly makes programming difficult, especially for normal people. To make programming more concrete I propose to represent programs as data structures reifying their execution. Programming shifts from editing textual abstractions to direct inspection and manipulation of concrete executions. Reified execution also helps ground […]

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LIVE Programming Workshop

Sean McDirmid and I are organizing the LIVE Programming Workshop at SPLASH. Please consider submitting your work – deadline is Aug 1.

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Gallery of programming UIs

I’ve assembled a gallery of notable/interesting user interfaces for programming, as inspiration for the next Subtext. [Google Slides]

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Interesting code-essay from Joe Edelman: Chatterbase. I see this as a reply to my Transcript proposal (now Chorus). It is gratifying to get this kind of feedback. This is how we make progress – it is what academics mean when they talk about how research is a “conversation” – people’s work triggers others to contradict/extend […]

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I scare myself

I’m afraid the only way to realize the Transcript vision of end-user programming is to start a company. I did that once. After many years of toil and tears I was incredibly lucky to exit successfully and I swore then I would never put myself through that again. I would much prefer to have an open-source […]

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A lot has happened in the last year. I left MIT and joined CDG (Alan Kay’s lab), working with Alex Warth. I’ve been going to LA a lot. We are working on an end-user programming tool called Transcript. My Holy Grail has been to radically simplify professional programming. I now realize that simplification is not fundamentally a […]

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Why programming languages matter

A colleague asked this question and here is my answer: Programming gives us the power of the Gods to create things out of pure thought. Programming languages are the incantations and gestures we use to perform this magic. Unfortunately we got only the power of the Gods, not their wisdom, and so we have created […]

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Subtext by other means

For programming to start over we need to target the fresh minds of non-programmers, and find a new application domain that isn’t already completely built up. I’ll be talking about my next initiative at YOW!: Transcript: End-User Programming Of Social Apps. I’m teaming up with Alex Warth.  

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Flux is good enough

The reaction to my latest work [Two-way Dataflow] has been distinctly underwhelming. My diagnosis: I’ve solved a problem most people aren’t aware they have, and it comes at the steep price of replacing the conventional tech stack. Facebook has a cheaper solution: Flux. I have to give them credit for taking the problem seriously (unlike many of the reactive programming […]

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Future Programming Workshop 2015

The Future Programming Workshop will return this year to SPLASH and Strange Loop. See This year we are taking any kind of media, not just videos. Web pages and papers are welcome too. By request of the academic members of our community we will publish proceedings containing the paper-format submissions. We are applying for permission to […]

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New Subtext screencast

We’ve published the final videos from the Future Programming Workshop. We will also be publishing a final report about our experiences and lessons from the workshop. Included in the videos is my latest screencast about Subtext: Two-way Dataflow. The abstract: Subtext is an experiment to radically simplify application programming. The goal is to combine the […]

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The Future Programming Manifesto

It’s time to reformulate the principles guiding my work. [Revised definition of complexity in response to misunderstandings]

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Programming with Managed Time

Final version of the paper is up, and an essay with embedded videos is here. Sean graciously invited me to coauthor but the ideas are really his – I just helped spin them. We think there is great promise in abstracting away from the computer model of time. There is a large design space that is […]

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Two-way Dataflow

I’ll be demoing my latest work at the Future Programming Workshop at both Strange Loop and SPLASH. My talk is called “Two-way Dataflow”. Here is the abstract: Subtext is an experiment to radically simplify application programming. The goal is to combine the power of frameworks like Rails and iOS with the simplicity of a spreadsheet. Mutable […]

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Developer inequality and the technical debt crisis

Recently there have been heated complaints that the culture of programming unfairly excludes some groups. They want to join the programming elite and get a spot at the startup trough. More power to them. I really have nothing to say about this issue because I think it is a distraction from a bigger issue with […]

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See you at Strange Loop

Two announcements. First, the official Call for Submissions is up. Second, we will be at StrangeLoop too. We are partnering with Alex Payne and his Emerging Languages Camp to run FPW on the day before StrangeLoop. You can submit for SPLASH or StrangeLoop or both. See the Call for more details. Now you have twice the motivation […]

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The revolution will be screencast

Richard Gabriel and I are planning a workshop at SPLASH focused on screencast demos: The Future Programming Workshop. This will be a workshop in the sense of a writer’s workshop: the participants will present their talks/demos and the group will critique them. After the workshop people will revise their screencasts to be published on our […]

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Hello Lamdu

Interesting new work: Lamdu [Hacker News discussion] from Eyal Lotem and Yair Chuchem. They aren’t showing a lot of results yet, but I really like the espoused principles of the project. This is worth keeping an eye on. They are building an advanced IDE for a variant of Haskell with keyword arguments and structural record […]

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The importance of simplicity

From: Leo A. Meyerovich and Ariel S. Rabkin. Empirical Analysis of Programming Language Adoption. OOPSLA 2013.

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Subtext 5 – Teaser Trailer

I made a screencast explaining the new type system of Subtext 5: type as subtext I have also refreshed the subtext website and redirected it to

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