(2022-10-23) Appleton Programming Portals

Maggie Appleton: Programming Portals. In the mid 1980's the world of computer interfaces cracked in two, leaving a gaping divide between two opposing paradigms. Most of us consider GUIs as an enormous leap forward for computing accessibility and usability

That crack in the interface world wasn't a division in time, with CLIs in the past and GUIs in the future. It was a crack in the population of computer users. It created two distinct categories: end users and programmers.

The Joys of Text and CLIs

The problem isn't just that development environments have grown complex and unweildy. It's that we've failed to find ways to integrate the benefits of text-based programming and command line interfaces back into graphical interfaces. We're starting to see hints of it though – patterns are appearing that try to bridge the gap.

I keep finding tiny portals back into the programmatic realm; windows I'm calling programming portals.

small, scoped areas within a graphical interface that give users access to command lines and text-based programmaing

Most programming portals don't use fully fledged programming languages like Python or JavaScript. Instead they offer a simplified language or limited set of commands designed specifically for this context.

here are some real programming portals out in the wild:

1. HyperCard

2. Fermat

3. Notion, before it was Notion

the original vision of Notion – what I'll call pre-Notion – was far more ambitious and powerful than the Notion of today.

4. Inkbase

Inkbase is a prototype rather than an up-and-running platform

Edited:    |       |    Search Twitter for discussion