Forms and Forms/2
Forms/3 is a successor of Forms/2 -- a form-based language developed
by Allen Ambler
and Margaret Burnett --
which was in turn a successor of Forms, Dr. Ambler's first form-based
language. Forms was developed in 1986-1988, and was closely related
to spreadsheets, although it expanded the power of spreadsheets by
including procedural abstraction. Forms/2 was Dr. Ambler's and Dr.
Burnett's research language from 1989-1990. It added an explicit
notion of time to the original Forms system, an expanded version of
procedural abstraction, and an early proposal for event-handling,
which was developed by Andreas Schoberth.
The first implementation of Forms/3 was completed in August 1991 by
Margaret Burnett, as a prototype of her dissertation work with Dr.
Ambler on supporting abstraction in declarative visual programming
languages. Forms/3 added several programming language features
that were new to visual languages, the primary ones being visual data
abstraction, and the declarative approach to supporting event-related
programming for Forms/3 programmers. Gerhard Viehstaedt's work on a
visual approach to matrix-based programming was also done in the
context of this implementation of Forms/3. The entire implementation
was written in Lucid Common Lisp on a Sun/3 workstation.
The original implementation had only a partial user interface,
which was implemented via low-level CLX calls to the X Library. Since
arriving at Oregon State University, Dr. Burnett and her research
group have completely redone the user interface, incorporating a
number of new ideas in the process. The current implementation is
written in Lucid Common Lisp and Garnet, and runs on Sun/SunOS,
Sun/Solaris, and Hewlett-Packard workstations. The most recent gains
added by the research group to this version of the implementation
include automatic generalization of programs entered via direct
manipulation, time travel and program steering, integrating algorithm
animation capabilities into the language, and exception handling.
Last modified: August 2, 1996
Margaret M. Burnett, email@example.com