Forms/3 is a general purpose, declarative, spreadsheet-based Visual Programming
Language (VPL). Its goal is to provide computational and expressive
power in a language featuring a simple, concrete programming style with
Programming in Forms/3 follows the spreadsheet
paradigm; the programmer uses direct manipulation to place cells on
forms, and then defines a formula for each cell. Such a formula may
include constants, references to other cells, or references to the
cell's own value at a previous moment in time. Cells are referenced by
clicking on them. (In our current prototype, these references are
reflected textually in the formulas.) A program's calculations are
determined by these formulas.
Three Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: What is the best academic reference for the Forms/3 language?
A: The article "Forms/3: A First-Order Visual Language to Explore the Boundaries of
the Spreadsheet Paradigm," M. Burnett, J. Atwood, R. Djang, H. Gottfried,
J. Reichwein, S. Yang, Journal of Functional Programming 11(2), March 2001,
155-206. Postscript pre-print.
- Q: What is the best write-up for actually using Forms/3 software?
A: The guided tour.
- Q: Do other publications exist about Forms/3?
A: Yes. Most of my research uses Forms/3 as a prototype, so almost all of my publications include information about aspects of Forms/3.
- Q: What's happening lately with Forms/3?
A: Forms/3 continues to be the primary testbed for most of my end-user software engineering research in my portions of the EUSES Consortium research. We prototype our end-user software engineering features in the Forms/3 environment and try them out with end-user participants in our lab.
Recent and Current Research
What You See Is What You Test (WYSIWYT).
We are working on a variety of testing and debugging mechanisms for visual programming languages, with a special interest in the spreadsheet paradigm as used by end users. The primary testbed for this work is Forms/3.
End User Software Engineering
Software engineering for end-user programming languages, again with a particular emphasis on spreadsheets. This work is being further generalized as part of our involvement in the new EUSES Consortium.
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Originally authored by Herky Gottfried and JJ Cadiz, Dec '95.
Last updated by Margaret Burnett, Aug. 11, 2005.