Programming as an Experience: The Inspiration for Self

Randall B. Smith, David Ungar. Programming as an Experience: The Inspiration for Self. In Walter G. Olthoff, editor, ECOOP 95 - Object-Oriented Programming, 9th European Conference, Ã…arhus, Denmark, August 7-11, 1995, Proceedings. Volume 952 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 303-330, Springer, 1995. [doi]


The Self system attempts to integrate intellectual and non-intellectual aspects of programming to create an overall experience. The language semantics, user interface, and implementation each help create this integrated experience. The language semantics embed the programmer in a uniform world of simple ob jects that can be modified without appealing to definitions of abstractions. In a similar way, the graphical interface puts the user into a uniform world of tangible objects that can be directly manipulated and changed without switching modes. The implementation strives to support the world-of-objects illusion by minimiz ing perceptible pauses and by providing true source-level semantics without sac rificing performance. As a side benefit, it encourages factoring. Although we see areas that fall short of the vision, on the whole, the language, interface, and im plementation conspire so that the Self programmer lives and acts in a consistent and malleable world of objects.