Programming in the model: A new perspective on scripting in CAD systems

Date created: 
End-user programming
Computer-aided design
Parametric modeling
Cognitive dimensions of notations framework

Scripting has become an integral part of design work in computer-aided design (CAD), especially with parametric systems. Designers who script face a steep learning and use curve due to the new (to them) script notation and the loss of direct manipulation of the model. Programming In the Model (PIM) is a prototype parametric CAD system with a live interface with side-by-side model and script windows; real-time updating of the script and the model; on-demand dependency, object and script representations in the model; and operation preview (lookahead). These features aim to break the steep learning and use curve of scripting into small steps and to bring programming and modeling tasks ‘closer together.’ A qualitative user study with domain experts and a focus group with HCI experts shows the importance of multi-directional live scripting and script localization within the model. Other PIM features show promise but require additional design work to create a better user experience.

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Robert Woodbury
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.