I never thought of that. There is something a little
alike in report tools, like Business Objects, but this
is for the result, not the code: you can fold / unfold
a data level at any moment.

But going back to program packages: how would you use
a tree to represent a subroutine which is called from
many different programs ? Clearly, such a subroutine
couldn't belong to a single branch of the tree. And
what about recurrent functions ?

(I'm not quite sure I understood the point. I think
you meant that, if in the programs there is LOOP for
ex, this could be figured on the screen as a node, and
when you click on the node you expand the LOOP, which
might contain other nodes of lower level, and so on ?)

--- And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I wrote:
> > > Being a syntactician and not a programmer, I
> wonder why programmers
> > > don't use trees. An interface like the one used
> for Windows directory
> > > structure (where you click on nodes to expand
> and contract them) seems
> > > ideal. Surely programmers can't be guilty of a
> kind of cerebrally
> > > masochistic machismo?
> Chris Palmer replies:
> > Lisp code *is* a literal tree (parentheses
> demarcate subtrees); a Lisp
> > program is a huge tree of expressions. All
> programming languages end up
> > being represented internally, in an intermediate
> stage, in their parsers
> > and/or virtual machines as trees; but it turns out
> to be a really bad (=
> > difficult and slow) way for humans to write code.
> Instead, most
> > programming languages end up allowing the user to
> write a series of
> > smaller trees ("statements" made up of
> "expressions").
> I meant trees not as a mathematical structure but as
> a graphical
> notation device, contrasting with bracketing and
> indentation, the
> opposing merits of which were being debated in the
> passage I had
> been responding to. Syntacticians would never use
> indentation or
> bracketing for complex structures, since experience
> shows that
> they're much harder to read than tree notation.
> Mark Reed replies:
> > Are the speakers of the world gulity of cerebrally
> masochistic machismo
> > for not speaking in trees?  For not using trees
> for all written
> > communication?    Should we use clickable
> TreeViews to construct
> > our email messages?
> No, partly because we are fluent in English so don't
> need to use
> any kind of syntactic notation, and partly because
> we are humans
> so don't worry very much about broken syntax.
> --And.

Philippe Caquant

"High thoughts must have high language." (Aristophanes, Frogs)

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