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Don't get me wrong. I love typing. I'm good at it, and the harmonious clicking of my Das Keyboard brings me pure joy. But for some reason, I just fingertips all over my monitor and started swirling them around. It's all dirty now, but man, this wooshing around really got me thinking. I know this is blasphemous, but do you believe that it could be possible (or definite) that there is a more effective way of coding than our current line by line, 1/3 english, 1/3 strange symbols, 1/3 numbers keyboard inputting?

Honestly, I'm not really sure what I have in mind here, but punch cards got knocked down. What's next?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by gnat, GlenH7, MichaelT, user61852, Dynamic Jun 30 '14 at 18:02

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I'm absolutely certain there is a more effective way. I'm also certain nobody has imagined that yet, much less implemented it. We're still mostly in the bearskins and stone knives phase of interacting with computers. – Bryan Oakley Dec 10 '11 at 16:22

In the movie Minority Report, gloves are used to interface with computers screens from a distance.

enter image description here

Here is a tedtalk where this technology is demoed in real life.

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I seriously doubt 95% of people here having enough upper body strength to keep that up for a prolonged period of time :) (keep your arm in the air above your chest for half an hour) – Rook Mar 27 '11 at 5:12
But if that became a preferred interface, people would acquire the upper body strength through the exercise. – Tom Zych Mar 27 '11 at 10:39
@Rook, @Tom Zych: That's right. You could easily spot programmers by their massive deltoid muscles and the kids from the computer club would beat up the football team :D – back2dos Mar 27 '11 at 11:22
Why would I want to put on gloves before interacting with a computer? One way minority report got it way wrong is that the interface required gloves. Heck, the next gen kinect is rumored to be able to track individual fingers, and that's just a consumer product. If computers are advanced enough for some of what was in that movie, they would be advanced enough to not require gloves. – Bryan Oakley Dec 10 '11 at 16:24

It's not new, but it will improve... Voice Input.

It's success or lack of, will come down to two things.

  1. Improvements in voice recognition making into the user space be they from university research or from the business space (call centre IVRs).

  2. These improvements enabling complex interaction in a natural way through AI improvements

The tech is there to recognise our voices, the training of the AI must improve, and the syntax and semantics for issuing commands must be refined into a natural state.

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Have you tried dictating code? Even to a developer who's familiar with the syntax of your language? I find it really frustrating. A tool would be even worse. – Kate Gregory Mar 27 '11 at 16:02
I agree right now, but my point is it will improve. It's about having the AI understanding what we mean when we say something. – Kevin D Mar 27 '11 at 16:07

Although this probably borders on heretical, there’s no reason why programming cannot be more graphical. Of course it already is—even taking a strict definition of ‘graphical’. I can’t imagine that colorful syntax highlighting and sundry whitespace are the upper limits of the graphical enterprise in programming. On the flip side, things like Automator and the other attempts at graphical programming (even things like MAX/MSP) seem wrong-headed to me.

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I'll be fond of graphical programming if you show me an instance where it works well, not to say great enough to justify the paradigm switch. – delnan Mar 27 '11 at 8:33

The ultimate goal would be to remove as many 'middle-tiers' that add unnecessary delay/difficulties in converting what you want to happen into actual running code.

That means eventually people will be pushing to just 'think' their code.

Typing/hand-motions/speaking will be soooo 2000's...

As an aside, if & when this comes to be, I'm an definitely staying wired with an IDE running while I sleep.

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I disagree. You should be able to tell the computer what you want done, and the computer should do it. thinking code means thinking how to do it, which isn't what people want. – apoorv020 Mar 27 '11 at 11:16

Multimodal interfaces would be a pragmatic real advance.

Think about, while typing a method signature with a File aFile argument, saying "find example parsing XML for aFile" that goes on the web to find a code snippet.

Combining keyboard/mouse and touch input could also work, increasing the parallelism of tasks.

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