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Towards a specification of the ToonTalk language

, and . Journal of Visual Languages and Computing 19 (5): 574-597 (2008)

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Abstract

ToonTalk is a child-oriented programming language whose environment is an animated virtual world, with objects that children can pick up and use as in a game, such as birds, trucks, and robots, providing direct child-oriented metaphors for programming constructs. Actions performed by a programmer’s avatar with these objects are both code and coding. ToonTalk is a powerful system, not just a ‘‘toy’’ system: it is based upon concurrent constraint programming languages, and programs written in languages such as Flat Guarded Horn Clauses and Flat Concurrent Prolog can be straightforwardly constructed in ToonTalk. However, there is not a specification of ToonTalk, for ready implementation in other environments. We propose that the ToonTalk language lies not in the animations displayed by the current environment, but on the actions performed by the programmer with virtual world objects; we present a description and analysis of the methods the ToonTalk language provides to programmers for expressing programs.

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