This paper surveys current practice, research, and future
prospects for communicating procedures to office computer systems, placing
special emphasis on robustness and suitability for the casual user.
Users of existing systems who have to specify procedures must generally
resort to some kind of command language. Explicit forms programming
languages, perhaps based on ideas of logic programming which suppress
control structure, offer better prospects. In the more distant future,
knowledge-based techniques utilizing models of office semantics may
address the more general issues of problem-solving in the office.
Programming by example is a promising method for specifying procedures
but presents difficulties with editing, conditionals, iteration,
variables and data structures. These can be partially overcome by using
several example sequences or having users provide control information
explicitly through a well-engineered interactive interface.
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