Onward! 2017
Sun 22 - Fri 27 October 2017 Vancouver, Canada
co-located with SPLASH 2017
Wed 25 Oct 2017 10:30 - 11:00 at Regency B - Language Design Chair(s): Zachary Tatlock

Most programming languages have been designed by committees or individuals. What happens if, instead, we throw open the design process and let lots of programmers weigh in on semantic choices? Will they avoid well-known mistakes like dynamic scope? What do they expect of aliasing? What kind of type-checking behavior will they choose? We investigate this issue by posing questions to programmers on Amazon Mechanical Turk. We examine several language features, in each case using multiple-choice questions to explore programmer preferences. We check the responses for consensus (agreement between people) and consistency (agreement across responses from one person). In general we find low consistency and consensus, potential confusion over mainstream features, and arguably poor design choices. In short, this preliminary evidence does not argue in favor of designing languages based on programmer preference.

Wed 25 Oct
Times are displayed in time zone: Tijuana, Baja California change

10:30 - 12:00: Language DesignOnward! Papers at Regency B
Chair(s): Zachary TatlockUniversity of Washington, Seattle
10:30 - 11:00
Can We Crowdsource Language Design?
Onward! Papers
Preston Tunnell WilsonBrown University, Justin PombrioBrown University, USA, Shriram KrishnamurthiBrown University, USA
11:00 - 11:30
Assessing User Preferences in Programming Language Design
Onward! Papers
Roger ChamberlainWashington University in St. Louis
11:30 - 12:00
Replacing Phrase Structure Grammar with Dependency Grammar in the Design and Implementation of Programming Languages
Onward! Papers
Friedrich SteimannFernuniversität