Jul 01 2014
For those of us who spend lots of time doing it, programming is an intense activity. And an intensely human activity. Despite this being experienced since the days of Babbage and Lovelace, little attention has been devoted to this aspect, but an important exception is the annual Psychology of Programming Workshop, held this year in Brighton, UK. I have followed this workshop from a distance for many years, and this year I was invited to speak: I enjoyed it very much and I hope to attend again. From a perspective of HCI, it always occurs to me that programming systems quickly push beyond the capacity of the models we normally adopt: programming requires immense investment, and the invisible and dynamic complexity remains a formidable challenge for human capabilities. I was especially pleased to have time to chat with Thomas Green, who has influenced my work since I came across his book Human Interaction with Computers (shown above) in a Cambridge bookshop in 1979. It was one of the first books on HCI, before that term was coined, and it addressed many issues which remain challenging today.