2 thoughts on “Code Canvas: MS Research’s Zoomable UI for Visual Studio

  1. From the November 2009 TechFest:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4NEaXajiI0

    Another research question I’d love to see addressed: How might the interaction be improved further with a multi-touch UI, whether for a single programmer or many (e.g. with Surface)?

    I’m very leery of touch as the ONLY way to point and manipulate for an app like writing code, but I think grabbing chunks of code, yanking them around, grouping, and zooming don’t require the kind of fine-target discrimination that makes touch implementations of mouse UIs so aggravating.

    It would only get better for groups (think code review), since you wouldn’t have to pass the mouse and keyboard around — one of those little impedances that really adds up in a session.

    There also might be a 3D angle here; not necessarily stereoscopy, but simply adding a Z to the X and Y of the presentation. That too might work better for group interactions than for a single programmer coding, since the necessary front-to-back rotations would interfere with the “spatial memory” they talk about in “Open Research Questions”.

    Although who knows, if you added some cues to the positioning, it might not matter. Heck, you could do it as a landscape to exploit some really ancient neurological software: “Now where did I put the persistence engine? Oh yeah, over there by the lake.”

  2. OK, not to get too silly but the landscape idea would enable some other interesting research: Would women be better able to find things than men, on average, in such an environment? You know, the old hunter vs. gatherer thing.

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