Microsoft, IBM and Adobe have spoken of ongoing efforts to improve the lives of programmers and designers.
In an event at an IBM building, a university professor also emphasised how difficult it still is for non-programmers to get involved in programming.
Revelations and perspectives were offered at a conference entitled "The Future of Design and Software Development," held at the IBM Almaden Research Centre California.
Microsoft Senior Researcher Gina Venolia cited a Microsoft Research project called "Code Canvas," which falls under the domain of code "spatialization." She likened the concept of code spatialization to a roadmap of code, helping developers understand complexities and changes in code.
"I think of it as a map. Just like a roadmap that you would unfold that conveys information of different types and at different levels," she said in an interview after her presentation. "That's what we're trying to do, we're trying to give developers a roadmap to their code."
With Code Canvas, Microsoft seeks to incorporate spatial orientation of code as the foundation of an IDE, according to a blog entry on Code Canvas by Microsoft Research Software Design Engineer Kael Rowan.
"It is a spatial (2.5D) representation of source code, visual designers, and project-related artifacts that utilizes infinite panning and smooth semantic zoom for navigation. It is also extensible to allow analysis overlays and graph-based relationship visualizations," Rowan said.
"Whenever a developer draws their code on a whiteboard, they are applying a sense of space to their software that includes directional relationships and architectural boundaries. Code Canvas lets developers write their code on a two-dimensional infinite canvas instead of in tabbed editors, so all of their source code is arranged in the same way as it would be on the whiteboard.
“They can still write code as they do today, in C# or C++ or whatever, but the directional relationships and architectural boundaries are part of the same canvas, and they can easily navigate and zoom smoothly in and out to understand everything at once," said Rowan.