Tche - a visual Environment for the Lua language
André Filipe Lessa CarregalRoberto Ierusalimschy
Departamento de InformáticaPUC-RioRua Marquês de São Vicente, 25522453-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasilcarregal, email@example.com
: The Tche (Tiny Canvas-Hosted Environment) system is a visual environment that sup-ports the direct manipulation of visual objects written in the Lua language. Tche was designed to besimple, portable and flexible, being also highly user customizable. Tche uses a workspace where thevisual objects can be manipulated, modified and browsed. The system allows the use of text Luacommands, offering real-time interactions not available in conventional systems. We introduce othervisual environments such as Visual Basic, ACE, Smalltalk, Oberon, SELF and Tcl/Tk, and brieflydiscuss the solutions and characteristics of each system in the direct manipulation of visual objects,ease of use and portability.
: Visual Programming, User Interface, Abstract Data Views, Active Objects, Visual Ob- jects.
The advent of new programming styles usuallybrings up new software development tools. The needto combine prototyping and rapid application devel-opment, makes necessary the use of specific tools, toachieve flexibility and ease of use. These tools nor-mally use the concept of direct manipulation of ob- jects. Those can be considered
due tothe existence of a graphical representation corre-sponding to each object.Software tools with such characteristics are calledvisual development environments. Some of thesetools allow visual objects to have their attributes andbehavior modified in run time (dynamic modifica-tion). This feature enables the investigation of newpossibilities and combinations, stimulating an ex-ploratory programming style.This work describes the Tche (Tiny Canvas-HostedEnvironment) system. Tche is a visual developmentenvironment that supports the direct manipulation of visual objects described in Lua. Lua [FIC94] is aprogramming language with structured languagecharacteristics and object orientation, based in aportable interpreted environment. Lua can be used asa configuration language, using its data descriptioncapabilities, as much as a programming languageembedded in a development system.Tche is simple to use and requires few machine re-sources and a little learning time. Nevertheless, thesystem is also flexible enough to allow a high degreeof user configuration. The system also offers easyportability, minimizing the utilization costs in het-erogeneous environments.In the next section we introduce some related visualenvironments. Then we describe the Lua program-ming language and the Tche System. Following this,we conclude with some suggestions for future works.
2. Related work
This section introduces other visual environmentssuch as Visual Basic, ACE, Smalltalk, Oberon,SELF and Tcl/Tk, and briefly discuss the solutionsand characteristics of each system in the direct ma-nipulation of visual objects, ease of use and portabil-ity.The Visual
Basic system[MS92] offers a visual de-velopment and programming environment allowingsimple prototyping and complete program creationusing a Basic language variation. The program inter-face creation is done with direct manipulation of in-terface elements. Each element has a set of proper-