Metaobjects as a programming tool
Lemke, Robert William
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Computer applications can be described as largely rigid structures within which an information seeker must navigate in search of information - each screen, each transaction having underlying unique code. The larger the application, the higher the number of lines of code and the larger the size of the application executable. This study suggests an alternative pattern based approach, an approach driven by the information seeker. This alternative approach makes use of value embedded in intelligent patterns to assemble rules and logic constituents, numerous patterns aggregating to form a ‟virtual screen‟ based on the need of the information seeker. Once the information need is satisfied, the atomic rules and logic constituents dissipate and return to a base state. These same constituents are available, are reassembled and form the succeeding ‟virtual screen‟ to satisfy the following request. The pattern based approach makes use of multiple pattern ‟instances‟ to deliver functionality each pattern instance has a specific embedded value. Numbers of these patterns aggregate to drive the formation of a ‟virtual screen‟ built using patterns, each pattern referencing and associating (physical) atomic logic and spatial constituents. This is analogous to painting a picture using removable dots. The dots can be used to describe a fish, and then, once appreciation has been completed, the image is destroyed and the dots are returned to the palette. These same dots can later be reapplied to present the picture of a dog, if that is requested by the information seeker. In both pictures the same ‟dots‟ are applied and reused. The form of the fish and dog are retained as value embedded within the patterns, the dots are building blocks aligned using instructions within the patterns. This group classifies current solutions within the ‟Artefact-Pattern-Artefact‟ (APA) group and the pattern based approach within the ‟Pattern-Artefact-Pattern‟ (PAP) group. An overview and characteristics of each are discussed. The study concludes by presenting the results obtained when using a prototype developed using the PAP approach.