Workshop on Evaluation and Usability of Programming Languages and Tools (PLATEAU)

Main Themes and Goals

At the Programming Languages Grand Challenges panel at POPL 2009, Greg Morrisett claimed that one of the great neglected areas in programming languages research is the bridge between Programming Languages and Human-Computer Interaction: the evaluation of the usability of programming languages and tools. This is evident by the recent research programs of major languages conferences such as POPL, PLDI, OOPSLA, and ECOOP. The object-oriented conferences tend to have at least one or two papers in the areas of corpus analysis or evaluation methodologies, but the authors of the papers seem to avoid using the results of their studies to make conclusions about the languages or tools themselves. Software engineering and human-computer interaction conferences tend to have better support of language usability analysis (CHI 2009 has three tracks that showcase research in this direction), but have limited visibility to the programming languages community. bridge.jpg
This workshop aims to be a first step in filling that void by developing and stimulating discussion of usability and evaluation of programming languages and tools with respect to language design and related areas. We have two goals:

  • Develop a research community that shares ideas and collaborates on research related to the evaluation and usability of languages and tools
  • Encourage the languages and tools communities to think more critically about how usability affects language and tool design and adoption

Call for Papers

Programming languages exist to enable programmers to develop software effectively.But how efficiently programmers can write software depends on the usability of the languages and tools that they develop with. The aim of this workshop is to discuss methods, metrics and techniques for evaluating the usability of languages and language tools. The supposed benefits of such languages and tools cover a large space, including making programs easier to read, write, and maintain; allowing programmers to write more flexible and powerful programs; and restricting programs to make them more safe and secure.

We plan to gather the intersection of researchers in the programming language, programming tool, and human-computer interaction communities to share their research and discuss the future of evaluation and usability of programming languages and tools. We are also interested in the input of other members of the programming research community working on related areas, such as aspects, refactoring, design patterns, program analysis, program comprehension, software visualization, end-user programming, and other programming language paradigms. Some particular areas of interest are:

  • empirical studies of programming languages
  • methodologies and philosophies behind language and tool evaluation
  • software design metrics and their relations to the underlying language
  • user studies of language features and software engineering tools
  • visual techniques for understanding programming languages
  • critical comparisons of programming paradigms, such as object-oriented vs. functional
  • tools to support evaluating programming languages
  • psychology of programming

Past Events

  • PLATEAU 2015
    • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, October 23-30, 2015
    • Co-located with SPLASH 2015
    • PC chair: Thomas LaToza
    • Invited speaker: Mary Beth Rosson
  • PLATEAU 2014
    • Portland, Oregon, USA, October 20-24, 2014
    • Co-located with SPLASH 2014
    • PC chair: Joshua Sunshine
    • Invited speaker: Josh Bloch
  • PLATEAU 2012
    • Tucson, Arizona, USA, October 22, 2012
    • Co-located with SPLASH 2012
    • PC chair: Caitlin Sadowski
    • Invited speaker: William Cook
  • PLATEAU 2011
    • Porland, Oregon USA, October 24, 2011
    • Co-located with SPLASH 2011
    • PC chair: Shane Markstrum
    • Invited speaker: Brad Myers
  • PLATEAU 2010
    • Reno, Nevada USA, October 18, 2010
    • Co-located with SPLASH 2010 and Onward! 2010
    • PC chair: Emerson Murphy-Hill
    • Invited speaker: Gilad Bracha
  • PLATEAU 2009
    • Orlando, Florida USA, October 26, 2009
    • Co-located with OOPSLA 2009 and Onward! 2009
    • PC chair: Craig Anslow
    • Invited speaker: Larry Constantine

Organizing Committee

  • Craig Anslow - Middlesex University, London, UK / Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  • Josh Sunshine - Carnegie Mellon University, USA
  • Thomas LaToza - George Mason University, USA

Past Organizing Committee Members

Topic attachments
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