About a year ago Toby Schachman made a small and brilliant online drawing interface called recursivedrawing.com – today I found this site, and lost any hope of getting my work done for the day. In order to even the playing field, I am now sharing it with you guys. Come on, don't let me be the only slacker here!
Schachman himself says the interface is not an end in itself, but merely 'an exploration of user interface ideas towards the development of a spatially-oriented programming environment.'
– And I might add, it's tons of fun to play around with.
Recursion ('the process a procedure goes through when one of the steps of the procedure involves invoking the procedure itself') is by no means a novel programming concept. Schachman himself credits the textual programming language Context Free as a direct inspiration. And you can easily argue that things like Solidworks and MoGraph have already taken this concept very far.
But the graphical interface Schachman has made is a very neat demonstration of how simply and intuitively it can be put into action. And that is the real point he is trying to get at with this experiment: we need to develop new programming languages and interfaces that support visual and spatial thinking on a much more intuitive level.
A viewpoint that is shared by many of the brightest minds today, and reminded me again of John Underkoffler of Oblong Industries and his keynote at Eyeo2012 on the subject on inventing new Human-Machine-Interfaces that understand the real physical world better. He is the guy that came up with the Minority Report tech stuff, so it's worth a real long listen:
Schachman is a talented young programming artist with a background in mathematics. He graduated in 2006 from MIT with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics with Computer Science. And received his master's degree in 2012 from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. Check out more of his work, which also includes sound based works, here: