End-User Programming

Source: Hacker News

Article note: This is a topic I'm always conflicted and/or outside the major camps on. I do believe that systems should be designed for people to customize them to their needs, and develop both general and domain specific skills as they use them. The presence of the amazing things some people rig together with spreadsheets and other simple, familiar automation tools are plenty of evidence that this is a tenable system. On the other hand, I firmly believe the empirical evidence is that most people really don't have the developed reasoning skills to design and make things, and ultra-low-barrier-to-entry simplified systems only work to make dreck that they're designed to coerce. The process of working sophisticated relatively general tools is necessary to actually perform creative design. The rough conclusion is that we really need to design our social and educational structures to better support people onto sophisticated tools, rather than building coercive tools for idiots. That's a harder, longer, and less attractive to rent-seekers process. It's also vastly more empowering, and necessary for computer technology in general to be empowering rather than coercive.
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