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3rd International Workshop on Programming for Mobile and Touch (PROMOTO 2015), October 27, 2015, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

PROMOTO 2015 – Proceedings

Contents - Abstracts - Authors


Title Page

Message from the Chairs
Welcome to the 3rd International Workshop on Programming for Mobile and Touch (PROMOTO 2015) scheduled for Pittsburgh on October 27th at ACM’s SPLASH 2015 Conference.

Apps Development

Measuring the Usability and Capability of App Inventor to Create Mobile Applications
Benjamin Xie, Isra Shabir, and Hal Abelson
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
MIT App Inventor is a web service that enables users with little to no previous programming experience to create mobile applications using a visual blocks language. We analyze a sample of 5,228 random projects from the corpus of 9.7 million and group projects by functionality. We then use the number of unique blocks in projects as a metric to better understand the usability and realized capability of using App Inventor to implement specific functionalities. We introduce the notion of a usability score and our results indicate that introductory tutorials heavily influence the usability of App Inventor to implement particular functionalities. Our findings suggest that the sequential nature of App Inventor's learning resources results in users realizing only a portion of App Inventor's capabilities and propose improvements to these learning resources that are transferable to other programming environments and tools.

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A Flow-Based Programming Framework for Mobile App Development
Jesse Zaman, Lode Hoste, and Wolfgang De Meuter
(Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)
DisCoPar (Distributed Components for Participatory Campaigning) is a framework inspired by flow-based programming (FBP) that enables users to develop and deploy mobile apps for participatory sensing purposes. The high reconfigurability and reusability on different levels of the system ensures that DisCoPar can be used to design a large variety of mobile data gathering apps. In this paper, we focus on the mobile app designer of DisCoPar. Specifically, we discuss how FBP principles such as the component-based design enable flexible app-logic composition, and how the visual aspect of FBP provides an intuitive interface for end-users. We demonstrate these principles by presenting a fully functional participatory sensing app designed with DisCoPar.

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Touch Programming

Supporting "What-If" in Touch-Screen Web Applications
Peter Simonyi, Jeff Wilson, Judith M. Brown, and Robert Biddle
(Carleton University, Canada)
Surface computing encourages exploratory interaction, and many applications are designed to work this way. In essence, the fluid interaction causes the user to ask “What if?” We suggest this requires support for recording the history of such explorations and allowing reversion to earlier states. There are currently a variety of related mechanisms, but they are either underpowered for the sort of interaction history management we suggest is needed, or are restricted to very specific domains. We present a prototype implementation of an interaction history manager: Ra is a JavaScript library for supporting this exploration and version tracking in web applications. We illustrate the interface for end users seen in augmenting simple web applications; we describe the underlying technical architecture, which uses ES6 Proxy objects to maintain access to the application’s model; and we present the API, which allows an existing application to include Ra with minimal code change.

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Collaborative Annotations for Large Touchscreen Web Applications
Miran Mirza, Jeff Wilson, and Robert Biddle
(Carleton University, Canada)
Large displays facilitate collaboration, by allowing multiple co- located users to view and discuss content. Throughout our research with the ACH Walkthrough software [14] we discovered that one common interaction is gesturing and pointing at the screen as if attempting to markup content they are discussing. In response to this interaction, we developed a prototype that provides users with markup capabilities on top of web applications. This paper reports on the technology we used and the interaction design of our prototype.

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