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Feature Summary


This summarizes the features of Northwoods' Sanscript Programming technology.

Feature Benefit
Windows 98, NT, 2000, XP  
Visual Language  
Visual functions with inputs and outputs Function as picture you can select and move promotes reuse
Links for passing data between functions Pass data values between functions without declaring any variables
Constant values Required for a complete visual language
Repeats (loop) ditto
Pick Ones (conditional) ditto
Packages (block) Allows you to collapse subdiagrams; makes visual programs scalable with limited screen real estate
Error Handlers (exceptions) Required for robust error handling - errors are noticed rather than ignored by default
Ordering links (control flow) Required for a complete visual language; allows you to constrain the order of execution from full parallelism to full serialization
Comments Important to capture the programmers intent for posterity
Forms (modal dialog boxes) Required in order to interface to the user
User-defined records Important in order to minimize visual clutter or map external record data (e.g. databases) into the visual world
Global record values Simplifies access to key data values used throughout a program
Data types: Integer, Decimal, Boolean, Text, List, Record, Time, Money, Pointer, Error, Object, IDataObject, and types derived from these Required for a complete visual language
User-defined data type conversions (programmer can define an automatic conversion from any type to any other) Simplifies programming, particularly for end users and others not wanting to deal with strong typing.
Links to remote connectors Allows deeply nested functions to refer to data in outer functions; can eliminate links; important to minimize visual clutter
"Direct manipulation" of most language features Ease of use
Infinite Undo/Redo Allows you to back out a change
Journaling Means that if the computer crashes you can resume where you left off, not where you last remembered to do a SAVE.
Dynamic syntax checking (when connecting links) Means you can't even create a syntactically incorrect program
"Gravity" to help make proper connecting links Editor attracts you to the nearest connectors having a compatible data type; ease of editing
Implicit type conversions Ease of use
Dynamic type inferencing ditto
Navigation aids (e.g. finding functions using a function, history, home) ditto
Automatic flowgram layout ditto
Scalable icons (Windows metafiles) Allows you to treat a program as a set of pictures; you decide how big (important) a function's picture needs to be on the screen
Zoom In or Out Allows you to scale up to large programs
Hidable labels, and auto-show when needed Eliminates visual clutter
Components Catalog  
Heirarchical Tree of folders for components Rapid access to components (one or a few clicks to any component)
Find (search for components) Allows you to search large libraries of hundreds of components
Navigation aids (e.g. finding functions using a function, recently modified, or deleted) ditto
Multiple cabinets (component libraries) Supports large scale development by multiple organizations
Permission bits on components and folders and cabinets Allows a component creator to protect the integrity of published components and libraries
User supplied component descriptions Allows you to document functions you create for your users
Help file and help context on components Click to view the component-creator's help text
Automatic Help file source generation Fully integrated automatic generation of help text from your component descriptions
Small/Large/Text-only Icon views Ease of use and scalability
Rapid Component Creation and Reuse  
Replace selected functions with flowgram or package Eliminates visual clutter by letting you condense and collapse diagrams as you please, as well as turn subdiagrams into new reusable components with a few clicks
Expand function or package in place ditto
Replace constant with inlet connector ditto
OLE Automation Wizard for building visual components automatically, from IDispatch or from Type Library Allows you to connect to the vast world of OLE components provided by others
Supplied clipart Allows you to use appropriate or distinct pictures for your new functions without necessarily using a drawing tool
Icon creation using standard Windows drawing tools Allows you to use ANY picture you want for a function - just draw it or import the picture
Visual Debugging—Step, Pause, examine Direct manipulation program debugging
Export application as a Program Manager item Simplifies application creation
Visual Components and Run Time Functionality  
Arithmetic, File and Directory, Registry, List, Logical, Text, Time, User Interface, DDE, Error Required for a complete visual language
Controlling OLE Automation applications using OLE Automation Wizard created components Allows you to create an application that drives other PC applications, getting data from or putting data into them
OLE Linking to other applications such as spreadsheets for run-time access Allows you to copy a cell in a spreadsheet and then paste inside the visual program to create a live link to that spreadsheet data
System access such as Launch Application, Find Window, Send Keys Allows you to control applications that may not have DDE or OLE interfaces
Callout to DLL shared libraries Allows you to interface to external program libraries
Help file and help context on errors Ease of use
Runtime exception trapping Helps you create robust programs and detect runtime errors
Documentation and Examples  
Online documentation Ease of use
Context-sensitive help ditto
Example applications Help you get started
Microsoft Excel component examples Built in support to interface to Excel spreadsheets
Microsoft Word component examples Built in support to interface to Word documents

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