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Tutorial TouchStudio April 16, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in innovation process, mobile, prototyping tools.

The last event at the Microsoft Software Summit in Paris was the Tutorial of TouchStudio by the Microsoft researchers Nikolai Tillmann Peli de Halleux and Michał Moskal.

They gave a nice introduction, starting with the Commodore 64 and how the main experience was to have to program this device. Exactly this experience made the C64 so successful. However, in today’s mobile phone, there is no programming environment, despite the fact, that all over the world for many people the mobile phone is the only access to computer technology.

Then they pointed out, how today’s IDEs are really supportive and have a lot of intelligent features which support the programmer while typing. However, text input on smartphones is not really suitable for programming. So, they invented TouchStudio, a programming environment for the mobile phone, where on can program with “one finger only”.

I really like the idea behind TouchStudio – and the first demo was quite impressive. It took the programmer less than a minute to program an app, which would turn off your music player when you turn the phone with the display facedown.

When working with the TouchStudio I was quite impressed with a couple of text editing features they build: the zooming to a specific line of code works extremely intuitive, the selection and completion of commands is also well executed.

(Here is a video about TouchStudio)

They already implemented some interesting access to the phone’s internal technology as the camera or music player.

The performance is also good: I programmed some Processing-like animations and they worked fine.

The code itself is still displayed as text. I am wondering whether it would add to the joy and clarity if the code would be displayed a little more visually, similar to scratch.

In some cases one needs to provide the software with too much details, e.g. a given color in the draw commands would be sufficient.

Currently scrips cannot be shared with friends or sold in the marketplace, which is another downside, but they are working on this.

And not all sensors of the phone are accessible, yet, but I guess that this will also soon be changed.

One thing I could not find out was how to change parts of the code, which are in the middle of the code, e.g. I wanted to change a “while”-statement to a “for”-statement and could not find a way to do this.

I love this tool and I am looking forward to the innovations which will happen, once lots of people can play with it!



1. Michal Moskal - April 16, 2011

The tutorial in Paris was by Peli de Halleux and Nikolai Tilmann. The channel9 video is with Michal Moskal and Nikolai Tilmann (with Peli holding the camera ;).

2. Report on Microsoft Research Summit 2011 in Paris « interaction design - May 10, 2011

[…] the post I already wrote about the Microsoft Research Summit (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)I report in my talk about the following inspiring […]

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