Towards Modularity in Live Visual Modeling: A case-study with OpenPonk and Kendrick
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Aspects of live-programming that have originated with Lisp and Smalltalk systems have recently seen a renewed research and industrial interest due to their educational and productivity potential (Live workshops at ECOOP, ICSE, and SPLASH, live facilities for the .Net, Java, Python, and Swift platforms). Especially in the case of visual modeling and simulation tools that are used by experts outside Informatics (such as ecologists, biologists, economists, epidemiologists, ...), this constant-feedback loop that live-systems provide can ease the development and comprehension of complex systems, via truly explorable environments. Unfortunately, taking the domain of Epidemiology as a case-study, we observe that the visual component of such systems have no notion of modularity and thus exploration is limited only to small monolithic examples. In order to address this issue we propose a model for modular visual exploration. This model is based on an extension of the OpenPonk platform targeting the Kendrick epidemiological language. Through this model we were able to map the separation of concerns of the Kendrick DSL, in a live visual notation that supports modularity and exploration of part-whole hierarchies.