Democratizing Web Automation: Programming for Social Scientists and Other Domain Experts
- Author(s): Chasins, Sarah Elizabeth
- Advisor(s): Bodik, Rastislav
- et al.
This dissertation describes how I reformulated traditional web PBD around the insight that demonstrations are not always the easiest way for non-programmers to communicate their intent. By shifting from a purely Programming-By-Demonstration view to a Programming-By-X view that accepts a variety of user-friendly inputs, we can dramatically broaden the class of programs that come in reach for end-user programmers. Our Helena ecosystem combines (i) usable PBD-based program drafting tools, (ii) learnable programming languages, and (iii) novel programming environment interactions. The end result: non-coders write Helena programs in 10 minutes that can handle the complexity of modern webpages, while coders attempt the same task and time out in an hour. I conclude with a discussion of the abstraction-resistant domains that will fall next and how hybrid PL-HCI breakthroughs will vastly expand access to programming.