This Article 
 Bibliographic References 
 Add to: 
Automating Visual Language Generation
October 1990 (vol. 16 no. 10)
pp. 1122-1135

A system to generate and interpret customized visual languages in given application areas is presented. The generation is highly automated. The user presents a set of sample visual sentences to the generator. The generator uses inference grammar techniques to produce a grammar that generalizes the initial set of sample sentences, and exploits general semantic information about the application area to determine the meaning of the visual sentences in the inferred language. The interpreter is modeled on an attribute grammar. A knowledge base, constructed during the generation of the system, is then consulted to construct the meaning of the visual sentence. The architecture of the system and its use in the application environment of visual text editing (inspired by the Heidelberg icon set) enhanced with file management features are reported.

[1] D. Angluin and C. H. Smith, "Inductive inference theory and methods,"ACM Comput. Surveys, vol. 15, pp. 237-269, 1983.
[2] A. W. Biermann and J. A. Feldman, "On the synthesis of finite-state machines for samples of behavior,"IEEE Trans. Comput., vol. C- 21, pp. 592-597, June 1972.
[3] J. M. Brayer and K. S. Fu, "A note on theK-tail method of tree grammar inference,"IEEE Trans. Syst., Man, Cybern., vol. SMC-7, pp. 293-300, Apr. 1977.
[4] S. K. Chang, "A method for the structural analysis of two dimensional mathematical expressions,"Inform. Sci., vol. 2, pp. 253-272, 1970.
[5] S. K. Chang, "Visual languages: A tutorial and survey,"IEEE Software, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 29-39, Jan. 1987.
[6] S. K. Chang, "The design of a visual language compiler," inProc. IEEE Workshop Visual Languages, Pittsburgh, PA, Oct. 1988, pp. 84-91.
[7] S. K. Chang,Visual Languages and Visual Programming, S. K. Chang, Ed. New York: Plenum, 1990, to be published.
[8] S. K. Chang, T. Ichikawa, and P. A. Ligomenides, Eds.,Visual Languages. New York: Plenum, 1986.
[9] S. K. Chang, M. J. Tauber, B. Yu, and J. S. Yu, "The SILIcon compiler: An icon-oriented system generator,"Int. J. Pattern Recog. Artificial Intell., vol. 2, no. 2, June 1988.
[10] S. K. Chang, M. J. Tauber, B. Yu, and J. S. Yu, "A visual langugage compiler,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 506-525, May 1989.
[11] S. K. Chang, G. Tortora, B. Yu, and A. Guercio, "Icon purity: Toward a formal theory of icons,"Int. J. Pattern Recog. Artificial Intell., vol. 1, no. 3, 4, pp. 377-392, 1987.
[12] C. Crimi, A. Guercio, G. Tortora, and M. Tucci, "An algorithm for inference of tree grammars based on a measure of functional similarity," Univ. Salerno, Internal Rep., 1989.
[13] G. Filé, "Interpretation and reduction of attribute grammars,"Acta Inform., vol. 19, pp. 115-150, 1983.
[14] H. Fukuda and K. Kamata, "Inference of tree automata from sample set of trees,"Int. J. Comput. Inform. Sci., vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 177- 196, 1984.
[15] E. P. Glinert and S. L. Tanimoto, "Pict: An interactive graphical programming environment,"Computer, vol. C-17, no. 11, pp. 7-25, Nov. 1984.
[16] E. M. Gold, "Language identification in the limit,"Inform. Contr., vol. 10, pp. 447-474, 1967.
[17] R. C. Gonzales, J. J. Edwards, and M. G. Thomason, "An algorithm for the inference of tree grammars,"Int. J. Comput. Inform. Sci., vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 145-164, 1976.
[18] H. R. Hartson and D. Hix, "Human computer interface development. Concepts and systems for its management,"ACM Comput. Surveys, vol. 21, no. 1, Mar. 1989.
[19] M. Hirakawa, S. Iwata, I. Yoshimoto, and M. Tanaka, "HI-VISUAL iconic programming," inProc. Workshop Visual Languages, Linkoping, Aug. 1987.
[20] M. Hirakawa, S. Iwata, Y. Tahara, M. Tanaka, and T. Ichikawa, "A framework for construction of icon systems," inProc. IEEE Workshop Visual Languages, Pittsburgh, PA, Oct, 1988, pp. 70-77.
[21] T. Ichikawa and M. Hirakawa, "Visual programming--Toward realization of user-friendly programming environments," inProc. FJCC'87, Dallas, TX, Oct. 25-29, 1987, pp. 129-137.
[22] D. E. Knuth, "Semantics of context-free languages,"Math. Syst. Theory, vol. 2, pp. 127-145, 1968, correction, vol. 5, pp. 95-96, 1971.
[23] B. Levine, "Derivatives of tree sets with applications to grammatical inference,"IEEE Trans. Pattern Anal. Machine Intell., vol. PAMI- 3, no, 3, pp. 285-293, 1981.
[24] B. Levine, "The use of the tree systems inference and a sample support parameter for inferring tree systems,"IEEE Trans. Pattern Anal. Machine Intell., vol. PAMI-4, no. 1, pp. 25-34, 1982.
[25] B. A. Myers, "User interface tools: Introduction and survey,"IEEE Software, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 15-23, Jan. 1989.
[26] D. A. Norman, "Some observations on mental models," inMental Models, Gentner and Stevens, Eds. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1983.
[27] G. Raeder, "A survey of current graphical programming techniques,"Computer, vol. 18, no. 8, pp. 11-24, Aug. 1985.
[28] G. Rohr, "Using visual concepts," inVisual Languages, S. K. Chang, T. Ichikawa, and P. Ligomenides, Eds. New York: Plenum, 1986.
[29] B. Shneiderman,Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1987.
[30] N. C. Shu,Visual Programming. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.
[31] M. J. Tauber, "On mental models and the user interface," inOutcomes in Human-Computer Interaction, Green, Hoc, Murray, and Veer, Eds. London: Academic, 1987.
[32] G. Tortora, "Structure and interpretation of visual languages," inVisual Languages and Visual Programming, S.-K. Chang, Ed. New York: Plenum, 1990, to be published.
[33] G. Tortora and P. Leoncini, "A model for the specification and interpretation of icon-oriented languages," inProc. IEEE Workshop Visual Languages, Pittsburgh, PA, Oct. 1988, pp. 52-60.

Index Terms:
automatic visual language generation; customized visual languages; inference grammar techniques; general semantic information; attribute grammar; knowledge base; application environment; grammars; inference mechanisms; knowledge based systems; visual programming
C. Crimi, A. Guercio, G. Pacini, G. Tortora, M. Tucci, "Automating Visual Language Generation," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 16, no. 10, pp. 1122-1135, Oct. 1990, doi:10.1109/32.60293
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.