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In computer science, the term automatic programming identifies a type of computer programming in which some mechanism generates a computer program rather than have human programmers write the code.

There has been little agreement on the precise definition of automatic programming, mostly because its meaning has changed over time. David Parnas, tracing the history of "automatic programming" in published research, noted that in the 1940s it described automation of the manual process of punching paper tape. Later it referred to translation of high-level programming languages like Fortran and ALGOL. In fact, one of the earliest programs identifiable as a compiler was called Autocode. Parnas concluded that "automatic programming has always been a euphemism for programming in a higher-level language than was then available to the programmer."

Generative programming

Generative programming is a style of computer programming that uses automated source code creation through generic frames, classes, prototypes, template, aspect, and code generator to improve programmer productivity. It is often related to code-reuse topics such as component-based software engineering and product family engineering.

Source code generation

Source code generation is the act of generating source code basing on an ontological model such as a template and is accomplished with a programming tool such as a template processor or an IDE. These tools allow the generation of source code through any of various means. A macro processor, such as the C preprocessor, which replaces patterns in source code according to relatively simple rules, is a simple form of source code generator.

Implementations

IDEs such as Interface Builder and Microsoft Visual Studio have more advanced forms of source code generation, with which the programmer can interactively select and customize "snippet" of source code. Program "wizard", which allow the programmer to design graphical user interfaces interactively while the compiler invisibly generates the corresponding source code, are another common form of source code generation.

Besides the generation of code from a wizard or template, IDEs can also generate and manipulate code to automate code refactorings that would require multiple (error prone) manual steps, thereby improving developer productivity. Examples of such features in IDEs are the refactoring class browsers for Smalltalk and those found in Java IDEs like IntelliJ and Eclipse.

Examples:

  • Altova MapForce is a graphical data mapping, conversion, and integration tool capable of generating application code in Java, C#, or C++ for executing recurrent transformations.


  • Tankogen is a code generator framework that allows to easily develop reusable and user-friendly code generators. It generates code in any language. Existing generators are reused to create higher abstraction generators.


  • NConstruct is a Windows and Web rapid enterprise application development tool and environment for .NET Framework environment. It generates .NET C# source code for all tiers of the application through simple wizard procedures.








  • LatticeFramework Studio is a model-driven and template-based rapid enterprise application development tool for .NET Framework environment. It generates C#, VB.NET, Java, Php, diagrams and documentations through simple wizard procedures.


  • MyProLang is a template-driven automatic natural imperative programming language that utilizes GUI templates to generate proprietary natural language source-code, that can be eventually compiled into an executable program.


See also





References

  1. Ricardo Aler Mur, " Automatic Inductive Programming", ICML 2006 Tutorial. June 2006.
  2. D. L. Parnas. " Software Aspects of Strategic Defense Systems." American Scientist. November 1985.
  3. Martin Fowler, "Crossing Refactoring's Rubicon"
  • Generative Programming: Methods, Tools, and Applications by Krzysztof Czarnecki and Ulrich W. Eisenecker, Addison Wesley, 2000.


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