Drakon Book : Chapter 5 [English translation]

Chapter 5

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The problem of improvement of the mind:


Mind! When it is over so long a minority yours!

William Gezlit

TEXT AS visual scene

The retina of the human eye is made up of 126.5 million sensitive elements – receptors. It is able to perceive light of different wavelengths (in the range 380 … 760 nm) reflected by objects in the field of view, and convert it into electrical impulses that are sent to the higher parts of the brain along the optic nerve. Light affects the sensitive material (rhodopsin) receptors, causes changes in the structure of the protein (opsin) and starts a chain of biochemical processes in the retina that initiate the transmission of impulses along the optic nerve.

What information about physical objects of the external world pass these impulses? The eye is not able to perceive any characteristics of physical objects, but only those that are associated with light energy, ie. E. The optical characteristics. For the eyes of the outside world – an optical outside world and its component objects – optical lens. Impulses traveling to the brain along the optic nerve, contain information only about the optical properties of the external world. Therefore, from the point of view of the eye, any text and any computer program, which is in the field of view – this is only an optical phenomenon, t. E. The text of optical and optical program.

Diostsena – A two-dimensional optical information stage, designed for visual perception of information man lying in a field of view and imposes a person on paper or a computer screen. Diostsena usually takes the form of a rectangle whose dimensions are conveniently set using the concept of “format diostseny.” For simplicity the format adopted in the standard ESKD (Unified system for design documentation): A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A4 × 4. For visual perception is not only important diostseny format, but also its solid angle depends on the distance between the eye and diostsenoy.

Sound program – is any computer program (whether one of the drawings technology I-CASE, source code, object code printing, and so on. D.), Considered as diostsena.

Simultaneous and successiveness PERCEPTION

Over millions of years of evolution system “eye – the brain” was changed so as to achieve two objectives: “to see as much as possible (at one time), and see how you can more clearly.”

To solve the first problem in humans firstly formed extremely large field of view size: 100 … 110 ° vertically and 120 … 130 ° – horizontally; secondly, formed of the peripheral device. To solve the second problem arose in the retina area of high visual acuity (the fovea), and formed the unit of the central (foveal) vision.

The eye and the brain are able to operate in two modes: Simultaneous (Quick Review panoramic reception of information by the peripheral vision) and successiveness (slow reception details with the help of central vision). Their optimal combination provides important adaptive effect. When simultaneous (simultaneous) perception system “eye – the brain” has the ability to quickly, almost instantly taken huge amounts of visual information. Simultaneous we perceive human faces, scenes of nature, street scenes and more. When successiveness (successive) made ​​a thorough perception of sequential analysis of important information, the primary selection which occurred during the simultaneous perception.

When reading long verbal text eye and brain work mainly in successiveness mode (ie. E. Slow), the perception of the image is dominated by simultaneous (fast) mode. If the same information can be presented in text and graphic form, the latter provides a higher rate of understanding of the fact that mostly successiveness mode of perception of the text is replaced by the predominantly simultaneous mode image analysis.


The retina of the human eye is a two-dimensional surface, to it any information about the outside world the camera eye turns in the two-dimensional image on the retina. We are interested in the perception of two-dimensional artificial visual scenes (diostsen and sound program). It is useful to note that the artificial two-dimensional scenes and natural three-dimensional scenes of the world have a “common destiny” for the camera eye leads them to a common denominator, transforming into a two-dimensional retinal visual image. Given this fact, and based on the known results of the theory of evolution, neurobiology and psychology, we can formulate some postulates that are important for further analysis.

  • To increase the productivity of the brain when working with texts and drawings necessary to realize the fullest possible use of the features of the eyes and brain work that have developed over millions of years of evolution, to select the best combination of successive and simultaneous perception of the central and peripheral vision.
  • Retinal image diostseny its parameters must be (within reason) to assimilate the retinal image of the natural visual scenes. The structure, size and solid angle artificial visual scenes (diostsen) in many respects, can and should be close to the corresponding parameters of the natural scenes that makes the most efficient use of existing mechanisms in the human brain, formed in the process of perception of natural scenes and, above all, powerful mechanisms simultaneous perception.
  • To make use of these mechanisms as much as possible in order to increase the productivity of the brain diostseny, their optical and optical alphabet syntax should be designed with the help of specially developed science-based cognitive methods. For this cognitive diostsen relevant parameters must be agreed with the structural characteristics of the eye and the brain.
  • Diostsena should reflect not only the substance but also the structure of the problem situation, facilitate thinking, to give it greater accuracy and power.
  • It is advisable to look diostsena not as a set of isolated fragments with broken lines, and as a complete holistic visual image having a clear outline, and the fragments of the image would also have the contour of the closed lines. The presence of loops facilitates the isolation of the visual sense of the background figures at the level of entire drawing, and at the level of its fragments 1.

Our immediate goal is to lead the reader to the following conclusion: replacement of an equivalent text drawing (for example, the transition from text to visual programming) ensures higher productivity due to brain “simultanizatsii”, t. E. Increasing the speed of the brain during the transition from slow perception of successive text simultaneous perception of a rapid drawing.


Organic fundamentally ineradicable flaw text representation of knowledge (in particular, the text programming) is that it does not allow the use massive reserves of performance of the human brain associated with its ability to speed the processing of large volumes of simultaneous perceived information.

The rationale for this finding is as follows. If you stand on the position of neuroscience and cognitive ergonomics, that – contrary to conventional wisdom – the invention of text books, text and computer software to the text user interface was in a sense “unnatural” events. Firstly, the working field of view significantly narrowed, as the solid angle of a page of text or a text display screen is much smaller than the physiological view. Second, significantly reduced speed of information processing in the brain, because the visual analyzer, designed primarily for the evolution of rapid simultaneous perception of huge amounts of information in the wide field of view, immediate release of her most important information and rapid decision-making force began work in artificially slow and inefficient because of successive regime inevitable when reading text. Thus, the evolution of the piece of work on the formation of powerful mechanisms of simultaneous peripheral vision when reading the text was partially unclaimed. There was an undesirable imbalance in the distribution of the load between the two visual systems – central and peripheral, with the result that the role of the latter was weakened.

Meanwhile, the peripheral system to be central in the sense that “for an adequate understanding of the visual scene is more important than the ability to simultaneously grasp of large-scale relationships between objects, than the possibility of subtle analysis of individual parts …”. From clinical practice it is known that the loss of all areas of the field of view, except the central (foveal) is almost equivalent to the area of blindness. Thus, creating a text book, text and programming computers with a text user interface, ie. E. Artificially turning off a significant portion of the peripheral vision, the authors of these inventions have condemned the readers of the business literature, programmers and users to a partial “blindness”, so to speak, out of operation a significant part of their brain, so that the huge reserves of the collective intelligence of these people are not used.

In all cases, when the further growth of the productivity of the brain workers become urgent and a priority, we can predict that the textual representation of knowledge and textual programming will give way to a visual (graphic).

Cognitive essence of the above considerations can be characterized as a principle simultanizatsii if text and drawing are equivalent (contain the same information), replacing text best brain drawing increased productivity of workers due to more active involvement in the work of simultaneous mechanisms of perception and thought. The word “thinking” added is no coincidence, for, as was shown by Glaser, one can “identify visual perception with a specific objective thinking.”

Should the format DIOSTSENY?

In the traditional approach the question of choosing the format of sound program (ie. E. Its dimensions – height and width) to the programmer almost never arises. In fact, if the computer and printer already purchased, the size of the display screen and the format of the page listing rigidly defined. However, it should be borne in mind that the selection of the optimum size can have a profound effect on productivity.

So, what should be the format diostseny? What format sound program ensures maximum efficiency of the human brain?The answer will be different for text and visual programming.

For the case of commonly used text format screen and printer A4, apparently, close to the optimum. However, visual programming is not the case.

The principle of effectiveness depending on your perception of the proportion of the field of view. The rate of simultaneous visual perception diostseny depends on its size and solid angle, t. E. On the actual proportion of the field of view is used. If this percentage is low, the speed will be negligible if the great – great. If the proportion is too small, you should talk about the simultaneous perception of underutilization of capacity, t. E. An artificially induced partial “blindness”, which affects the productivity brain.

Another drawback is that the reduction in size of visual unreasonable diostseny may cause cognitive overload brain.Suppose you have a drawing of a visual program, covering the entire area of ​​a large sheet of paper A1. Suppose further that we have for research cut it into eight A4 pages and began to turn present them to the person who has to read a drawing program, and to understand it in detail.

To reveal the essence of the matter, resort to analogy. Suppose you want to identify a person from a photograph. If we have a normal picture, the problem is easily solved. But what if the picture is broken into eight parts, which are forbidden to look at the same time which are shown one by one? Obviously, under these conditions, solution of the problem becomes extremely difficult to identify, and with the number of fragments – impossible.

Returning to the example of the drawing program, we can say that the dismemberment of a holistic visual image visual program into several fragments have artificially induced complexity of the problem, leading to unjustified overload of the brain. In the context of such a subdivision of 95% is spent on intellectual effort contrived job of recreating a holistic visual image and only 5% – to solve the basic problem (understanding of the program). In fact, to understand the meaning of the ensemble of eight diostsen, the reader must constantly flipping through the pages of the program back and forth, alternately read, understand and remember all of the eight fragments of the drawing program to find and mentally connect all segments, indicating a transition line from leaf to leaf; then his brain has to “stick together” fragments into a single interconnected way. All these labor costs are unnecessary, when we look at sound program A1.

For the conditions described in Example fair conclusion: if you replace the eight “torn pieces of” A4 to a single coherent picture A1, can significantly increase the speed and efficiency of the brain thinking programmer. This conclusion is supported by the international practice of creating engineering drawings and wiring diagrams, which are widely used large format A1 and A0, which was enshrined in the relevant international and national standards.

These considerations allow us to formulate the principle of priority complete image. If there are two equivalent graphical representations of the same program: 1) as one large drawing (eg A4 × 4, A1 or A0), which clearly reflects the structure of the problematic situation in the form of a holistic and slender visual image, and 2) as a set of several small drawings (for example, four, eight or sixteen formatok A4), the replacement of small set of drawings on a big brain increases productivity by increasing the share of the activity of the physiological field of view, the replacement images memory images of perception, eliminating stray cognitive load and more efficient use of simultaneous mechanisms.


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is true, provided that a good image. The latter condition is essential because the inept use of drawings and paintings can only bring harm. The question is: under what circumstances the replacement text image gives the maximum gain from the cognitive point of view of the intensification of the brain?

Simply put, these are only two conditions: a visual diostsena should be, first, a good size, and secondly, a good structure 1.

What does the good size? The dimensions depend on the cognitive complexity of the problem. For simple cases, you can use A4 and A3, for more complex – A4 × 4, A1, A0 for particularly complex. Recall again that all of these formats have been tested in a mass global engineering practice. They begin to be used in the practice of programming. For example, usingCASE -Instrument ProKit WORKBENCH firm McDonnel Douglas Information Systems uses software drawing 3 × 4 ft (91 × 122 cm) – is a cross between A1 and A0.

What does good structure? The following is a sample answer, but not the general case, but only to Block Diagram (because the language is based on DRAGON flowcharts; most software drawings methodology RAD – also block diagram) 2. In our opinion, the block diagram have a good structure, if taken into account when they are created (perhaps with exceptions) the following rules.

  • Diostseny structure should not be chaotic, and a regular and predictable.
  • Diostsenu desirable split into zones with visual and meaning of 3 (zone typically contains several blocks).
  • The appointment is desirable to clarify the areas with the help of labels, the location of which in the drawing is subject to the logic of visual pattern and facilitate its understanding.
  • The boundaries of the zones (allocated spaces or lines) should have a simple rectangular shape.
  • The structural zone blocks and their relationship is desirable to streamline the two Cartesian axes. Pre-need to clearly define the criteria for detention diostseny orientation axes x and y , specifically mentioned criteria and meaning of eye movements on these axes in both the forward and reverse direction.
  • The connecting line between the units must be vertically and horizontally. Slope of the line is not recommended.
  • Desirably, the inputs and outputs of the blocks had an unequivocal orientation. For example, if it is determined that the input line is attached to the top, the other connection (to the right, left and bottom) should not be considered very good.
  • The number of intersections, breaks and fractures in the connecting lines must be minimized.
  • Avoid visual disturbances, t. E. Notation of excess, without which you can do that distract attention from the main.
  • Closed loop rather than the broken line.
  • Use simple and intuitively clear means to separate the semantic shape (simple or compound) from the background.
  • Contour units should be fatter than the connecting lines.
  • It should also use some of the rules recommended in engineering psychology for the design of information display, such as the right of meter and rhythm.

We emphasize again that these recommendations do not claim to military orders, which should be strictly implemented in all areas. Expressed tailor the language, but rather a standard pattern that each client must adjust the figure. In other words, it’s common position, but on their basis – after accounting for the specific design of a class of block diagrams – can be formulated specific rules. In subsequent chapters will be described thoroughly justified and provided numerous examples of elaborate sets of ergonomic rules, the language used to create a dragon.

WHY psychological experiment?

The modern approach to the design of cognitive linguistic programming tools consists of six partially overlapping phases:

  • development of theoretical propositions of cognitive programming;
  • their transformation into specific ergonomic design rules of language means;
  • the development of the desired programming language with the necessary cognitive and other characteristics based on these rules;
  • check the effectiveness of the cognitive structures of the new language with a psychological experiment, built according to strict criteria adopted in experimental psychology;
  • assessment of cognitive qualities of a new language by expert estimates derived from the use of language in several software projects;
  • completion language to eliminate cognitive deficiencies.

The purpose of this section – managed to emphasize the special importance of the psychological experiment as a powerful means of control necessary to improve the quality of cognitive projected languages.

The term “Psychology of Computer Programming” introduced Tom Love, a psychologist at the company “General Electric”, engaged in practices to improve production programs. Psychology program is designed to solve a number of problems, in particular, to eliminate random and subjective factors resulting from short-term project, and commercial considerations and lead to a rough, qualitative judgments about “what people must like it” or “it is easier to use.” For the experimental study of its recommendations psychology program prefers to use exact quantitative research methods of human activity.

If yesterday, many developers of programming languages ​​often justify their position with arguments like “it’s convenient,” “it is clear and clear to everyone,” “it is extremely clear and readable language construct,” “it’s easier”, “so soon”, “so user friendly “that today becomes clearer extreme uncertainty, weakness and subjectivity of such statements. The failure of traditional methods to assess the visibility and convenience is particularly evident in situations when during the debate on the topic “whose notation is better?”, Each of the authors who defend opposite points of view, to announce his notation system “clearer” and “more comfortable” .

To resolve disputes properly delivered required a psychological experiment. In particular, to find out which of the two language constructs (or forms of knowledge representation) is more understandable, it is possible to conduct an experiment on two representative samples (groups of people, such as students), of which the first group solves the problem by the first language or notation designs and the second – enjoys competing structures and symbols. Comparing objective quantitative indicators such as the average time for solving the problem, or the average for the group number of correct answers to the test questions, you can get an objective assessment, speaking in favor of a linguistic structure, notation, visual form of the drawing, and so on. D. Using a well-established technology-driven psychological experiments eliminates subjective overcome differences between different developers – et language to eliminate the cognitive error and thereby significantly improve the quality of cognitive projected languages.

Unfortunately, in our country, the psychology is poorly developed software and has almost no relations with the departments of computer science, mathematics and computer programming schools. According to the author, as a first step should be to introduce a course of cognitive psychology program, or of programming for students of the Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics, as well as other relevant departments of leading universities that train programmers.

ERROR James Martin

James Martin – a world-class specialist, a recognized authority in the field of computer science, author of many books, including the fundamental guidelines for the methodology of RAD . He – one of those who listened to, whose opinion largely determines the style of work and practices of many organizations and experts around the world.

That’s why it makes sense to draw attention to a controversial one, to say the erroneous position that Martin systematically defends in his writings over the years. This is the recommendation of Martin used to graphically represent software blueprints “normal size” that can be printed on a standard printer. The incorrectness of the associated table illustrates the argument. 1, in the left column which contains recommendations Martin, and the right – to refute their considerations.

“IT eccentric engineers need a large drawing,

And we, cunning programmers, beating a small ”

According to the author, the position of Martin reflects a common misconception, deeply rooted in the minds of many experts in computer science and an obstacle to progress in improving the efficiency of the brain programmers.

Let us follow the reasoning of Martin. They are very simple. Personal computers and printers became cheaper mass distribution and are available to all. In contrast, the plotters are relatively rare. Therefore, when choosing the visual format drawings should focus on existing equipment. Based on this, Martin, sacrificing for the sake of clarity reduction format, offers an elaborate system of measures to reduce the size of the drawings in order to use “cheap printers” and save on plotters. Although in some particular situations, this approach may be reasonable, but on the scale of a national or global economy the idea of ​​”cheap printer” does not improve, but on the contrary, worsens the economic indicators of the information industry since winning at cost plotters, we lose performance disproportionately labor. This means that the strategic plan is not Martin sacrificed a pawn for a queen, but rather the queen for a pawn.

Adoption Martin Objection
Drawings of programs need to be compact Compact – is not an end in itself. To it should work in cases where it increases productivity. If the compact drawing difficult to understand the issue and reduces productivity, it is reasonable to refuse it
Drawings of programs should be carried out on A4 paper This is true if the problem is a simple drawing and illustrating its entirety is placed on a sheet of A4. If the problem is complex and requires, for example, 400 formatok A4, switch to more profitable large format. In this case you will need only 50 sheets A1 or A0 25 sheets. Large drawings, drawn in accordance with the rules of cognitive ergonomics with technology I-CASE , reduce the cognitive load on the brain of the reader and increase mental performance in the process of understanding and analysis of complex software projects
Large drawings are inconvenient in that it is difficult to send to other people or to take home This is not true.Worldwide engineers use large drawings: they are constantly being transferred from one organization to another, take to work, and so home. D. The author himself has done many times and can vouch that this is no problem. Drawings formats A1 and A0 known method several times bend and placed in a folder for papers A4
Barry Boehm writes: “The main reason for that increase productivity of software development (software) has become an acute problem is the increasing demand for new software are not consistent with the existing capabilities of traditional approaches.” There is a dramatic gap between the achieved level of performance and an exponentially growing demand, which reflects an objective tendency, associated with a continuous increase in the role of software in the economy of any developed country. The main contradiction of our time – between powerful processors and bulky and full of errors programs. It was here, on the part of software may come a new revolution, and then the monotonous and bland for computer cases interrupted by new extraordinary events. But this is unlikely to happen soon.

In our opinion, the last estimate should be made ​​clear: a new revolution in productivity occur when the design of the next generation of computer methodologies and tools for building programs will be widely recognized and established in the top corner of the priority role of cognitive factors. In practice, this means that the battle for performance must be translated from the strategic reserve to the army all three “cognitive weapons”:

  1. transition from a text representation of knowledge and text to visual programming;
  2. increasing the size diostsen and sound program to the optimal size, eliminates the effect of “partial blindness”;
  3. scientifically justified increase the visibility of visual forms of knowledge representation and visual programs and designing structures diostsen based on accepted theories and cognitive set of rules in the revised managed psychological experiment.

These three points can be characterized as a preliminary plan of strategic reform of the global practice of programming that is offered for discussion and criticism. The rest of the book can be seen as an attempt to justify this plan.


  1. From the point of view of neuroscience and psychology, informational messages recorded with notations written language and the individual requirements on paper or screen, enter the higher parts of the brain through the visual analyzer. Consequently, these posts is nothing like an optical code presented in the form of one or more diostsen. This code has an optical syntax and semantics of the optic.
  2. Between diostsen optical performance and productivity of the brain there is a connection: changing the structure and characteristics of diostsen (transmitting a predetermined semantic message), you can increase the efficiency of the brain.
  3. To improve the working of the mind, an optical syntax and semantics diostsen should be designed so that diostsen characteristics and features of the brain have been agreed between them.
  4. New cognitive approach – an attempt to prepare a theoretical platform for developing some techniques for improving intellectual productivity of the human brain and the construction of next-generation languages ​​that meet the criteria to improve the work of the mind and super understanding. It is expected that this will create the preconditions for reform of the global strategic programming practices.

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