Flowboard: A Visual Flow-Based Programming Environment for Embedded Coding

Year
2019
Type(s)
,
Author(s)
Anke Brocker, Simon Voelker, Tony Zelun Zhang, Mathis Müller, and Jan Borchers
Source
In Extended Abstracts of CHI' 19, ACM, INT019:1--INT019:4
Url(s)
https://doi.org/10.1145/3290607.3313247
BibTeX
BibTeX

With Maker-friendly environments like the Arduino IDE, embedded programming has become an important part of STEM education. But learning embedded programming is still hard, requiring both coding and basic electronics skills. To understand if a different programming paradigm can help, we developed Flowboard, which uses Flow-Based Programming (FBP) rather than the usual imperative programming paradigm. Instead of command sequences, learners assemble processing nodes into a graph through which signals and data flow. Flowboard consists of a visual flow-based editor on an iPad, a hardware frame integrating the iPad, an Arduino board and two breadboards next to the iPad, letting learners connect their visual graphs seamlessly to the input and output electronics. Graph edits take effect immediately, making Flowboard a live coding environment.