Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


The Topes Format Editor and Parser

Christopher Scaffidi, Brad Myers, Mary Shaw

May 2007

Also appears as Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Technical Report CMU-HCII-07-100


Keywords: End user programming, end user software engineering, data manipulation, data formats

It is currently difficult and time-consuming to validate and manipulate data in web applications, so we have developed an editor and a parser to simplify these tasks. Our editor enables end-user programmers to create and debug reusable, flexible data formats without learning a complex new language. Our parser uses these formats to turn strings into structured objects and to report its level of confidence that each string is a valid instance of the format. End-user programmers can use our system to create validation code that takes a graduated response to slightly invalid data. We evaluate our system's expressiveness by defining formats for commonly-occurring web data.

19 pages

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