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Programming on a touch screen

I mentioned this project I’ve been working on for 20+ years a few weeks ago.   I remember my first pocket computer.   It was a Palm Pilot.   I remember traveling on the train to visit my parents. I looked at the Palm Pilot and thought, “This is a computer. Why can’t I program on it?”

The world has changed.  Pocket computers are bigger. The touch part of the screen is the whole front surface. You can access the internet.

I still can’t program on them. 

Yes, I can type on the on-screen keyboard. It feels as artificial as using a straw to get water to wash my face.   Using the on-screen keyboard limits the touch screen to text input.

A touch screen is for 2d drawing and gestures, not typing.

DRAKON and other visual programming languages have been tried, using a mouse to allow drawing your programs.   Using a mouse to draw anything is hard.  In many ways, a mouse to draw is worse than using a touch screen for the on-screen keyboard.

Today, 87% of everyone on the planet has a touch screen somewhere near them. Less than half a percent of those are software developers. The appendix of this post has how I calculated with those numbers.

I have been exploring how I can program natively on the touch screen.  

My current iteration compares programming to pipeline UIs. You see boxes connected showing how data flows from one process in the pipeline to the next. I could draw a data flow for every process in a computer including for machine code. has as much as has been done until last fall. Comment below on why it will fail.


 26.9 million software developers. 5.13 billion working-age people.   7.1 billion people with cell phones compared to 8.1 billion people