It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Developers have been left with out this benefit since the dawn of the computer age.
In more recent additions to the plethera of available programming languages, such as Java and C#, developers have been able to use HTML or HTML-like contructs to add references to images to the source code. In order to see the images, a developer must pass the source code through a translator which outputs HTML. This HTML is then brought up in a browser where the images are finally seen. There are quite a few steps to go through just to reap the benefits of having images available and obviously this process isn’t WYSIWYG.
What a developer actually needs is to be able to see the images in her editor along with the source code. A first pass implentation of this can be done today without changing the source code storage format in any way.
Javadoc with Images
But why stop there? Why show HTML and javadoc tags for other elements? The entire javadoc can be shown and edited WYSIWYG in the source code editor.
WYSIWYG Javadoc in Source Editor
The concept can be extended even further to all comments to provide for an incredibly rich development environment. The image below shows what an inline-WYSIWYG editor might look like. This editor may be rich enough to create and manipulate the shapes seen in the image. The format in which the source is saved would need to be enhanced to store this rich media information.
WYSIWYG Inline Comment in Source Editor
This entry is continuing the thread on separating the presentation (view) of a programming language from its storage format (model). There are also entries on annotating, internationalizing and de-textifying source code as well as simplifying the understanding of code structure.