Natural language programming: Styles, strategies, and contrasts
by L. A. Miller
College students who were not familiar with computers were asked to produce written natural language procedural instructions as directions for others to follow. These directions were solutions for six file-manipulation problems that also could reasonably be solved by writing computer programs. The written texts were examined from five points of view: solution correctness, preferences of expression, contextual referencing, word usage, and formal programming languages. The results provide insight both on the manner in which people express computer-like procedures 'naturally' and on what features programming languages should include if they are to be more 'natural-like.'