Explorable Explanations And A Reactive Document IDE

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It’s no secret I’m a fan of Bret Victor‘s work and the notion that programming tools should interact with coding and provide immediate, responsive feedback to changes.

Recently, I’ve come across two intriguing projects / products that both draw upon this idea:

  1. Carbide (currently available as an early alpha version) is a new kind of JavaScript IDE that both immediately visualises the result of code changes and allows you to manipulate and visually interact with your code using UI controls such as sliders.
  2. Explorable Explanations is a website that showcases quite a few examples of what Bret Victor calls reactive documents: “A reactive document allows the reader to play with the author’s assumptions and analyses, and see the consequences.“.

This kind of documents promotes exploration and fosters active learning. Instead of limiting the reader to taking the author’s assumptions for granted reactive documents virtually demand the reader explore the ideas, theories and data sets presented to her.

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