The Mechanics of Explain™

An Explain script is a simple ASCII text file you might create with any editor, even the infamous EDLIN. We recommend you use Windows® Notepad or the editor window built into the Framework™ for editing scripts. You cannot use a word processor like WordPerfect® or Word for Windows. They leave formatting and font information in the script, which the compiler then cannot process.

NOTE: Explain uses tab indentation to mark program blocks. Many editors, including the DOS EDIT program, substitute spaces for tabs in a file. The Explain compiler is unable to read a file with spaces in place of tabs. Do not use the DOS EDIT program to modify an Explain script!

Run an Explain script by selecting it from the Framework Experiment menu. The Framework creates a runner window as the first step in executing the script. Behind the runner window, a compiler built into the Framework turns the script into a tokenized (machine-executable) form. This accounts for the short delay you may notice at the start of each experiment. Following the compilation, an interpreter takes the tokenized code and starts running it. When the code runs, visible changes happen to the runner window. We refer to these separate phases of running as the Compiler and the Interpreter.