Now that it's pretty clear I really am making a spreadsheet for images (something that I was telling non-technical enquirers back in December, when they asked what this project is all about), I've been thinking about the marvels of the Excel dependency viewer. Spreadsheets are usable without a dependency view, but they can save a lot of time when debugging. That's an example of hidden dependencies that I often use when teaching Cognitive Dimensions, but the Layer Language (Palimpsest - it says so on my prototype's window headers now, even if not in the tagline of this blog :-) is just starting to get complex enough that this is annoying.
So after deferring it for a couple of weeks while doing other things, I sat down in earnest today to create the dependency graph viewer. Preparations included kicking Elizabeth and Helen out (Elizabeth driven to school instead of walking with me, Helen over the mountain to do a week's shopping), and cancelling my routine weekly visit to Beryl's group in Auckland.
It's just possible that these two issues are related - the problem I'm trying to solve, and the tool I need when trying to solve it. A typical "tree of trees" episode, that could easily distract an abstraction-lover into a meta-shift, with progress on the original problem greatly deferred. Hopefully, today, I can stick with my piece of paper and finish coding my dependency graph (cycles and all :-)