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What is a Visual Programming Language?

A visual programming language is one that does not involve explicitly typed text, but instead generally takes the form of a user-created diagram. Visual programming languages generally suffer from scalability problems as for complex programs, the diagrams quickly grow complex and difficult to manage. For this reason, they are primarily used for educational purposes, or design exploration purposes.

Quartz Design Tool for Mac OS X - An Example of a Visual Programming ToolQuartz Design Tool for Mac OS X - An Example of a Visual Programming Tool

A popular example of a visual programming language is Lego Mindstorms, which allows the user to represent control flow through a program using nodes and links. The user can drag and drop commands and then connect them using links.

The visual nature is believed to be more approachable and may also facilitate simultaneous visualization of the program, concurrently with its creation. The visual nature may also inspire developers to explore other variations since it does not necessitate typing formal computer program syntax.

by Margaret Walker on Fri, 07/02/2010 - 21:08

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