visual programming language

Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

visual programming language

(VPL) Any programming language that allows the user to specify a program in a two-(or more)-dimensionsional way. Conventional textual languages are not considered two-dimensional since the compiler or interpreter processes them as one-dimensional streams of characters. A VPL allows programming with visual expressions - spatial arrangements of textual and graphical symbols.

VPLs may be further classified, according to the type and extent of visual expression used, into icon-based languages, form-based languages and diagram languages. Visual programming environments provide graphical or iconic elements which can be manipulated by the user in an interactive way according to some specific spatial grammar for program construction.

A visually transformed language is a non-visual language with a superimposed visual representation. Naturally visual languages have an inherent visual expression for which there is no obvious textual equivalent.

Visual Basic, Visual C++ and the entire Microsoft Visual family are not, despite their names, visual programming languages. They are textual languages which use a graphical GUI builder to make programming interfaces easier. The user interface portion of the programming environment is visual, the languages are not. Because of the confusion caused by the multiple meanings of the term "visual programming", Fred Lakin has proposed the term "executable graphics" as an alternative to VPL.

Some examples of visual programming languages are Prograph, Pict, Tinkertoy, Fabrik, CODE 2.0 and Hyperpascal.

Usenet newsgroup: news:comp.lang.visual (NOT for Visual Basic or Visual C++).
References in periodicals archive ?
NXT-G is a visual programming language and environment developed by Lego for Lego Mindstorms NXT robotics kit.
The use of visual programming language was not enforced but highly recommended; groups could choose any language to program their robot.
This does not mean that it is a visual programming language where some static icons have been replaced by animated icons.
Visual programming languages attempt to encode descriptions of these dynamic processes with static pictures.
All of these may be considered primitive visual programming languages, he says.
Hyperwire incorporates a true visual programming language which lets designers of multimedia Web sites and powerful corporate Intranets create 3D VRML content which interacts with traditional 2D content, such as maps, images, graphics and controls.
6, 1995--Hewlett-Packard Company today unveils a more open and powerful version of HP VEE, its widely used visual programming language.
Repenning's pioneering work in 1996 brought one of the first "drag and drop" Visual Programming Languages into being, changing forever the way programming can be taught and learned.
They write for data mining researchers and information technology workers who are already familiar with MSSQL Analysis Services and with one of Microsoft's visual programming languages.
DTx-EZ/RT-Streaming (DT-XS) allows users of our powerful high-performance DSP hardware to develop real-time test and measurement applications rapidly using the latest visual programming languages.
VBVoice combines an easy-to-use, flowcharting-style design interface with the open architecture and connectivity of visual programming languages like Visual Basic.
In the near future, most popular visual programming languages will enable developers to add OLE custom controls to their `tools window.