We need visual programming. No, not like that.

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2024-07-11 14:30:04

Most visual programming environments fail to get any usage. Why? They try to replace code syntax and business logic but developers never try to visualize that. Instead, developers visualize state transitions, memory layouts, or network requests.

In my opinion, those working on visual programming would be more likely to succeed if they started with aspects of software that developers already visualize.

But every time one of these visual programming systems come out, we think "oh neat!" and never try them. I have never seen any of these visual programming systems even be mentioned while trying to solve problems. Why? Why do we keep circling back to visual programming if nobody ever uses it?

One reason is because we think that other, more inexperienced, programmers might have an easier time with visual programming. If only code wasn't as scary! If only it was visual! Excel Formula is the most popular programming language by a few orders of magnitude and it can look like this:

I'll ignore this reason because many of these tools explicitly meant for experienced developers. They assume that you will install them with npm install or deploy its code to AWS Lambdas.

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