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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
visual programming language
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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. Visualprogramming 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
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.