| ||Ask HN: Why does visual programming suck?|
212 points by dvdhsu on June 4, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 315 comments |
|Almost every visual programming tool I've seen on HN looks so cool when I see the gif, but when I start using it, it's invariably a frustrating experience. I think it might be because customizing the last 20% is difficult visually, and you so you have to drop down to code. But once you're in visual programming land, changing abstraction layers is difficult.|
When I asked Alan Kay this question, his first response was "well there are various types of visual programming, some of them have taken off". The type of visual programming I'm thinking about here is a WYSIWYG drag and drop interface for building UIs. Imagine having prebuilt views (tables, buttons, dropdowns, etc.) and being able to drag them and lay them out how you want. Then you interact with their API: this table pulls in data from this SQL statement; this button executes this HTTP query; this dropdown publishes this value, which this SQL statement uses via string interpolation. These "widgets" publish their data, which can be used by other widgets (w1.value), and inside SQL queries. The tables can pull in data from SQL queries. You can use string interpolation inside SQL queries, so dropdowns can influence the query being run. So selecting a drop down value would cause the query to change, which would automatically propagate changes to the table.
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