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i completely dismiss scratch as an actual visual programming environment. i honestly don't think of it as visual programming at all because it simply takes a text-based language and replaces the syntax with blocks rather than spaces, semi-colons, brackets, etc. i personally feel it is misguided. dynamicland is more of a visual programming environment than scratch is.

so here, you are taking what amounts to a toy and something directly marketed towards children as your shining example of a visual programming language.

in my opinion, labview is the most complex, general-purpose visual programming environment, and people have clearly written rather large, complex applications with it. why isn't it adopted more? a lot of reasons, one of the biggest ones being cost. the other the association with a particular domain, but i consider it a general-purpose language. even if one gets passed that, there is still a huge bias that text is still THE way to program and interact with computers.




"Scratch" is simply a visual representation of structural editing, with the well-known advantages and drawbacks of the latter. Whether you think of that as "visual programming" is up to you, but the general use case should not be dismissed.


> i completely dismiss scratch as an actual visual programming environment.

well put, couldn't agree more, I often use scratch as an anti example of diagrammatic programming.

visual programming has this topological aspect to it (move a box around and don't change the program), and it demands compatibility with this from the underlying thing, whatever it is, state machines or stream processing functions or whatever.

labview is a great example of a practical use of it, which some relatively minor, but critical modifications you can use it for so many more applications... maybe one day statebox can fill that gap, but we have a lot to do still


I agree completely. Scratch is a snap-together UI for traditional code. Just because the programming text is embedded inside draggable blocks doesn't make it a visual language, its a different UI for a text editor. Sure, its visual, but it doesn't actually change the language at all in any way. It could be just as easily represented as text, the semantics are the same. Its a more beginner-friendly mouse-centric IDE basically.


You've made my point... All languages compile to assembly so every visual editor is just an IDE for a text-based language -- the one actually run by the computer.


That's not what I said at all. I said that Scratch is akin to writing your words on pieces of paper and then arranging them into sentences, instead of writing them as individual letters. Its a text editor that represents words and expressions as draggable boxes instead of giving you a freeform text input. You seem to be saying that since everything is essentially a turing machine, all languages are basically just an IDE for programming a turing machine.

Having a language compile to C (as many languages do) does not at all mean that writing in that language is the same as writing in C and that the compiler is essentially just an IDE or for C. Languages, visual or textual, encourage us to think in a certain way. Even though a visual language compiles down to the same thing as a textual language does not necessarily make them equivalent and certainly doesn't say anything about the kinds of problems they help you solve or the type of thinking that they encourage.




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