Visual programming languages: A survey

Abstract

Over the past ten years, frequent increases in computer processing speed and graphics display capabilities have made possible a great deal of research and experimentation in the field of visual programming languages. A variety of different design methodologies have arisen from these research efforts, and numerous visual programming systems have been developed to address both specific application areas, such as user interface design and physical simulation, and more general programming tasks. We present a survey of the field of visual programming languages beginning with an historical overview of some of the pioneering efforts in the field. In addition, we present different classifications of visual programming languages, touch on implementation and design issues, and discuss efforts to formalize the theoretical basis for visual languages. We also discuss and examine a variety of the more important projects in the field over the last few years. Note: This survey was originally written as a term project paper for the graduate course on programming language design in December 1997. As was required by the course instructor, we uploaded the report to a web page, received our grades, and forgot all about it. To our great surprise, others have found this paper through various Internet search engines and started referring to it. In December 2004 we decided to submi

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