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Definition: visual programming


Developing programs with tools that allow menus, buttons, icons and other screen components to be selected from a palette. Also called a "GUI builder," visual programming tools allow the user interface elements to be dragged, dropped and resized the way objects are drawn in graphics programs. Traditional source code may be completely eliminated, or it may be embedded within the graphics components.

Many programming environments include a visual editor for the user interface. Although the program logic is written in a traditional language, the screen elements are programmed visually. See no-code development.




Visual Programming
Using a palette of functions, telephony applications were programmed in this earlier OmniView system by dragging and dropping predefined elements onto a canvas. (Image courtesy of Apex Voice Communications, Inc.)






Blockly Programming
Google's open source Blockly programming language uses interlocking graphic elements to create code for Web and mobile apps. The "blocks" generate source code in JavaScript, Python, PHP, Lua and Dart. (Image courtesy of Google.)






No-Code Development
The Betty Blocks development system is entirely visual. All program logic is created with predefined "blocks." (Image courtesy of Betty Blocks, www.bettyblocks.com)