The first true visual programming environment I used was IBM’s VisualAge Smalltalk. I liked it and thought it was a shame when IBM reverted to pure code-based development with Eclipse. Admittedly, complex applications got fairly confusing, with lines everywhere.
Now it seems visual programming is back. The other day Scratch hit the news, a cool visual programming environment for kids. I like the way that jigsaw-like shapes are used to indicate whether or not two blocks can be fitted together.
Yahoo has Pipes, drag-and-drop RSS feed combination and transformation.
Now here comes Microsoft PopFly, online visual programming for Silverlight. Is it programming? I think so:
Underneath the covers, blocks are just chunks of code that wrap complex operations, like retrieving data from a Web site or displaying an animated slideshow so that others can easily reuse that block.
PopFly looks interesting, easy to use and visually appealing, though I’ve not got an account yet. I’ve only watched the demo video.