Is Visual Programming The Next Paradigm Shift For Software Development?

Is Visual Programming The Next Paradigm Shift For Software Development?

Over the course of history, humans have endeavored to make things faster, easier, and more efficient. Software is no exception to this – it was created to solve real-life problems.

Over the course of history, humans have endeavored to make things faster, easier, and more efficient. Software is no exception to this – it was created to solve real-life problems.

In 1981, Steve Jobs famously compared computers to “bicycles for the mind,” meaning that the computer had the ability to amplify the power of the human brain and manage higher levels of complexity – and nothing is more complex than real-life problems.

When we first worked with computer software, programming was hard. The concepts available were very close to how the underlying hardware functioned – memory pointers, logic gates, and so on. A special kind of thinking was required. We soon moved on from writing the lowest-level machine code by hand to the first programming languages like BASIC and Fortran, and the march has continued on. However, even with decades of advancement, programmers are still working with concepts that are not always the most intuitive for humans to understand, and written code is not often the best way to represent them.

With the advent of true visual programming, there is now the chance to change that and produce an order-of-magnitude leap in productivity while lowering the entry barriers into software development.

Abstraction

The first programs were simple. People were amazed when huge room-sized computers did simple mathematical calculations. But eventually, as we all know, computers became pocket-sized, and programs that ran on them were designed to be increasingly complex with connections to vast databases, increasingly immersive user interfaces, and the ability to compute far beyond the human capacity. 

Abstraction is just another way of saying managing complexity. It’s taking something that is complex and making it simple to use and work with. In programming, we enable abstraction by using tools that help us to utilize our limited time and focus. As time goes on, we have seen the development of software development kits, interfaces, APIs, and code libraries provide us with more capacity and enable us to tackle more complex problems with the massive computer power we now have at our disposal.

No one solving a business problem with an app today would ever consider programming a kernel for the chips we use in a computer or writing code to make their own proprietary database language from scratch. If we look at the evolution of website implementation, many have moved to WordPress instead of programming HTML and JavaScript for much of a website's core functionality. To do these things from scratch would demand a strong and increasingly hard to prove business case with so much prefabricated code, themes, and plugins already in existence for the WordPress platform.

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