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Is anybody out there using graphical tools for doing software development instead of (or in addition to) writing code? Yahoo! Pipes would be a simple example.

People have been talking about graphical development environments for a long time, but they don't seem to have ever hit the mainstream. I know that in the scientific and engineering communities, Simulink and LabVIEW see real usage. Are there other domains where there's real usage?

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closed as not constructive by Yannis Rizos Oct 10 '12 at 4:36

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What about GUI designers? Do they meet your criteria? They are probably the most widely used graphical tools around... –  Chinmay Kanchi Sep 15 '10 at 17:27
No, I was not considering GUI designers. I was thinking more about using graphical tools to specify behavior, rather than using graphical tools to specify an interface. –  Lorin Hochstein Sep 15 '10 at 18:32
MySQL Workbench. –  Hello71 Sep 16 '10 at 2:01
I wouldn't call Simulink a visual programming language, it's a toolbox that add's a gui to Matlab. –  Ton Plomp Sep 18 '10 at 12:24
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5 Answers

Does a pencil and paper count?

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Not unless the resulting artifacts are executable! –  Lorin Hochstein Sep 17 '10 at 16:39
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Development in BizTalk is primarily graphical. You often have to write a bit of C# when you get down into the details, but the majority of your development can easily be via a GUI.

Windows Workflow is also highly graphical.

I would say that both are graphical software development and quite mainstream.

I tell ya, for someone billed as a C# developer I spend an awful lot of time dragging shapes onto a surface and connecting them with arrows!

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Workflows can be developed entirely in code, if you want to stick with C#... I would prefer that instead of a Visio exercise. –  Fosco Sep 15 '10 at 18:27
Indeed, you can do that. Similarly, some people prefer to write code in Notepad. I like the things that a high-level designer does for me. –  Task Sep 16 '10 at 17:18
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SSIS packages in SQL Server (starting with 2005) are graphical, although they can have code within them. It's pretty powerful and cool.

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Illumination Software Creator seems to have some popularity, though it's not used widely. It seems more popular now that it has Android support, though.

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Not nearly as much as I'd like to. Would love to know what tools out there would even "count" as examples. (DevExpress's frameworks are about as close as I've seen in real-world, but they are not "visual" at the level I think you are meaning).

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