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I am intrigued. Why does the open source industry not have 'Visual' products like 'Visual' Basic, 'Visual' C++ or 'Visual' ASP.NET? Why don't we have Visual PHP? or Visual RUBY?

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PHP and Ruby are "languages for the web", I don't think anybody ever used them for a desktop application, that's why nobody made a form editor for them. –  Mahmoud Hossam Mar 20 '11 at 10:15
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I think you have not worked with ASP.NET with Visual Studio –  Imran Omar Bukhsh Mar 20 '11 at 10:36
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No, I don't know much about ASP.NET, but having a designer for web pages isn't usually the best approach to web development. –  Mahmoud Hossam Mar 20 '11 at 10:37
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its a lot more than a designer..check it out –  Imran Omar Bukhsh Mar 20 '11 at 10:37
    
Maybe I'll someday. –  Mahmoud Hossam Mar 20 '11 at 10:51
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4 Answers

Well first of all, I think Microsoft would have a problem with you naming your IDE "Visual PHP" or "Visual Ruby". But I don't think the question is literally about the naming of the IDE :-)

I think you'll find the reason is that "Visual" designers simply do not work well with HTML. Microsoft themselves have moved away from the "Visual" aspect of ASP.NET with the move to ASP.NET MVC. In fact, with ASP.NET MVC, there's not a lot you'll find in the IDE that you can't also get in Eclipse and other IDEs.

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ASP.NET MVC with Visual Studio still has a very 'Visual' environment, feel and features –  Imran Omar Bukhsh Mar 20 '11 at 12:54
    
There is now in fact Visual Ruby –  ragu.pattabi Sep 23 '12 at 10:33
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I'm an old guy who remembers. A long time ago, in the dark ages before the world wide web, most development tools were not visual. They were command line tools. You literally had one terminal window, from where you fired up your text editor (e.g. vim or emacs), and edited your software. Then you suspended or exited your editor and ran your compilers and linkers against your software and hoped that it compiled. Then you deployed your software in your test environment and tested it. Even your debuggers would have been line-by-line based.

However in those days, you did not have a multi-window, multi-tab graphical layout. Just command terminals with a shell program.

Then those masterful innovators at IBM and Microsoft came up with development tools which allowed you to have a window with your code open, a set of buttons to run your programs, another set of windows which showed your program step through the code in a debugger, and another window which allowed your tool to watch the transient and persistent data in your program. These tools were labelled Visual Basic, and Visual Age, etc. These tools made programming much more pleasant because you did not have to build and maintain a mental map of how your development environment looked. The tool did it for you.

By the time PHP, Python, C#, and Ruby became popular visual development tools were normal and expected, and so adding "Visual" to the name of your tool set did not confer any differentiating marketing value.

This is the official story. You must remember, however, that visual development tools were invented and pioneered by folks like Alan Kay, Adele Goldberg and Dave Thomas. They delivered visual development environments for a language called Smalltalk about 15 years before the rest of the industry was exposed to visual development tools. Ask any old Smalltalk hacks and they'll tell you that they had features in Smalltalk 20 years before the rest of the industry was exposed.

(Smalltalk failed because it was syntactically too different from the Algol-descended and Modula-descended languages which are most popular in industry, and which most programmers can easily read, such as C, C++, C#, Java, Ada, and Fortran. It also failed because there was no easy way to separate the development tools from the database and the runtime environment, and that made it less useful for deploying in many production environments. However, the brilliant ideas of Smalltalk live on in our modern visual development tools as well as in programming languages such as Ruby and Javascript).

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Greertings, I respect your experience but I can some up your answer to : we had IDE's like eclipse, netbeans ( with debugging and other features ) when php came out so need of 'Visual' anymore. –  Imran Omar Bukhsh Mar 20 '11 at 13:34
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@Imran - Not a bad summary. BTW, Eclipse was descended from IBM Visual Age. –  Jay Godse Mar 20 '11 at 14:07
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I tried to create a simple visual editor for my Apeel PHP Code Generator as I thought it would be useful to be able to visualy move fields around the page, click on a field and set / edit it's events and properties.

But in the end I gave up because it was a far bigger, more complicated project than I first envisaged! It would take a lot of development man hours to complete such a project and I don't think there is the demand out there to justify it.

In the PHP market place I suspect that most people are happy with a good IDE with integrated debugger and an HTML editor for "visual" editing, i.e. page layout.

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Visual Basic and Visual C++ are IDEs from Microsoft for Basic and C++ programming languages.

I guess, if they picked Ruby or PHP, we would have gotten Visual Ruby or Visual PHP indeed.

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'they' ?? My question is about the open source industry –  Imran Omar Bukhsh Mar 20 '11 at 10:36
    
@ImranOmarBukhsh - Your question does not make a great deal of sense. Microsoft first release a programming language called Visual Basic, the idea behind it, was developers could drop and drag elements to create their programs. Later revisions were introduced, other "Visual" languages were also released "Microsoft Visual C++" or what it now known as "C++/CLI" is a Managed C++ revision of the C++ language. –  Ramhound Apr 6 '12 at 14:32
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