What is Graphics Programming?

You may not know of any interactive type of coding that is graphics programming. It is an easy-to-learn technique used for various purposes. Just scroll. We will discuss graphics programming in a few seconds.

What is graphics programming? Introduction

Before diving into the main topic, a glimpse at some basic concepts.

What is programming?

Programming is a way to tell the computer how to do something (imperative) or how things are (declarative). One programming approach is that we write lines of code. These are simply the text written with a defined syntax of a programming language.

What is a program?

A program is a set of instructions that are executed on a computer to perform a specific task.

In this blog, we will look at another way of coding. Graphic or visual programming is a programming technique that uses visual objects like symbols, blocks, pictures, etc., to code the program. These particular representations of physical objects are connected through arrows, arcs, lines, or wires to make the system understand what to perform and how to perform the instructions. Unlike text-based programming, it instructs the system with the help of the arrangement of the objects.  The source code is graphical, and the code chunk is a directed graph. The direction of the graph indicates data or execution flow. The screen objects or boxes are considered as entities.

source: Scratch Mit

A visual programming language (VPL) allows the programmers to perform the coding graphically. We can classify a VPL on a higher level than text-based high-level environments C, Java, Python, etc. The visual programming languages provide a collection of graphical elements such as spatial texts, nodes, and icons that users assemble to program. Hence, an interconnected set of objects refers to a method accomplishing a specific result with or without inputs. A system may execute a graphical program with an interpreter or a compiler. Like syntax in a text-based language, the users have to follow some particular spatial grammar while writing visual programs.

The graphical program may have a graphical user interface. For example, in creating a graphical program, the user can create a front panel or a user interface panel. The front panel may include various graphical user interface elements or front panel items, such as user interface controls and indicators, which represent or display the relevant input and output that will be used by the graphical program, and this may include other icons that represent. Devices are being controlled.

We can further divide VPLs into

  1. Form-based languages
  2. Icon-based languages
  3. Diagram languages.

Why is graphics programming used?

Source: vplinf

One application of Graphics programming is in simulation and modeling. That’s why scientists and engineers use visual coding environments to model their research and projects. City simulation, electric boards, and circuits are conveniently modeled with visual programming languages. The coders can also change variables and observe various outputs over different scenarios or inputs.

Teaching programming

Many universities and schools teach visual type coding as an introduction to programming. Universities like New York University, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon University have visual programming in their curriculum for Computer science, media arts, and other groups.

Storytelling

The interaction and arrangements of images and graphics are used to describe a story in different fields. Probably, this is the most useful application of visual programming. Take an example of human body cells where the researchers and doctors can describe things by simulations and spatial arrangements. Or we can think of space exploration where graphical programs can represent the heavenly bodies. The interactive way of programming is utilized in various other fields like crime reporting to address the point appropriately.

Video games

Video games are an extension that uses this approach. Video games are an extension of simulations that interacts with the player. Many game developers use a visual programming language to design the interface and the game’s back end.

Data visualization

Many Companies manipulate a large amount of data. They utilize Graphics programming to summarize the bulk and make them understandable by the graphical ordering. Such tasks required tough analyzing visual programming skills.

What is graphics programming? Advantages of Graphic programming

  • The code is very much visible and interactive. The visual data or program flow provides easy debugging.
  • We know that different maths such as Linear Algebra, Calculus, Multivariable Calculus, etc., are the back of programming and Computer Science. However, it appears difficult to see how the rear engine of a program is going on the concepts of these Maths. In visual programming, you will draw the code on your Math concepts. You can implement mathematical approaches into the variables and the design to understand how Math’s works in this arena. 
  • Visual programming is a beneficial tool for scientists and engineers who model their concepts to understand any problem and solve it. The interactive type of programming is all about modeling the objects and get output.
  • The program flow and methods interactions are relatively easy to understand as the whole source code is diagrammatic.
  • Graphics languages are easy to learn and use. To code in visual programming languages, one does not need to acquire high knowledge. One can start programming with any VPL and then move to other traditional languages.
  • Designing the user interface is very easy.
  • Programmers can use built-in objects and can create new ones as well.
  • Graphics programs are created quickly and are faster than textual coded programs. Despite they function correctly and are ideal for many areas.

What is graphics programming? Disadvantages of Graphic programming

  • Symbols and images in the code are complex to edit and store as compared to Text code.
  • These languages require high storage capacity, memory, and faster processor because the objects and graphics need more resources for creation, loading, and execution.
  • A control structure or instruction is not much more comfortable to define in graphics programming. In a written code, any control like a loop, if-else, etc., is simply the play of a few lines, while visual objects require more effort to define such approaches.
  • Integrating different programs is difficult as the user has to update or create many connections between the pictures.
  • It does not have easy readability and reviewing.
  • One bad thing about graphical programming languages ??is that they do not connect well with programmer tools. It is not possible to find patterns in a graphical language like “text.”

What is graphics programming? How to do graphics programming in a programming environment

We have many languages that especially allow the user to program graphically. Besides, several high-level languages support graphics programming and allow the user to do it. They require some additional headers or packages, and all you can create interactive programs. Each language, either text-based or purely visual, has its own data structures, definitions, and implementations of programming concepts like loops, conditional selections, etc. Let’s glance at the use cases of three languages.

Graphic programming in C++

See the following steps for the graphical program in C++.

Step1: Download the Graphics header files and other stuff needed.

Step 2: Extract the contents of the zip/rar file.

Step 3: Navigate to the file manager location where DevC++ is installed. Go to the MinGW64 folder. Copy the graphics. h and winbgim.h in the include folder and D:\Dev-Cpp\MinGW64\x86_64-w64-mingw32\include folder.

Step 4: Copy the libbgi.a file into lib folder and in D:\Dev-Cpp\MinGW64\x86_64-w64-mingw32\lib folder.

Step 5: Copy the ConsoleAppGraphics.template, ConsoleApp_cpp_graph.txt files, and paste them inside the template folder of the dev c++ installer location.

Step 6: Open a new project in Dev C++.

Step 7: click the “Project” and then go to “Project Options.”

Step 8: In the “parameter” tab write the following text in “Linker” field.

  • -lbgi
  • -lgdi32
  • -lcomdlg32
  • -luuid
  • -loleaut32
  • -lole32
  • Click OK.

Step 9: Now you can write and compile any graphics program in C++. You can check the following code

#include<graphics.h>

#include <conio.h>

int main()

{

int gd = DETECT, gm;

initgraph(&gd,&gm, “C:\\tc\\bgi”);

circle(300,300,50);

closegraph();

getch();

}

  • The intigraph() a graphic driver to initialize the graphic system from disk.

Graphic programming in LabVIEW

In the application, there is a graphing window call the front panel. Another window is the block diagram, which serves the functional graphical code that a programmer writes. By right-clicking on the front panel, you will see a control palette. You can drop any object such as buttons, text block, graphs, displays, etc., from the front panel’s palette. You can select any of these objects and resize or recolour from the status bar menus. On creating an object, a corresponding item is created on the block diagram associated with it.

On clicking on the block diagram object, you will see different functions like numerical, structures and Boolean, string, and mathematical functions you can use to program by that object. Block diagram allows programmers to create an object such as variables in the area.

When clicking on an item in the front panel, we get a control palette, and on a block diagram object, we see a function palette. You can drag an object in the front panel to position its corresponding item in the block diagram. On hovering over a block diagram item, you will see a cursor enabling you to make a wire and attach it to another object on the same side of the LabVIEW. These wires are the flow of data from one item or function to another one. On the top left corner, click the button ‘run’ to execute your graphical program.

Graphic programming in Scratch

What to do first

  • You need to access Scratch from the website or application. 

Main components of Scratch

  • Scratch is a small graphical character that performs actions. A programmer can use a sprite in his/her project from several in-built sprites in Scratch.
  • The stage is the working area where the sprite(s) perform actions as per the instructions. It is a two-dimensional x-y coordinate by which you can see the position of the sprite. You can run your projects, play games, and watch stories that you programmed in the area.
  • Sprite list shows all the thumbnails of available sprites in Scratch.
  • Presentation mode is a button located at the top left corner. By clicking the button, you can see the project running on a full screen.
  • Cursor tools have different options for a sprite, such as duplicate, resize, etc.
  • New sprite buttons allow you to create a new sprite of your own, import, or use an existing one.
  • Block palettes are an area where you can add multiple blocks to program your project and give actions to the sprite. Different blocks are connected like a puzzle, and the sequence determines the execution flow.
  • This script area is a place where you create a script of a particular task. You can drag a block from the blocks palette and drop in the script are stepwise to define the instruction. You can edit the parameters in scripts to program with your own needs. For instance, in the move steps block, you can change the numbers of steps.

That’s all about the scratch introduction and its components. You can use them for creating an interactive program or story.

What is graphics programming? Conclusion

Graphic or visual programming is an interactive way of programming that enables the programmer to manipulate visual objects like symbols, blocks, pictures, etc., to write a program. Visual programming is an interactive way that is made with an arrangement of the visual objects. The source code contains blocks, pictures, and connections like wires.

A visual programming language (VPL) is an environment that allows users to program graphically. Implementations of Structures, data flow are the same as any text-based programming language. There are many languages like Scratch, LabVIEW, sare the top-of-the-stack names. Besides, High-level languages like C, C++, Java, and others also provide graphics programming options. For this purpose, they usually require an additional header file or packages that include graphical objects. They may use an interpreter or compiler for the execution of the graphic program. The use cases of three VPLs are discussed in this blog. Each has its graphical elements such as spatial texts, icons, blocks, and wires that you connect to the program. You can also import or create your object. Hence, an interconnected set of objects refers to a method accomplishing a specific result with or without inputs. Like syntax in a text-based language, the users have to follow some particular spatial grammar of that language while writing visual programs.

Graphical programming is widely used for modeling and simulation. Scientists and engineers use visual coding environments to model their research and projects. City simulation, electric boards, and circuits are conveniently modeled with visual programming languages. The coders can also change variables and observe various outputs over different scenarios or inputs. Because it is easy to learn and use, people of different fields can conveniently create a graphical program for their respective arena projects. Many schools and universities are teaching visual programming as the first step of programming. Some programmers also recommend learning this creative way of coding because you will find the implementation of math subjects you learn, such as Linear Algebra, Calculus, and Multivariable Calculus.

On the other side of the coin, a graphics program need more resources than text-based programs. They are composed of graphs and symbols and require higher storage. For the loading and execution, you need more memory and a faster processor. Readability and reviewing of the programs can be hectic as you need to understand all the connections. Implementation of different control structures consists of some objects, and you may work a bit more as text-based code like a loop implementation is straightforward in a text-based environment, which needs a few lines.

Graphics programming is an interactive way of coding that one can quickly learn and implement in their projects. However, the speed of execution will depend on the system specification. In problem-solving and idea implementation, visual programming can be fruitful as it creates programs easily and fast.

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