Last night, Lance Larson, president of the Madison .NET User Group, presented at LCNUG on Visual Programming Language (VPL) with Robotics Studio. It was an active presentation - he even had robots moving around the room!
Two things that really got my attention:
- VPL applies to more than just robots. Many businesses continually hit the problem "how can I have a non-technical person still get technical things done?" For example, they'd like a business analyst program a workflow or rules engine without needing to actually code. Many workflow-related products provide some kind of drag & drop interface (like making a flowchart in Visio) to effectively write a program, but such an interface is difficult to build. It gets especially complicated when you have variables, conditions, looping, etc... Microsoft's VPL is powerful, and I wonder if it will be reused for their workflow products too.
- Being surrounded by software, it's refreshing to see the hardware part of engineering - like physical robots that follow programming instructions.