@Jason818: It means use the appropriate tool (horse) for the job (course).
Maybe it's a British colloquialism.
They think that because they invented the language they can befuddle it....
Colloquial expressions are fun
I never really understood the 'swings and roundabouts' thing though, supposedly 'what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts', (or possibly vice versa) but what exactly is it?
I assumed that it was something like the perception of your own weight, from G forces, and I could understand that the roundabouts increase G (though a lot less than being in a centrifuge) giving you the perception of being heavier, but don't you both lose and gain the same on the swings depending on whether you or on the down-swing or the up-swing?
Perhaps I'm just over-thinking the whole thing again, aspie issues. Don't get me started on blowing raspberries though, I keep thinking you need to find some kind of pea shooter.
I believe that's a reference to children's playground items. If you put in more swings, you can have less roundabouts and so on.
Back to the original question, I think visual tools have a place at times. Trying to define something like an SSIS package in a purely textual way would probably be a complete nightmare. For most things though, the textual representation is easier to work with and follow.
A general purpose Turing complete language would be quite impossible to represent efficiently using visual markers and blocks, not to mention coding productively in that, domain specific languages (like Verilog) are more suitable for that sort of representation. It is useful however to have a representation of some of the code visually, like threads, state, UI etc. and some specific aspects of the language can be represented visually.
@Bass: My son (age 9) was telling me about Scratch the other day -- they use it in school as a 'play' activity. He created a spirograph style game where he could use the cursor keys to move the central point around. Still isn't interested in Small Basic yet though, because you have to type commands. Small steps.
@Dr Herbie: Have you shown him Kodu? It's got more of a "game" feel to it while will still introducing some programming concepts.
For a non-visual programming environment for beginners, I'd recommend HacketyHack and the Shoes toolkit. What great about it is it is Just Ruby(tm). Not some kind of weird proprietary or learning specific language. So it can then open up an entire universe of software development once they master the basics.
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