In the visual languages community there has been a growing consensus that visual languages will be most
successful in the case of special purpose languages. Furthermore, their success will largely depend on the
programming environment which is provided for them. Programming environment generators, generate
programming environments for formally specified languages. This paper discusses specification of visual
languages and the generation of visual environments. We focus on a picture definition language, VODL, which
serves as the basis for defining the syntax of visual languages. We present the language definition and an
example showing how VODL is used in defining language syntax and thereafter generating visual editors.
Finally, we discuss how to extend this approach in creating a visual specification formalism and a supporting
environment for specifying the syntax and semantics of visual languages.