A system and method for creating and using configuration diagrams for configuring distributed systems. The methods described herein may be used for various types of operations in configuring distributed systems, including creating programs, managing programs in the distributed system, deploying programs to various distributed devices, configuring remote execution or inter-operation of distributed programs, and executing distributed applications. Embodiments of the invention utilize graphical iconic-based techniques for performing the above operations. The configuration diagram may include device icons which represent devices and program icons which represent programs. Device icons and program icons may be associated with each other to accomplish various program creation and deployment operations. Device icons and program icons may also interact with graphical program nodes or icons. Context sensitive device connections and/or program connections are displayed. An asynchronous data flow node may be used to facilitate asynchronous data flow between two graphical programs. The distributed system may also support distributed graphical debugging.