no -- i don't think, the alternative should be seen as just another simple and buggy NLE.
that's probably more, how e.g. nuke studio looks like, which is IMHO not the most sufficient solution, because it makes clear distinction between quite limited realtime effects on the timeline, while the more advanced stuff still has to be done in the compositor and renderd for later use in the timeline. but nuke studio has at least a very similar powerful python API do customize editing and workflow related tasks in a similar way as we like it in our compositing solutions. that's really a very nice feature, which we all miss in our common NLEs, and it's exactly what you would need to realize jobs like the TO was asking for.
but if you interested in much more powerful uncommon innovative examples of timeline related possibilities, you should really take a look at mistikas design of the sequence related GUI. that's so much more powerful and fascinating, than all those primitive traditional track based approaches, that you really can not describe or grasp it without practical experience. it's definitely not the most efficient interface for common editing. this kind of job can be handled by much more simpler applications in a more suitable way. in mistika you will usually just import and conform some kind of already prepared edit decision list, but for any more advanced operation on this given sequence, it's an amazing powerful interface design. when i learned to understand operating this application, i somehow felt like in those moments, when i was studying a new programming language and suddenly understood, that many common routines could be solved much more clean and graceful utilizing this particular means of expression. really -- it's extremely worthwhile to gain new experiences by test driving mistika insight, even if one prefers open source solutions with all their inevitable limitations and imperfection much more. it's nice, that we now finally have a really free an impressive powerful alternative for simple compositing work, but those other more advanced commercial solutions still should be seen as a reasonable benchmark for more objective comparison and plausible feature requests.