Visual Programming

I have to teach somebody how to program who has never programmed before. In fact, they are an arts students so they don’t even have the benefit of being very used to that particular way of thinking. It seems Python is probably the best first language in terms of ease-of-use and immediate results. However, I thought before that it would be great to use a visual programming tool to teach the logic of programming.

Clickteam’s Multimedia Fusion (and its predecessor Klik ‘n’ Play) is the program I grew up using, before moving to programming languages. Its a pretty good piece of software, and I do own the latest version, but I think it would be too much to throw at someone straight away. This is something they really have to work on for the third version of it. I am currently working on a few ideas for it which I will post about another time.

I also think that way it works doesn’t transfer very easily over to traditional programming languages. So, although it is great, it is not the correct tool this time. Open-source rival Construct has all the same problems and more.

I did find on CodeProject Script Studio, which is so nearly exactly what I needed.  This is a screen-shot of an example program which finds the sum of the first n numbers. (Naïvely, so if n=4 it would work out 1+2+3+4.)

However, there are problems. Its variable system is a bit silly (surely if you want to treat a string as a number you should be able to). Another thing is you must double click on the ‘for’ loop to see the content of it.  The user interface is generally not brilliant, but still fairly good.

The problem is though that despite appearing on CodeProject, this is not open source. In fact, its homepage is now dead. It’s quite a shame really, as it was nearly something good.

I’m not quite sure what I will do. Obviously I can’t improve this, it being closed source, but it is so nearly there.  It’s annoying really. I may try and go for a simple language first, like Duck, the language Paul and I made, or maybe I will just teach Python directly.

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