Thursday, January 28, 2010

Programming for the rest of us

I would write about Apple's new iPad but I suspect the Internet is already bursting at the seams with iPad prattle. It appears to have been greeted with awe, derision and confusion in roughly equal measure. Whether it turns out to be an iPod style success or a Newton style best-forgotten - its launch has certainly caused a stir!

However, I was intrigued by Mark Pentleton's pre-launch speculations. I would love to see an HyperCard style development environment for any Apple product! TileStack is good (see Fun on Friday #23: A blast from the past) but is just slightly too tricky in use for the "rest of us". It's been a while since I've played with TileStack though, and I notice that you can now use it to develop iPhone apps... I think I need to go back for another play!

As I commented to Mark, I think Scratch, while looking nothing like HyperCard, is the best example of programming for the rest of us out there currently. However, what's missing is some sort of Scratch player for the iPhone/iPad. I had a bit of a poke about but couldn't find anything, oeven any indication tht they were thnking about creating one.

So, in the meantime, if want to make an app, I guess I'll have to have another look at TileStack... uness you have a better sugestion.


Royston Eco-committee said...

So far I have heard that Scratch working on/with nokia for mobile development, Samsung were doing likewise until about last november when they withdrew their softboard site. I am currently looking into using Scratch to teach primary school kids about programming as part of my honours project. Though I would be interested as well as to hear what your expereince/thoughts are on Scratch.

Mark Pentleton said...

I'll definitely look into Scratch, David.

John said...

Hi David,
SuperCard is now as simple to use as HC. Only for the mac though. I'd love to see something similar for phone/pad. Scratch seems to me, from a wee bit of play with a computer club a few years ago, more aimed at teaching and learning that creation of apps.

David said...

Hello Royston Eco-committee (AKA Amanda)

I've sent you an email. My experience of Scratch has been from the secondary school side. I'd be very keen to see what primary schools are doing with it.

Hello Mark

As I say, it doesn't work like HyperCard but it does provide a powerful development environment for non-programmers. Interestingly (or at least interesting to techie geeks like me) Scratch is written with Squeak which is a development environment for the Smalltalk programming language. I suspect therefore that, like HyperCard, you could do rapid prototyping on Scratch to get the user interface Scratch up and running but get a programmer to add functionality not provided by Scratch. However, that's speculation on my part. Not sure how it would work in practice or if the Scratch licence would allow you to produce something commercial.

Hello John

I never really got into SuperCard. I did play with Revolution for a while which is cross-platform but, as usual, my poor time management meant it didn't ever come to anything. However, I agee Scratch is designed for teaching and may not therefore be wholly suited to application development.

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