Google Blockly

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One of the great things about going to conferences is the chance conversations you have with people about random topics. Having a few days to cover a bunch of topics in a bunch of sessions creates the space to talk about new things and have a lot of these types of conversations. During a conversation at RubyConf in Denver last month I found out about a Google project called Blockly which has become a bit of an obsession of mine in the month since then.

Blockly is a graphical programming system which allows you to create programs with blocks, programs which can then be translated into the corresponding Javascript or Python. You can extend it by creating custom blocks for it, and if you’re feeling saucy you can even create a language generator which would allow the programs to be converted into another language such as Ruby. 

It’s pretty early days for Blockly and there’s still a lot of changes being made to the core of the code, but it’s already a very cool concept. There’s a demo using mazes which I’ve been particularly interested in – I think it’d be a good way to teach programming basics to kids while still being a fun puzzle game. I’m working on creating a series of mazes to do just that. I’ll post more when it’s complete.