Overview

Block based programming environments are becoming very popular. First Scratch and now MakeCode, and now there are others like EduBlocks (block based Python) and MicroBlocks. 

MicroBlocks is an especially interesting one. It doesn't use an intermediate language like some others; it compiles directly to virtual machine bytecode.

MicroBlocks has three main components:

  1. The block based editor
  2. The bytecode compiler
  3. The code manager that can keep the code on your board seamlessly up to date with what's in the editor.

Not only does it support whole programs, but any valid snippet can be immediately executed on the board. That includes prototype blocks on the palette as well as code under construction. This lets you interactively see how code works, piece by piece as you work on it. This is much like CircuitPython's REPL, but more powerful. For those with an interest in programming languages, this capability is much like what Smalltalk provides: being able to execute any valid code at any time.

We are going to explore a bit of MicroBlocks through making a festive ornament using a Circuit Playground Express.

Circuit Playground Express

PRODUCT ID: 3333
Circuit Playground Express is the next step towards a perfect introduction to electronics and programming. We've taken the original Circuit Playground Classic and...
$24.95
IN STOCK

Lithium Ion Polymer Battery - 3.7v 500mAh

PRODUCT ID: 1578
Lithium ion polymer (also known as 'lipo' or 'lipoly') batteries are thin, light and powerful. The output ranges from 4.2V when completely charged to 3.7V. This battery...
$7.95
IN STOCK

USB cable - USB A to Micro-B

PRODUCT ID: 592
This here is your standard A to micro-B USB cable, for USB 1.1 or 2.0. Perfect for connecting a PC to your Metro, Feather, Raspberry Pi or other dev-board or...
$2.95
IN STOCK

DIY Ornament Kit - 6cm Diameter - Perfect for Circuit Playground

PRODUCT ID: 4036
Have you put up with mainstream, uninspiring, low-tech tree ornaments for too long? This season why not deck the halls with codes of holly?This DIY Ornament...
$1.95
IN STOCK
This guide was first published on Nov 25, 2018. It was last updated on Nov 25, 2018. This page (Overview) was last updated on Nov 28, 2018.