Scratch 2.0: programming for kids, now in the browser

The MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten Group has shipped version 2.0 of Scratch, the justly famed and much-loved programming language for kids. Scratch makes it easy to create powerful simulations and games, even for small kids (basically, if you can read, you're ready for Scratch). The new version of Scratch runs right in a browser (no downloads or installs required), and is remarkable in its polish and power to excite. The programming environment is embedded in a sharing and shareable community, with millions of Scratch projects ready to be downloaded and remixed. It's just amazing.

With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

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  1. I’m of mixed opinons here. I love scratch, and love that they moved it to the browser. But it’s a flash app in the browser. In this day and age. /sigh

    1. Flash is dying, but it’s not yet dead.

      In this day and age, there’s still things you can produce with Flash that’s faster and easier to develop.  That said, there is work being done here:

      Anyway, more info here:

      From their FAQ: Why is Scratch 2.0 based on Flash?

      Flash allows us to make Scratch available to as many people as possible without requiring them to install anything. Although we seriously considered several other technologies, Flash has the best combination of features, performance, and browser penetration right now.

      Other considerations:

      No matter how good an HTML5 player works on a desktop computer, it will likely not work as well on a mobile device for a few reasons:

      • Mobile devices are often not as good as interpreting code as desktop computers

      • Mobile devices do not have a real keyboard, so key interaction is made difficult

      • Exact clicking on a mobile device is made difficult by the necessity of using a finger as the mouse

      1. I understand why they made that choice, although the nagware that pops up on my computer at least weekly reminds me to upgrade my flash installation because “the top 10 facebook games all use flash” and so on sort of gives the lie to the “without having to install anything” claim.

        At one point, flash was great because it did a LOT that other browsers didn’t do, was consistent, and was invisible. 

        These days, it’s become a lot more visible and problematic, while providing less and less marginal utility.

        HTML5 should be the clear target for the time being (I used to say the same thing about Java, so who knows what will change). For example: 

        * Mobile devices have both virtual and bluetooth keyboards (all the students I know with iOS or Android devices have external keyboards for them. 

        * Mobile devices are just as good at exact clicking (since you point right there), and many mobile browsers have clever smart-local-zoom tools to help you disambiguate multiple mousetargets within the same touch region.

        * Mobile devices run javascript pretty well, but not as well as desktops. However, mobile devices don’t run flash *at all*.

        Again, I understand why they made the scratch decision, but as a comparison, check out BYOB (now called Snap) – a scratch derivative that runs in javascript.


        1. check out BYOB (now called Snap) – a scratch derivative that runs in javascript.

          Thanks, but that was already in my links above I gave to you.

  2. No plugins or downloads?

    That would mean it used HTML5 and JavaScript. But it doesn’t – it needs Flash.

    So no use for tablet owners.

  3. I played with Scratch in Ubermix, a school version of Ubuntu. So Scratch 2.0 simply works within a web browser via their site? This is cool for kids at home, but I’m not certain how receptive a school classroom would be to the new version.

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