For some people, traditional programming is daunting. This needn’t be the case, and there are several more visual programming studios available — one of which has now come to the Arduino.

Scratch is a long-running programme from MIT that lets non-programmers — and especially kids — get started writing complex programs. It comes from the family of languages that include Squeak and Etoys, all intended to demystify programming and computers.

Scratch has now come to Arduino by way of S4a, that lets people develop sketches using a very visual approach:

A Scratch program

It’s hard to describe exactly how this sort of visual programming works, and it’s definitely not suitable for all tasks: typically it’s better for exploratory and experimental, “play” approaches rather than more detailed and complex processes. But it’ll be great to see whether this is appropriate for many of the applications the Arduino finds a home in — and even more so to explore it for what we’re trying to do here at Citizen Sensing.

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