Block-based languages arose as a subset of visual programming. Our thoughts are frequently visual.
However, the first applications of computer programming began with hardware-close languages and progressed to text-based languages such as Java and C#.
One of the most used and widely known languages is Scratch and Blockly which uses blocks to represent its scripts.
What is Block Coding?
Block-based coding or programming is a style of coding that employs a drag-and-drop learning environment in which programmers construct animated stories and games using coding instruction “blocks.” It’s an entry-level exercise in which youngsters can learn computational thinking using pictures rather than text-based coding.
What do you mean by “blocks?”
When we say “blocks,” we mean the “chunks” or “pieces” of instructions that a user is putting together to teach their invention what to do.
Scratch programming, for example, is block-based and is one of the most popular options for kids’ coding languages. Scratch blocks are defined as follows:
- Motion Blocks: These are used to regulate movement by instructing sprites (Scratch pictures) to move and turn with respect to the sprite, other sprites, or a certain point. For example, developers can order a sprite to travel ahead 10 steps or turn 15 degrees to the right with a single block.
- Looks blocks: These are used to change the appearance of a sprite and can be used to make a sprite say or think something, change costumes or backdrops, or even change the size or graphic effects of a sprite. Creators, for example, can instruct their sprite to display a text bubble and say “hi!” for two seconds.
- Sound blocks: are used to add sounds to a tale or game, as well as to adjust sound effects such as pitch and volume. For example, a sound block can be used to begin playing a “meow” sound, followed by another sound block that stops all sounds.
Blocks provide a useful learning experience, as children rapidly realize that their programs will only do what they tell them to do, and will only run code in the sequence in which it was “written.”
Benefits of Block-based programming:
- It reduces development time and enables the creation of solutions that are simpler to maintain than traditional software projects.
- Professional software developers who use block-based coding reduce development costs and benefit both the development team and the customers.
- Block-based coding is a type of programming language in which the developer issues instructions by dragging and dropping blocks. This helps to avoid syntax errors, and developers no longer need to memorize syntax to write code.
- Block coding is just as powerful and useful as text-based language, but it is easier to use and understand. In text-based languages, for example, missing a semicolon will result in an error message or prevent the program from running at all. Block-based coding eliminates these kinds of errors.
- Drag and drop commands are faster than typing them character by character with a keyboard.
- Block-based programming may be easier to learn than traditional text-based programming languages such as Python or Java.
- Block-based programming is frequently used to help children learn how to create basic programs and begin to understand programming.
Scratch-block based coding
Scratch is a popular choice for teaching coding to children using block-based coding. Their “blocks” library is pretty extensive, allowing kids to animate colorful cartoon characters (called sprites) however they want. Here are some examples of their block groups:
- Motion Blocks—controls a sprite’s movement about other sprites, the sprite itself, or specific positions.
- Looks Blocks—alters a sprite’s appearance, size, and graphic effects; causes a sprite to say/think something.
- Sound Blocks— It includes additional sounds and sound effects; pitch or volume adjustments
Programming in Visual Basic
Many people are visual thinkers, learners, and creators. Many of us think in terms of pictures and images rather than words. Using our natural proclivity for imagery and visualization allows us to produce our best work. For example, drawing flow charts on a whiteboard, watching a video to learn how to troubleshoot a laptop problem, or sketching out a quick map to give directions.
Visual programming) was developed to meet the demand for a more user-friendly coding option. It was designed to make coding more accessible at three levels. As a result, visual programming is so effective. Although text-based languages such as C++ and Java were initially used, that technical, clinical approach did not work well for everyone.
Block coding for kids
By providing kids with pre-generated chunks of instructions that they can simply piece together, you eliminate the risk of frustrating syntax and writing-based errors—errors that could potentially frustrate a beginner programmer. Working with blocks allows children to focus on elements such as sequence, situation, problem-solving, and goal construction.
This method allows users to create games, apps, and other programs by dragging and dropping visual block representations of text-based code (event listeners, functions, variables, sounds, and more) into the code editor.
Block-based coding has greatly simplified the programming process, particularly for children and coding newcomers. Text-based coding makes it easier to find and address issues because sections of the code are grouped.
Similarly, block-based coding for kids employs a drag-and-drop approach in which groups of code—aka blocks—are dragged and dropped.
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