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What is Block-based Coding?

What is block based coding?

Block based coding is a type of coding or programming where a program is created by dragging and dropping blocks and attaching them together, instead of writing code. The blocks snap together just like Lego blocks stacking together. The Scratch programming language, developed at MIT's Media Lab, is one of the first such languages. You can think of Scratch as being a syntax free language: it has an easy to use, simple to learn, block based, visual programming editor that can be used to create programs and teach coding concepts and thinking skills. This makes it very easy to create sophisticated looking animation and games without any text based language.
Read on to learn about advantages and disadvantages of block-based coding.

Who uses block based coding?

Block-based coding is ideal for beginners as a first introduction to the world of programming. In addition to being used as an educational tool for kids and adults alike, they have also been used extensively in research projects related to education technology and artificial intelligence (AI).
Even though they might sound like 'child's play', there are many popular trends in the programming field that are akin to block-based programming. In particular, there is a "low-code" or "no-code" programming movement, which aim to support programmers in creating software with less code. These languages are designed to be more accessible to newcomers and to make development faster and easier. Some popular examples of low-code or no-code programming languages include Appian, Bubble, and Mendix.
First, these languages can help you save time by allowing you to create prototypes and test applications quickly. Second, low-code or no-code programming languages can help reduce the need for coding experts on your team, which can save you money in the long run. Third, these languages can make it easier for you to collaborate with non-technical team members by allowing them to contribute to the development process without needing to know how to code.

What are the benefits of block based coding?

When you are learning to code for the first time, they are an ideal way to get started. It is hard to make mistakes when dragging and organizing blocks! Learners are able to rapidly see their creations in action without getting bogged down by the syntax complexities of modern programming languages.
Besides being easy to learn and use for those without any prior experience or knowledge in computer science, graphical programming languages can also be beneficial for experienced coders as well. By using blocks instead of text commands when writing code, coders are able to reduce syntax errors since they are not typing out each line manually like they would with text-based languages such as Python or Javascript. Furthermore, since there are no complicated commands involved when using blocks, coders are able to focus more on understanding the logic behind their programs rather than worrying about memorizing long strings of commands or debugging syntax errors due to typos or other mistakes made while typing out text commands manually.

What are some disadvantages of block-based coding?

You are limited by the blocks that are available to you. As you get more and more adept at using a block-based programming language you will find yourself wishing for more expressive blocks and other capabilities that are not readily available. At that point you might be ready to begin learning a regular text-based coding language such as Python or Javascript.

What are the popular block based coding languages?

Scratch, developed at MIT, is arguably the world’s most well known, iconic, block-based programming language. The Scratch editor features a drag-and-drop interface that allows users to easily create their own interactive stories, games, and animations without having any prior knowledge or experience with programming languages. It also has an online community where people can share their creations with others around the world as well as get feedback from experienced programmers on how they can improve their projects.
Snap! is an open source language based on Scratch that was developed by UC Berkeley researchers along with Jens Mönig. It is designed specifically for beginners and makes it easy for users to learn how to program without getting overwhelmed by complex syntaxes or having too much freedom when creating applications. Snap! allows users to create programs quickly while still providing enough flexibility so they can explore more complex programming concepts as they become more comfortable with the language.
Blockly, developed by Google, is a powerful language that allows users to create diagrams made up of blocks which represent code statements or functions in any language you choose (JavaScript, Python etc). With Blockly, developers can make changes quickly without having to write out complicated lines of code each time they want something modified. Blockly also provides debugging tools so coders can easily identify any problems with their programs before they are released into production.
App Lab is a visual programming environment developed by CodeHS specifically for developing mobile apps. The language uses blocks and JavaScript code so users can easily build their own Android or iOS app without needing prior experience in programming languages like Java or Swift/Objective-C. It also provides debugging tools so coders can identify any issues before releasing their app into production mode. Additionally, App Lab also allows developers to test their app on actual devices from anywhere through its cloud simulator feature which makes it easier for them to see how their app will look on different devices before releasing it publicly.
Finally, there are numerous other visual block environments. MakeCode from Microsoft is one such environment. It allows users to create projects with microcontrollers such as the Raspberry Pi, Circuit Playground Express, and other development boards. With the help of the drag-and-drop interface and its extensive library of pre-made programs and tutorials, even beginning coders can learn the basics quickly and easily. Most robotics kits today (e.g., Lego Mindstorms) come with their own block-based languages. All these systems owe their intellectual origins to Scratch.
Like this blog post? Checkout KodeContest which features many block-based coding challenges!

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