About Learning To Code

”I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings,” late Tom Petty once sang. For me, getting a computer or a smart phone/tablet feels just like that: I switch the device on, now what? Of course I want to use the device and use the apps that are available for it. But how do I develop apps myself? How do I add new capabilities?

Deep dive in code
Creating order in the chaos isn’t that hard

In this category I will focus on the art of programming itself. I’ll cover principles, modern environments and tools that are easy to acquire. To keep things fun I focus primarily on concrete experiences: robotics with tangible actuators and sensors, as well as largely visual programming environments. All with the purpose of teaching and learning how to program. Occasionally I will add some more theoretical topics like code quality. Yet, I try to keep that as practical as possible.

LEGO Boost Robot
LEGO Boost Robot

So far, I’ve been using Python, a programming language that is available for free on Linux, MacOS and Windows. I’m also exploring LEGO BOOST. While not fo free, a starter set isn’t very expensive.

Future candidates that I can foresee now are Scratch, a visual programming language developed by MIT and Swift by Apple. For the latter, Apple offers a free app for iPad called Swift Playground with the purpose of learning to code. Regarding robotics also Lego Mindstorms is a candidate for further explorations. The intention for me is not only to teach what I know myself. I also like to learn about concepts like functional programming, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Note: “Learning To Code” is also the banner of an initiative to teach every student the basic skills of software development. This also results in the debate whether everyone actually should learn these skills. This debate is beyond the scope of this site. I assume that if you like reading about my explorations, you also like coding. Whether that means if you actually will code yourself or not, does not matter for me. If you would like to get started but you don’t know how, do drop me a line. I’ll gladly help you out where I can.

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