With the release of Xojo that allows people to use the IDE for *free* and to develop applications for Windows, Mac, Linux or the Web (to ‘build’ the application as an executable you need a paid Xojo license) this is a great opportunity for me to teach my kids some programming. I have two boys, one 18 and the other is 14 years old and we’ve been homeschooling them for many years now. There are other free programming tools out there but I haven’t found one that is as simple and powerful as Xojo.
Not only is Xojo free, but they’ve made available a free e-book of an “Introduction to Programming” by Brad Rhine. It’s over 300 pages of programming goodness and the boys are loving it. Being home schooled, we’re able to take a chapter a day from the book and work through it, (in addition to their other home schooling activities). We take some breaks and take advantage of the free webinars that Paul Lefebvre puts on that extends what we’re learning from the book.
We had worked through the first six chapters of the book and I thought it was time to dole out an assignment. From the TV Show “The Big Bang Theory“, I was introduced to the game “Rock, Paper, Lizard, Spock“, created by Sam Kass. I quick wrote up a visual screen mockup for the boys. It should be enough to get them started.They were off to the races. We hadn’t gone over the radio button control yet and they had some questions about that. They also had some questions about the RANDOM() function but they pretty much figured it out by themselves. Another sticking point was how to translate between the random choices, the computer choices and how to compare them. Their first inclination was to compare the words that were the players choices, but I suggested that they compare the integers that represented the players choices.
Overall I’m very proud of their first ‘deliverable’. This was a great learning experience. I’m interested in comparing their first programming efforts against what they are able to accomplish at the time they finish the book.
You can download their Xojo program for Windows, Mac or Linux and try it out yourself. Enjoy!
- Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock for Linux
- Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock for Mac – 3.9M
- Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock for Windows – 1.9M
If you haven’t tried out Xojo, take it for a developmental spin … for free.