Global search engine and technology giant, Googlehas launched Grasshopper app, a platform to help budding coders learn programming languages on the go using their smartphones. The app, created by a team of coders known by the name ‘Area 120’ from Google’s workshop for experimental products, is available for free on Android and iOS devices and can be downloaded from Google PlayStore and Apple App Store, respectively.
Here is everything you need to know about the importance of coding and how you can use the Grasshopper app from the comfort of your home to ace the art of coding:
What is coding?
Coding, also known as programming, is the way to communicate with computers. It tells a computer what actions to take; writing a code is like creating a set of instructions for the computer to follow. By learning how to write a code, you can tell a computer what it has to do and how it has to behave in a much faster way. If you know coding languages, you can make websites and apps, process data, and do many other things.
The ‘about’ section of the Grasshopper app states: “Coding is becoming an essential skill, and we want to make it possible for everyone to learn even when life gets busy. We made Grasshopper to help folks like you get into coding in a fun and easy way. And, we put Grasshopper on a phone so you can turn your commute or waiting in line into a learning moment. We hope you like it and that it helps you embark on or continue your journey in learning to code.”
Setting up the Grasshopper app is fairly easy. It requires your Google account to set up the app before taking you through basic coding definitions and a quiz at the end, which sets the tone for easy use of the app for learning coding. The app also asks for a reminder setting, which can be set either to daily or a couple of times in a week, based on your preference. The app is designed in a way that it does not require extended hours to learn anything. Instead, it has several lessons, each divided into small-sized introductions, practice sessions and quizzes that can be taken on the go.
By the end of using Grasshopper’s current curriculum, you should be familiar with core programming concepts and feel confident playing around within this playground to build interactive animations.
How to use
Once the fundamentals are complete, the app takes you to ‘Animations I’, which helps you learn drawing shapes using the popular D3 library, defining functions, callback functions, and animations.
The Animation I is followed by Animations II, which helps you create more complex functions using D3 and the topics from The Fundamentals course.
Every section has an introduction followed by some instructions and an example. There is a ‘your code’ box at the end of every puzzle that is where you put your code, based on learnings. Once you put the code and run it through the app, the app analyses the code and confirms if it is right or wrong, both with supported reasons.
Similar app-based coding tutor from Apple
Last year, US-based tech giant Apple announced that Swift Playgrounds, its educational coding app for iPad, would also offer a new way to learn to code using robots, drones and musical instruments.
Swift Playgrounds is great for students and beginners learning to code with Swift, Apple’s intuitive programming language for building apps. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice-president of Software Engineering, had last year said: “More than one million kids and adults from around the world are already using Swift Playgrounds to learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift in a fun and interactive way.”
Apple is said to be working with leading device makers to make it easy to connect to Bluetooth-enabled robots within the Swift Playgrounds app, allowing learners to programme and control popular devices, including LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, Sphero SPRK+, Parrot drones and more.
How Apple’s Swift Playground works
With Swift Playgrounds, real coding concepts are brought to life with an interactive interface that allows students and beginners to explore working with Swift, the easy-to-learn programming language from Apple used by professional developers to create world-class apps.
Federighi had said in a statement in 2016: “Everyone should have the opportunity to learn coding, and we are excited to bring Swift Playgrounds to the next generation of programmers.”
How to get Swift Playgrounds
Swift Playgrounds, the iPad app that makes learning to code easy and fun for everyone, is available on the App Store. Swift Playgrounds is compatible with all iPad Air and iPad Pro models and iPad mini 2 and later running iOS 10.