29 Mar

KPL and Phrogram

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What do you do with your kids for spring break?  Me?  Phrogram Logo

  1. Take half the week off to play with the kids.
  2. Join the Y so we can use the indoor pool and the rock climbing wall.
  3. Rent all 6 Star Wars movies to watch them back-to-back.  That’s right, all 6.
  4. Teach my 10 year old to code.

Say what?  What did he say?  Teach his kid to code? That’s right!

KPL (Kid’s Programming Language) is a programming language written on top of the 1.1 .Net Framework.  It has a striking resemblance to old school procedural VB, but has been abstracted mercilessly for simplicity sake.  Within 30 minutes, my kid had written a little app that makes an image of a UFO fly around the screen.  Awesome.

' KPL looks like this LoadSprite( "BALL", "BlueBall.png" ) MoveSpriteToPoint( "BALL", X[i], y[i] ) ShowSprite( "BALL" )

KPL has been deprecated by its 2.0 version, which for apparent reasons of intellectual capital or something, is called Phrogram.  Phrogram is a more object oriented implementation of KPL based on top of the 2.0 .Net framework.  Now, this stuff is hardly TCL, but the point is to take away all of the confusing parts of programming (like a complicated IDE) and make programming fun!

' Phrogram looks like this Declare ufo = New Sprite("ufo.png") ufo.MoveToLocation(x,y)

The Phrogram folks have succeeded at making their product a simple and pleasurable introduction to writing code.  I sure wish Phrogram had been available when I was 10 :).  I could’ve used it on my Atari 520ST. 

I cannot express the joy I felt in seeing my kid get into writing his first application.  He was so into it!  When he couldn’t find a bug that he had I took the opportunity to introduce him to the term “Pair Programming”. 

He said, “Gee, Dad.  That’s makes a lot of sense.  Two heads are better then one, because we both know things the other one doesn’t.”  Wow, from the mouth of babes, eh?

For the record, he knows nothing I don’t.  He’s 10.

5 thoughts on “KPL and Phrogram

  1. Re: the Yu-Gi-Oh cards – Wow, you got me!

    LOL. They play Pokemon and YGO constantly around here.

    D&D is reserved for weekends 🙂 The kids are better DMs that me, though.

  2. Daddy Starr,

    Ok, so it’s been over a year since you started with your son and Pfrogram. Has he continued using it? What’s your opinion of it now?

    It seems like a really neat environment for teaching my son how to program, but I’ve heard so little about it, I’m wondering if it was last year’s fad.

  3. I think it may have been a fad longer ago than that 🙂

    I haven’t encouraged (or discouraged) my kids to write code. They enjoyed pushing sprites around on the screen for a few days and then they moved on. Oh well.

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