Daily tips and tricks from the experts at Adafruit!
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Block-based programming languages like Scratch are an excellent way for people young and old to learn programming.  Using visual blocks to represent control flow and other actions you can drag and drop them together to form complete programs.  This allows you to experiment and play visually instead of exclusively through code.  In the Python and MicroPython world there are a few interesting block-based programming tools that are worth checking out.

The BlockPy environment from Virginia Tech’s software innovations lab is a great visual programming environment for Python.  The stand-out feature of this tool is its ability to go both ways between Python code and visual blocks.  This means you can start programming visually with blocks and then see and change the resulting Python code (even seeing the visual blocks change too!).  This is great for learning and transitioning from visual programming to text-based programming.

For MicroPython it’s still early days for visual and other code editors, however there’s a new experimental/alpha block-based editor for micro:bit MicroPython code.  Like BlockPy this editor includes a visual block programming mode and can generate MicroPython code for the micro:bit from it.  Check out the tool but remember it’s still in early development and you might run into issues (which you can report on GitHub).

In other Python news, this week the Visual Studio 2017 IDE was announced and includes significant Python support.  There’s no MicroPython support just yet but the editor itself should be great for editing any Python code, Micro/CircuitPython or otherwise.

And if you’re looking for an interesting listen this weekend, check out the recent 100th episode of the Talk Python to Me podcast featuring as a guest Guido van Rossum.  Guido is the creator of the Python programming language and this podcast goes into a great discussion of the language’s history and future.  Don’t miss it if you’re a Python enthusiast!