Greenfoot 3, at SIGCSE

Most of the BlueJ/Greenfoot team will be headed to Kansas City next week, for the SIGCSE 2015 conference. We’ll be doing a Raspberry Pi demo at 3pm on Thursday in the exhibit hall, and we’ll be presenting a new paper on our Blackbox data on Saturday morning at 9am in room 2502A (more on that in a future post). But the event we are most excited about is our Greenfoot event, 5:30pm on Friday night in room 2502B, where we plan to demo and launch a public preview of Greenfoot version 3.0.0.

What’s New In Greenfoot 3?

We’ve continued to refine the existing parts of Greenfoot: we’ve added generics to the right places in our Greenfoot API, and we’ve switched to automatic compilation, so the Compile button will be a thing of the past. By far the biggest development in Greenfoot 3 is that we have added a totally new editor (which will sit alongside the existing editor), with a new way to edit programs. We’re calling it frame-based editing: roughly speaking, it is a hybrid of block-based editors like Scratch, and text-based editors like Greenfoot’s Java editor. The intention is that it takes the best parts of block-based editing (easy manipulation by dragging, avoidance of syntax errors) but marries them with the best parts of text-based editing (keyboard control, less tedious dragging for program creation and expression manipulation, easier management of longer programs).

The new Greenfoot 3 editor.  The look is not too far different from Greenfoot 2, but how you use it is quite different.
The new Greenfoot 3 editor. The look is not too far different from Greenfoot 2, but how you use it is quite different.

I’ll be posting a lot more details about the new editor after SIGCSE (for now, we’re busy focusing on testing the release ahead of the conference), but if you’re coming to SIGCSE: do come join us on Friday night to take a look. There’s even free food and drinks!

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