Alternatives to Scratch

This article is about programs similar to Scratch. For programs based on Scratch, see List of Scratch Modifications.

Alternatives to Scratch may be wanted if one gets bored with Scratch, or wants a more challenging programming tool. Most of these alternatives are free like Scratch, but some of them cost money to use.

Just as Scratch can be used to make games, animations and more, there are also many other good programs that can be used to create them.

Programming Alternatives

GUI (Drag and drop editing)

  • BYOB/Snap!: BYOB is an advanced Scratch Modification with lambdas, first class data, procedures, recursion, and many other features. Version 4.0 was renamed Snap! and was rewritten in JavaScript, and is thus no longer considered a Scratch modification.
  • Stencyl: Stencyl has an interface similar to Scratch's, but it has slightly more advanced editing features.
  • Alice: Alice features 3D projects. This is much harder than 2D Scratch programming because you learn about 3D programming: occlusion, vectors, etc. are important topics.
  • Android App Inventor: The Android App Inventor by Google allows Android app creating with a simple, Scratch-like interface. In fact, it was based on Scratch and coded by a team at MIT.
  • Starlogo-TNG: Supports 3D models and terrain. Block-based, and meant for simulations and education purposes. Created by the MIT STEP group.
  • Etoys
  • Gamefroot: An online game creation software for creating side-scrolling games. It has a drag and drop block editor for advanced scripting.
  • DesignBlocks: Online, based on Scratch, TurtleArt and Processing. Developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab.
  • Pocket Code: A visual programming language and app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone smartphones, tablets, and HTML5 enabled mobile browsers. It is inspired by Scratch and developed by the Catrobat team as free open source software.

CUI (text-based editing)

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2013: An advanced, professional program created by Microsoft designed for creating C#, C++, F#, and more code. Though it is mostly text-based, it has a graphical interface that helps with the placement of objects and automatically adds some typically inconvenient-to-write code.
The logo of Greenfoot
  • Pascal: Pascal is a powerful and fairly advanced programming language with beautiful syntax.
  • Greenfoot: Greenfoot is a simple Java development environment with extensive documentation. It is focused on graphics and interactivity. Is is perfect for beginners to Java.
  • Just BASIC/BASIC: BASIC is an old language used to teach programming. It has simplistic graphics, focusing on vector graphics rather than sprites.
  • JavaScript: JavaScript is the standard language for interactivity in web applications. JavaScript features many new programming concepts such as functions, recursion, lambdas, object-oriented programming, atomicity, and browser-compatibility. Using the HTML5 Canvas API, it is easy to make graphics similar to those in Scratch, with sprites and vector graphics.
  • Processing: Processing is a Java-based language which originated at MIT, like Scratch. It is designed to be very visual and usable by both non-programmers and beginning programmers.
  • Logo: Logo was the predecessor to Scratch, created by MIT. It was text-based, however, the commands closely resembled those of Scratch. It provided a single sprite, a turtle, which was used to draw via a set of Pen instructions. It had procedures and recursion.
  • GameMaker: GameMaker is quite similar to Scratch, except it also allows the option of typing commands and features commands geared more towards making games, whereas Scratch is more open. It is a good introduction to text-based programming and debugging. It is not free, but a free version is available with less features.
  • Python: Python is easy to pick up and run, and does not need any installations on OS X or Linux. It has many libraries for various purposes like network connections, etc. There are also libraries available for communicating with Scratch and reading/writing Scratch files.
  • ActionScript/Adobe Flash: A commonplace language used everywhere from browsers to games. Flash is easy to use to create games and visualizations, and provides powerful libraries for graphics and animations. It is, however, not free.
  • FlashDevelop: FlashDevelop is a free, open source Flash IDE. It is more complicated than Adobe's IDE, however.
  • Unity3d: Unity3d is a free, though expandable, program that is used for the making of 3D games. One can create create code in it through three languages, which are Javascript, C#, and Boo. It may also be confusing to a beginner due to all the new features in comparison to Scratch, but after some time, this should wear away.

JavaScript Similarities

Scratch has many syntactical similarities to JavaScript, a language used for web interactivity and even game development.

Other lists

Animation Alternatives

See Also

  • This page was last modified on 4 August 2014, at 15:33.