Alternatives to Scratch
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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.
GUI (Drag and drop editing)
- 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.
- 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 (also known as Visual Basic): 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Microsoft Small Basic: Microsoft Small Basic is a simplified version of Microsoft Visual Basic and also created by Microsoft.
- Lua: Lua is a lightweight programming language which uses multiple paradigms. Lua is used in many games such as ROBLOX.