If you’re a programmer, you’ve probably at one time heard of Scratch. Scratch is a project run by the MIT Media Lab and Lifelong Kindergarten. It consists of a web-based IDE that allows users to code by dragging blocks onto a canvas and connecting them. If you’ve never heard of it, check it out at https://scratch.mit.edu.
The website is clearly geared toward a younger audience with its bright colors, large blocks, and its strictly-regulated online community. However if you let it, it can still be a useful tool to develop programs. Here are 3 reasons why Scratch is still useful to full-out developers.
#1: It’s easy to prototype
When you’re designing a new product or program, you generally use a software such as Adobe XD to prototype your design. But there’s a simpler (and freer) option: Scratch. While Scratch may not include the handy default objects that XD and other prototyping softwares do, its 3.0 update now supports full SVG uploads, so you can easily upload assets. Once you’ve uploaded everything you need to the editor, you can quickly drag some blocks and get a full prototype up-and-running, and if you want to go the extra mile, Scratch has advanced operator and variable functions so that you can even build the full program! Why would you want to do that? Simple. Scratch is a very logical programming language. Once you’ve coded the program in Scratch, it’ll give you a clear idea on how the code could be structured.
#2: You can test functions
If you want to logically build your own functions without having to reload, compile, and all those other annoying steps as you go, just use Scratch. Drag the blocks, build the functions, and test immediately. Simple and easy.
#3: It’s useful for inspiration
You’d probably be surprised at the projects that the online Scratch community publishes. Once you get past all the buggy “Hello World”s and immature memes, there are some extremely well thought out programs. Scratchers create some pretty elaborate stuff when they put their minds to it. I know from experience that some projects can put actual programmers to shame. So maybe you’ll find some inspiration, or maybe even a project that could be a useful program. Just make sure to give credit 😉.
Bonus: Interaction with the community
Scratch is all about learning. If you decide to start using it, make sure you interact with the community! Lots of Scratchers want to be real programmers one day, so by encouragement, advice, and aid, you can fuel the next generation of developers.