Modkit is an in-browser graphical programming environment for Arduino and Arduino compatible microcontrollers.
The preview release uses the Modkit CrimpCard tutorial from the Make article, so if you want to try it out, you might want to pick up a hard or digital copy.
Also Mac and Windows desktop widgets are available to download. The Linux widget is in the works.
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From an educational perspective, I dig this. The style is inspired by stuff like Scratch, Sprog!, Pipes, App Inventor, and the like: emphasizing visual understanding over almost all other concerns, rather than miring the user down in syntax, performance, or toolchain issues. It’s a great way to learn programming without all the stuff that can make programming such an incredible hassle. 🙂
But, from a technical and social perspective, I worry about platforms like this and mbed, “compilers-as-a-service”, where we’re handing off the means of producing for the hardware we’ve purchased to someone else (and leaving it to their whims to continue operating the service or not; or continue operating it for free after they have a locked-in customer base).
Something just doesn’t smell right about this approach to me. Depending on closed software to actually use the open hardware we own feels like it runs counter to the cultural movement that got us here in the first place.
Just an FYI the windows widget has been available since Jan 31st. But the CrimpCard is the only sketch they have so far.