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May 21, 2017 AT 2:32 pm

Maker Faire Bay Area 2017: MakeCode with Microsoft on Circuit Playground Express #makerfaire @adafruit #circuitplayground

At the Microsoft booth in the main hall at Maker Faire this weekend you can get hands on with MakeCode, a new, open source, in-browser visual code block editor for Circuit Playground Express, micro:bit, and other 32-bit ARM-based boards. Kids (and adults) can engage in fun activities, including crafting a wand and visually programming the Circuit Playground Express for interactive motion-triggered lights and sounds.
I recently started working with MakeCode to re-create some of my past Circuit Playground projects that I had coded in the Arduino IDE, and I’m really impressed by this new system. It’s a lot of fun to build programs with blocks — the GUI is based upon Blockly, and reminiscent of Scratch, which will be a familiar environment for lots of kids.
MakeCode includes a very nice visual simulator of the Circuit Playground Express so you can iterate quickly on your program without needing to upload it to the physical board until you’re ready. Then, you simply drag the Universal Flashing Format (.uf2) file to the board which mounts like a USB drive, and it resets itself and begins running. It’s a very nice user experience, and I think it’ll be a welcome workflow for educators.
If you’re at Maker Faire, go check it out!

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