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Issue 4.2



Issue: 4.2 (November/December 2005)
Author: Norman Palardy
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 2,913
Starting Page Number: 9
Article Number: 4205
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All I can say is this is fun! Lots of fun! And, if I was back learning how to program I'd be playing with this for

hours and hours. It's entertaining, and very well done. I have to admit that I ran the examples and it had me laughing soon after launching the first one. There are a few minor annoyances in the program, but it's not hard to see why this was a runner up in the Best Educational Software category for the 2005 REALbasic Design Awards.

The program itself is engaging and colorful and there is an extensive tutorial that starts with the very basics and works its way up to much more sophisticated techniques including loops and subroutines. The tutorials include numerous screen shots and very good explanations of everything that can be used on the flowcharts. Navigation in the HTML tutorial could be a bit simpler with a quick ways to move to the next section, but this is only a minor annoyance.

Creating and running a program in RobotProg is straightforward and even if you've never seen a flowchart you can get the hang of it very quickly. One nice addition would be help tags on top of the various symbols in the tool palette. The symbols are clearly rendered but a help tag would simply add to that clarity.

Connecting the various blocks on the flowchart can be a bit difficult at first, but one you get the hang of it works nicely.

There is a long online help system, but oddly enough the text is longer than the panel and there's no scroll bar on it. This makes the online help less useful than it might be.

Minor annoyances aside the program does what it purports to do very well. It's a great learning tool, comes with lots of examples, and is simply fun to play with even for someone who has been programming for over 20 years. Anyone teaching new programmers could certainly use this to illustrate the concepts, regardless of age.

End of article.