Is Scratch the same as Blockly?

Written by Ucode Research on September 09, 2019

Scratch and Blockly are both learning environments that each use a google blockly programming or visual programming language to help navigate and use complex programmatic concepts without the use of actual code.

Scratch, developed by MIT, provides many activities and challenges that are proven to effectively aid children in learning to code. Many lessons and tutorials are presented as games (or ‘gamified’) where the learning process is framed as a fun and engaging challenge sometimes paired with interesting characters and storylines. Scratch is a visual editor that presents sets of code as “pieces”, where each block represents some sort of logic. The Scratch environment offers tutorials, Blockly learning environments and a learning curriculum to promote learning basic programming concepts.

Blockly is a library that makes it easy for developers to add block programming to their application. The Blockly editor is similar to Scratch in that it uses interlocking, graphical blocks to represent code concepts like variables, logical expressions, loops, and more. It also allows users to apply programming principles without having to worry about syntax. However Blockly is more complex and extensible than Scratch, and invites students to explore projects involving robots, automation, and wireless technology without requiring an existing proficiency in programming. One of the most useful features is that blocks can be translated directly into such languages as Javascript, PHP, Dart, and Python. Blockly does not contain a user interface out of the box.

The history of Scratch and Blockly can be confusing. Blockly was created a few years after Scratch, though initially drew inspiration from it. In 2016 the Scratch Team announced a partnership with Google to create Scratch Blocks, a framework that would be used in “the next generation of Scratch” – designed as a creative and intuitive interface for young learners. Scratch 3.0 was released separately on January 2, 2019 and is the third and current major version of Scratch. It is a complete redesign and reimplementation written in HTML5 and JavaScript, and is a fork of Google’s Blockly code base.

Sources

  1. https://developers.googleblog.com/2019/01/scratch-30s-new-programming-blocks.html
  2. https://medium.com/mit-media-lab/scratch-google-next-generation-of-programming-blocks-for-kids-5f377ec9ff0