[racket] Making animations in racket (or, why racket is hard to transition to from scratch)

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Wed Feb 2 10:23:53 EST 2011

On Feb 1, 2011, at 9:27 PM, Yaron Minsky wrote:

> I'm finding it to be rather tough going, mostly because a lot of things that are really easy in scratch seem surprisingly hard in racket.  

[I thought we had discussed this before.]

Scratch/Alice/Kodu are "low floor, low ceiling" languages. Indeed, "low ceiling" should almost be replaced with "no-escape ceiling". Their inventors know the purpose of such "introductions to programming." 

In contrast, the teaching languages of Racket are 'high floor, smooth path to full power". Our goals are 
 (1) to help improve students' math skills; what they write down is plain math and yet they get a game 
	the transfer of skills back to the math curriculum is demonstrable 
 (2) to teach some basic computational design skills 
 (3) to provide an entry point from which it is easy to move on to a full-fledged language that has 
	first-class functions, modules, functor-like component systems, first-class classes, 
	a rich set of libraries, etc. 

> I'd be interested in suggestions with is how to deal with updating a struct in a clean way.  

For the 2e languages, I am considering adding a facility for using paths into structure trees to reference values and to update fields. I have a prototype, but things just keep piling up. 

-- Matthias

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