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

From: Yaron Minsky (yminsky at gmail.com)
Date: Sat Feb 5 21:55:31 EST 2011

On Sat, Feb 5, 2011 at 9:43 PM, Mark Engelberg <mark.engelberg at gmail.com>wrote:

> There are projects that are trivial in Scratch that are hard in Racket, and
> vice versa.  Porting your Scratch projects to Racket is not likely to be a
> very productive use of your time because they have such different strengths
> and weaknesses.  I think your best bet is to pick some projects which are in
> Racket's world teachpack's "sweet spot" and work on those with your son.
> Don't worry about trying to "replace" Scratch with Racket.  My son is a
> fairly sophisticated Racketeer at this point but he still has loads of fun
> playing around with Scratch, using it for the things it is especially
> well-suited for and deeply enjoying its community aspects.  There's nothing
> wrong with appreciating both.

I agree in principle, but I think that there are things that _should_ be in
Racket's sweet spot, but for some small and fixable issues.  The whole
big-bang structure is such a great idea, that the few issues that make it
harder than it should be to build satisfying video games are really worth
fixing.  The key thing that I like pedagogically about the big-bang is the
way it makes the kid think explicitly about how they're modeling the state
of the game.

I also think it's worth learning from the places where Scratch is
successful.  I think the discoverability of the primitives, and the way that
the syntax is reflected in the geometry of the blocks is really fantastic.
I'd love to see a version of Racket with an optional editor that looks more
like Scratch's editor --- I know that this is something that people have
talked about, and I think it would be a boon for young'uns who are just
starting out, for whom getting the syntax right can be tricky.

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