Blockly with Neil Fraser

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In this episode I am talking to Neil Fraser, the inventor of Blockly. Blockly is a  JavaScript library for building visual programming editors.

Neil works as a software engineer at Google in Mountain View, California, USA – for more than a decade. In his spare time he’s an active maker and tinkerer and also created a variety of open source software. 

Image: (c) Neil Fraser, used with permission

Neil is also the initial creator of Blockly – a JavaScript library for building visual programming editors. We’ve covered block-based, visual programming in quite a few episodes now, but one can really say that Blockly has had a huge impact on the edtech world, if not even THE biggest impact. 

Block-based programming uses interlocking blocks to create code, that means there is no syntax to get wrong such as in text-based coding. Block-based coding is a great way for kids – but also their parents and teachers – to learn about computer programming. The colorful blocks and the built-in validation mechanisms make it easy to create functional programs while reducing the issues that beginners often have. 

Images: (c) Neil Fraser, used with permission

While block-based programming has its roots in the educational market and very often teachers are trying to switch their students to text-based coding at some point in time, block-based programming is gaining importance when it comes to other non-educational applications and some also question the real need to switch to text-based programming. I am already excited to hear Neil’s perspective on this!

It’s absolutely amazing to see what can be programmed via block-based programming today: from creating 3d models via BlocksCAD to creating missions for drones via Droneblocks – and that’s just the educational sector. 


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