Tag Archives: Coding

SoloLearn Teaches Coding Basics In Bite-Sized Lessons Every Day

Android/iOS/Windows/Web: Learning how to code is normally a time-consuming process. SoloLearn aims to make it easier by breaking down programming concepts into quick, digestible daily lessons.

The site offers courses on a range of programming languages including C++, Java, Javascript, Python 3, PHP, C#, CSS, and more. Each language has a dedicated set of apps just for that course. So, for example, if you want to learn Java, you can download just the Java apps for iOS, Android, or Windows. Each course comes with a selection of lessons and quizzes to help you learn. Best of all, its free. You can check out the site below to find the apps for the course you want to take.

SoloLearn via MakeUseOf

AppGameKit Is a Free Game Creation Toolset for the Raspberry Pi

AppGameKit Is a Free Game Creation Toolset for the Raspberry Pi

One of the best uses for the Raspberry Pi is to teach kids (and adults) basic programming skills. AppGameKit’s a bit of free software that does just that.

The software isn’t exactly the simplest game creation software out there, but it does pack in some useful stuff for the Pi specifically, like access to the GPIO pins so you can code in physical inputs/outputs. Plus, anything you make can be deployed to just about every platform out there, including the Raspberry Pi itself. If you’re looking to mess around with making games on the Pi, AppGameKit seems like a step up from the built-in Scratch software, but still manages to be simple enough for beginners.


AppGameKit | via RaspiHub

Add the Star Trek LCARS Interface to Any Touch Screen Raspberry Pi Project

The Raspberry Pi can power all kinds of great projects, but building an interface to actually interact with those projects is a chore. DIYer Toby Kurien decided to implement the Star Trek LCARS interface into his Pi projects.

The basic idea here is to build the LCARS interface with Python so it can be easily applied to any touch screen project you might be working on. In this case, it’s used for a home automation system, but really you can modify it to work with any type of control panel you might need. Heck, if you’re not a fan of the LCARS interface, you can simply take the assets and swap them out with whatever you prefer, just using Kurien’s project as the backbone for your own. However you decide to proceed, head over to GitHub for everything you need.


Kano’s Educational Operating System Now Works on the Raspberry Pi Zero 

Kano's Educational Operating System Now Works on the Raspberry Pi Zero 

Kano’s Raspberry Pi kit is a bit of a crowd favorite, even though it clock in a bit on the expensive side. The bright orange colors combined with the custom operating system built for learning makes it appealing for kids learning to code. Now, they’ve updated their OS to work on the much cheaper new Raspberry Pi Zero.


The operating system works pretty the same as before, packing in tons of different education programs in so kids can learn all kinds of things about electronics and coding. But this version’s made especially for the Zero, so it’ll run well even though the Zero’s pint-sized by comparison. It’s worth checking out if you have kids you’re teaching to code, and you don’t need the full Kano kit to make use of the operating system.


Build Your Own Raspberry Pi-Powered Interactive Pet

Part of the appeal of the Raspberry Pi is how easy it is to get kids into coding. Case in point, Geek Gurl Diaries shows you how to build an interactive pixel pet that senses when you shake it using a Raspberry Pi and a few lines of Python.

The project uses a sensor to tell when you shake it and a tiny LED screen to show the animal. Then, you’ll just need to write the program that tells the screen how to behave. It’s a great learning project for both the Pi and Python, plus you’ll end up with an adorable little toy in the end.

Raspberry Pi Sense Hat Pixel Pet | YouTube

An Ex-Microsoft Engineer’s Advice to Programmers: Learn How to Write

An Ex-Microsoft Engineer's Advice to Programmers: Learn How to Write

Finding success in any field is rarely confined to a singular skill, even one like programming. That’s why Mike Borozdin, the now senior director of engineering at DocuSign, suggests all programmers sharpen their grammar skills in addition to their coding skills.

You might be a fantastic programmer, but knowing how to write clearly can help you better explain your work to managers or potential clients. Borozdin, a former Microsoft engineer for several years, explains to Business Insider:

I would advise folks in software to do one thing, and that’s write. Learn how to write … It’s actually useful. You need to know how to express yourself. And it’s really tough for a lot of engineers to step up and do public speaking… Once you create a successful piece of software, you’re probably going to be writing English as much as you’re going to be writing Java or Objective C. I’ve created multiple pieces of software at DocuSign that went viral, and people liked them and wanted to use more of them. And I probably wrote 10 times the documentation and explanation, and answered questions in paragraph form.

Furthermore, knowing how to write makes it easier for you to claim proper credit for your work. Borozdin recollects times he’d handed off work to manager and wasn’t acknowledged for his work because it wasn’t clear that it was his idea being utilized. If you only know how to write in code, it might be a good idea to spend some more time with one of your first written languages.


The one thing every programmer should do to succeed in the tech industry, according to an ex-Microsoft engineer | Business Insider

Photo by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner.

GitHub Launches New Windows and Mac Apps with Simplified Workflows

GitHub Launches New Windows and Mac Apps with Simplified Workflows

Windows/Mac: GitHub has released new desktop apps for both Windows and Mac that aim to make cross-platform work between the two a lot easier.

The big shift here is that both the Windows and Mac apps are now identical. This means workflows between the two are the same, so it’s a lot easier to bounce between the two or to work on projects with people on different platforms. Beyond that, the apps get some other improvements, including easier access to branches, merges, and other collaborating tools.

GitHub Desktop (Free) | via GitHub

NASA’s Rules for Writing Mission Critical Code

NASA's Rules for Writing Mission Critical Code

When you’re NASA, developing critical applications that lives literally depend on (code that controls airplanes and spacecraft, for example), code quality and safety are paramount. That’s why they’ve been looking into coding standards or rules to ensure the reliability of critical software.

The guidelines were developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA, and are currently being used experimentally, with encouraging results, at JPL. While it focuses on code written in C because of the language’s long history and extensive tools support, the guidelines could be adapted for other programming languages and used even if your software programs won’t be used to launch aircraft.

There are 10 rules, to make the set small and clear enough to remember. Some of them are broadly accepted standards for good coding style and practices, such as declaring data objects at the smallest level of scope (rule number 6) and checking code daily with at least one source code analyzer (rule 10). Some might appear strict or confining, such as rule number four:

No function should be longer than what can be printed on a single sheet of paper in a standard reference format with one line per statement and one line per declaration. Typically, this means no more than about 60 lines of code per function.

Rationale: Each function should be a logical unit in the code that is understandable and verifiable as a unit. It is much harder to understand a logical unit that spans multiple screens on a computer display or multiple pages when printed. Excessively long functions are often a sign of poorly structured code.

As the guidelines paper notes, however, these rules are meant to make it possible to make mission critical code clearer, easier to analyze, and ultimately safer.

Check out the PDF below for the ten rules and their rationales.

The Power of Ten – Rules for Developing Safety Critical Code (PDF) | Pixels Commander via JAXenter

Photo by Traveller-Reini.

This Graphic Helps You Pick Your First Programming Language

When you’re first getting started learning to code, one of the hardest choices can be picking which programming language to start with. This graphic can help you choose by comparing options based on application, potential salary, geography, and more.

Not all programming languages are created equal. While it’s a good idea to first find a problem to solve and work from there, if you’re considering a career and need some more long-term ideas before you commit, this graphic from online education service Udacity can help. It breaks down which language is good for different types of applications (like web development, mobile app development, etc.), average salaries, number of job openings in the five states with the most opportunities for programmers, and popularity of each language. You may not get an obvious, direct answer for your specific needs, but it can give you plenty of data to point you in the right direction.

4 Ways to Pick Your First Programming Language | Udacity

This Graphic Helps You Pick Your First Programming Language

Atom, GitHub’s Official Editor, Releases First Stable Version 1.0

Windows/Mac/Linux: Atom, GitHub’s free text editor, has been toiling away in beta builds for a while now. Today, it’s officially available as a stable version.

Atom is still open source and still cross platform, but now comes packed with a pretty solid feature-set alongside improved stability. The appeal of Atom is its modularity, which is a fancy way of saying you can customize the editor in all kinds of ways to suit your needs. As you’d expect with the stable launch of an open source project, the update list is pretty massive, but the big improvements include pan resizing and multi-folder projects. You can find a full list over on the Atom site.

Atom (Free)