Friday, February 11, 2011
This is the first in a series of monthly Scratch 2.0 updates. Each update will highlight a few new features that we’re considering for Scratch 2.0.
Flash-Based Scratch Player
Ever notice how some projects act differently on the website than they do in the Scratch 1.4 application? That’s because the software that plays your Scratch project in the Scratch 1.4 application is different from the software that plays the project on the website. That’s one reason why we decided to make the transition to a Flash-based Scratch player and editor in Scratch 2.0. Both the player and the editor (where you create your scripts) will run inside your web browser, and both will be based on Flash, so your projects will run the same in both places.
Soon we’ll be releasing a beta version of our Flash-based Scratch player to the website, so that you can test it out. This new player includes some cool new features, like the ability to make the project completely fill your web-browser’s window with one click. Once it is ready, the link to try out the new player will appear on each project page.
The new icon at the top-left of the player is for full-window mode
We want the Flash player to work well with all Scratch projects, so once the beta is released we’ll need your help testing and reporting bugs!
Customizable User Pages
We’ve been really excited by all the great suggestions, forum discussions, and mockups (here and here) of ideas for my-stuff pages in Scratch 2.0. Based on these suggestions, we’ve decided to allow Scratchers to customize their user pages around a set of “widgets,” similar to the way that Deviant Art works. For example, each Scratcher can have a small box or “widget” on their user page to feature a few of their own projects. Another widget could feature their projects with the most views. The image below shows an early mockup of the editor where you can arrange widgets for your user page. This will allow Scratchers to customize their user pages in lots of interesting ways, which is currently the second most popular Scratch Suggestion.
So far we’ve been focused entirely on the functionality of Scratch 2.0, and haven’t even started thinking about the look and feel, so the final product is likely to look very different from this mockup.
Keep it Simple!
As always, our goal is to keep things simple: We want to make sure it’s easy for someone with no experience programming to dive in and get started with Scratch. Of course, we also want them to be able to make all kinds of cool stuff as they learn more about Scratch. So we spend a lot of time thinking about how to make Scratch both simple and powerful.
In developing Scratch 2.0, we’re starting by making a version of the Scratch editor work in the browser, with the same features and capabilities as the current Scratch 1.4 application. Once that is complete, we’ll begin adding new features — but making sure to keep everything simple. Here are a few ideas we’re working on: the ability to create your own blocks (thanks to the BYOB folks for thinking this one through!), hide/show lists, better tools for collaboration, ways to pull data from the web, and many others ideas marked “under review” and “planned” on the Scratch Suggestions site.
Look for the next Scratch 2.0 update in March, when we’ll describe our plans for improved support for collaboration on Scratch.