Since the last post on computer programming with kids, I’ve looked at three sofware packages that help you develop apps for Android or iOS: Kivy, Gideros, and Corona SDK. My first impressions follow.
Of the three, Kivy is the least user friendly. I’ll have to investigate further to find out how the code differs from the Lua programs, but it sure looks less inviting. There is no real user interface. You write up your code in Notepad, then execute it to see what you’ve got. This could be really awesome if it looked more like Gideros Mobile.

Corona SDK has gobs of beginners tutorials and code examples. There are a couple of books that teach how to use it. You build your code in Notepad++ and it will automatically execute when you save to a certain directory. It executes in a nice simulator that shows what it would do on an iPhone or Android device. The big drawback is that the program is expensive if you want to use it to publish to the app markets.

Gideros looks even slicker than Corona. Everything is contained in one window. You can see all your program files and sprite images within the software. When you want to execute the program, it comes up in a little popup window. The window doesn’t look like an iPhone or Android, but at least it has the right shape. The main drawback here is that there are fewer resources to learn to use the system.

Both systems definitely require coding and the syntax does not look easy. Certainly nowhere near as simple as BASIC.

Corona SDK and Gideros Mobile tie for the preferred mobile app development software.

Tomorrow, I’ll have to look into microcontroller programming. Rather than make colorful mobile apps, making real light bulbs flash and alarms sound could be compelling enough to learn programming. The syntax of an Arduino program might be simpler than Hello World in Lua. At least you only have to deal with one program file with Arduinos, even if it is in C.

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