EduKits unveiled the latest version of their drag-and-drop coding software, Code Kit 3, just yesterday. A substantial re-design took place only a few months ago, and since then, numerous modifications have been implemented to boost user experience and versatility. We’ll delve into some of the most notable updates in this fresh release, as well as provide a sneak peek into EduKits’ roadmap for future development.
For those who may be unfamiliar, Code Kit is a free software application that enables users to create custom Arduino programs without writing a single line of C++ code. Instead, users simply drag and drop colorful blocks representing various operations and variables to design and organize their program’s functionality. Code Kit offers an accessible entry point to hardware programming for individuals of all ages and skill levels.
An overview and demonstration of the new release are provided by EduKits in a recent upload to their YouTube channel, embedded below.
An Abundance of Blocks for Limitless Creativity
The extent of one’s ingenuity and innovation with code is contingent upon the tools and resources at hand. Code Kit 3 broadens users’ creative horizons with an array of new blocks, opening up a world of fresh functionality and potential.
More inputs and outputs
Code Kit 3 now supports a more diverse range of inputs and outputs natively. For instance, potentiometers, servo motors, and gesture sensors have been introduced in this update. The particularly exciting Advanced Mode enables users to set pin numbers and states using stored variables, which we’ll explore in greater detail later.
More control over timing
Though it may seem trivial, Code Kit 3 introduces three new timing blocks, compatible with microsecond-level timing. These blocks have also been relocated to a dedicated Timing category, accessible via the Block Loader (more on this below).
More options for serial communication
While basic serial communication functionality has always been a staple of Code Kit, it was restricted to a 9600 baud bitrate and string transmissions. This new release incorporates seven additional blocks, offering full control over communication, including receiving data over serial and adjusting the serial bitrate.
Take control of new settings
User settings and preferences within Code Kit have been completely overhauled, both in looks and functionality. This makes the software easier to use by consolidating existing options such as dark mode and board selection into a single place while adding new functionality for stronger user control.
The new preferences modal can be accessed from the cog icon in the top menu bar, previously only available for desktop users selecting upload options. This modal houses both aesthetic and functional preferences for the application which are explained in more detail below.
The Board Selector is not a new feature within Code Kit, but it has moved from the top menu bar and into the new preferences modal. Changing a board selection does not result in any aesthetic changes, but rather updates the default available pin selections in accordance with the board specifications. This makes it easy for new users to select the right pins, especially when it comes to PWM or I2C functionality as this changes board-to-board.
Similarly, Dark Mode is an existing feature that finds a new home in the preferences modal. Both the dark and light themes have received subtle tweaks which should make them even better to look at and leave Code Kit’s eye-sore competition further behind in the dust (but seriously, the interface does look very nice).
If this article wasn’t progressing through the interface in a logical and coherent manner, then the new Advanced Mode would certainly have shot straight to the article’s beginning.
For a long time, the development team has been struggling to balance the needs of beginners and more advanced users who often require very different things when it comes to functionality. Beginners are looking for easy-to-use software which takes away most of the hassle and learning curve that would normally come with learning traditional, text-based code. However, advanced users are looking for greater control and deeper functionality with their blocks.
Advanced mode marks the beginning of a transition to address that need. The advanced mode separates features, such as blocks, categories or functions, into beginner and advanced levels so users can decide what level of control they have over their code. With advanced mode disabled, users can enjoy the safeguards of pre-set pins for their boards and the exclusion of more advanced block categories (future feature) for a simpler, less confusing experience. Advanced users will be able to get the opposite.
With future releases of the software, the functionality associated with this mode will only grow. EduKits is looking to add new block categories for advanced users, add variable control to more blocks and continue to improve the interface for these users.
The Block Loader is a new control that allows users the opportunity to select which block categories are available in their toolbox (workspace sidebar). The system works through a list of checkboxes that can be activated or deactivated based on user preference. Settings are changed when the modal is closed, which forces the app to refresh to update the interface to reflect the new settings.
Enjoy an even more refined user interface
One of Code Kit’s strengths over its competition has always been its interface which always puts users first. Essential functions like opening, saving and clearing documents are, as always, easily accessible from the top menu bar. Getting support is easier and clearer than before with a new item joining that menu.
The new dark mode – which looks so good that it’s turned on by default now – caused a number of glitches for users in light mode in the past release. Dark mode isn’t for everyone, so a large effort has been undertaken to patch those bugs and increase the value of both interface experiences.
Existing users of Code Kit will quickly realise the app has a more refined, consistent feel that better reflects the broader EduKits brand while increasing accessibility to core user functions.
Time to test drive
This article is by no means a comprehensive examination of Code Kit 3. There are many new changes existing users will notice and appreciate when using the app. The best part about Code Kit is that it’s completely free – you don’t even have to sign in to access any of the functionality.
We encourage you to give it a try; you’re fine to use it at home, in the classroom, or for some serious work. It’s up to you. The EduKits team is always ready and happy to help with any issues you experience or to discuss ideas for future features. Coding is extremely important to us, as we discussed in an article just yesterday, so we’d love to know what you think.