Mozilla’s Thimble project is by no means a new endeavour. Launched in 2012, the project sought to make programming for the web accessible to anybody with an internet connection. The service has been used by many people the world over, and now a new update is out that aims to make the lives of those using it to teach a whole lot better.
The beauty of Thimble is that coders are able to program on half of the screen and watch their work spring to life in the other half, which provides a visual indication of what they’re doing, live, which text-only editors just don’t do. Perhaps most importantly, it greatly helps with debugging – the process of figuring out where your code has gone wrong.
The update adds a preview function for mobile devices so that you can accurately tune your websites for the platforms they’re intended for.
Other features, including the auto closing and autocompleting of tags, have also been added. To make it easier for people to learn, clicking a tag and pressing Ctrl + K (PC) or CMD + K (Mac) on a keyboard will bring up a short explanation of the tag. This feature makes understanding why a head tag needs to be at the top of your code just that much easier.
Step-by-step tutorials have also been added to give those new to the languages a bit more confidence. These tutorials range from making your own “Keep Calm” poster to more advanced things like building a full website.
To make Thimble more appealing to educators, a Tutorial creation tool has been added. With this, teachers will be able to create tutorials for their students to comb through, fix, change or just play around with. Once done, students can export their work to a .zip file that the teacher can then drag and drop into Thimble to access the work.
We really like the work that Mozilla has put into this update and we hope to see schools in South Africa picking up the tool to teach their learners more about the art of coding.
The update is live right now if you want to play around with it during your lunch hour.[Source – Mozilla Webmaker]