Waiting for MicroPython on the BBC micro:bit
And there was Microsoft's Block Editor, a language so high-level it was like a Picasso painting. (As in, super abstract. Which, in computer science terms, means it's easy to use. Lucky you!)
Finally, there was Microsoft Touch Develop. It was textual and could be used for coding all sorts of devices. Fortunately there was a whole library of micro:bit related commands installed so that everyone could use it freely.
Then we hit a dead-end. A supposed fourth programming language that made all the nerds twitch at the fingers. It was MicroPython, a port of the renowned Python language for microcontrollers. Forever, we were told it was ‘coming soon'. But soon never arrived.
But now there’s news!
Over on Nicholas H. Tollervey's website we find that a chance meeting between Nicholas, a software engineer, and Jonny Austin of ARM (one of the BBC's foundation partners on the micro:bit) began the reimplementation of MicroPython on the micro:bit. I'll leave the details to Nicholas and cut a long story short: it lives!
In the space of a short few months a whole repository had been set up for MicroPython on the BBC micro:bit. It includes some really handy lessons for teachers, guides for students, inspiration for makers... The list goes on!
Hopefully, as the micro:bit gets wider attention and wider use in the coding community, we'll see MicroPython gain some real traction on the micro:bit and start to seem some awesome projects as a result. We've already got one featured on here but make sure to keep checking back for more! And make sure you take a look at the micro:bit World Tour!
It has arrived! In preparation for the big micro:bit give away on March 22nd, the BBC have updated the micro:bit website. Now anyone can code from their browser, using the handy online resource. Alternatively you could download Mu, 'a "micro" editor for MicroPython and the BBC micro:bit,' as Tollervey puts it! Time to get coding.
The friendly folks at micro:bit Playground have assembled a handy cheat sheet full of hints about how to use MicroPython. They go from basics to advanced programming so now you've got no excuse not be coding!