Microsoft has endorsed a new programming language for children which provides the first stepping stone to coding in the .net environment.
The Kid's Programming Language is intended to replace Basic as the first step students take towards coding. KPL is an integrated development environment and is regarded by its founders - former Microsoft and NCR engineers Jon Schwartz and Walt Morrison - as a language which prepares students for the .net environment.
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KPL is modelled on Basic but instead of being linear it is a structured programming language. Children can see almost immediate results while learning about variables, data types, loops, decision structures, methods and functions.
It has Windows standard menus and toolbars, code editor features such as syntax colour-coding, a programme explorer pane and a message pane for trace, debug and status messages. KPL comes with a number of sample programmes aimed at writing games.
Bob Tarzey, service director with analysts Quocirca said Microsoft's backing was a good thing but contained a healthy does of self-interest. He said: "Microsoft is trying to extend its tentacles and catch kids early, but if it's a good programming language then that is a good thing. There should be an open source alternative, but because the open source movement doesn't have the same organisational capability kids are more likely to grow up learning in the Microsoft environment. I guess there's always the hope they'll rebel in there teens."
KPL is available as a free download via the Coding4Fun section of the Microsoft Developers Network site.