Last Sunday Session 25th June

Just a reminder there be the final Sunday session this coming Sunday 25th June. We will celebrate the success of our winning Ninjas at CoolestProjects and another successful term CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire and hope that some of the Wednesday Ninjas will come to share in the fun.

Thanks

Francis.

The best way of learning anything is by doing

As you all know, I keep repeating the same message week in and week out – the best way to learn to code is by coding. InteresImage result for don't wait for perfect just do ittingly, I stumped into an article by Richard Branson (Richard Branson is an English business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies. Branson expressed his desire to become an entrepreneur at a young age)

Read the article, it’s very interesting. It talks about how easy is to learn to code, using techniques such as following the tutorials. But remember – you really learn by doing!

Here’s the link to the article:

Learning by doing is best

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/learning-doing-best?utm_source=codecademy&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=2017_03_29

Web development – handy webserver for your tests

Hi all

I might be the last to have found this out, but just in case – I found this great little piece of free software: XAMPP.

XAMPP is a is a completely free, easy to install Apache distribution containing MariaDB/MySQL, PHP, and Perl. The XAMPP open source package has been set up to be incredibly easy to install and to use.

What can use it for?

When your building a website, XAMPP will create a mini webserver in your computer, which means you can test your webpages like you were actually connecting to the internet. It will give you an IP address (localhost).

Also, if you’re developing databases, this tool will create an “online” SQL repository using MySQL and will also create the PHP server for you to connect to it.

All these is very very handy if you don’t actually have a webserver available to you.

You can download here: www.apachefriends.org

A very common question: What coding language should I learn?

Let me start with this quote from a great man….

“If you have a story to tell, you can tell that story in English, French, Spanish, Irish… the language is important just as long as you have a story to tell”

Harold

So what do I mean by that?

The main objective of a coding language (or any language for that matter) is to allow you to communicate a message. If you got no message to tell (the “story”) then the language is not very important!

Makes sense, right?

But I haven’t really answered the question: what is the best coding language to learn?

I will answer this in 2 parts:

The first part of the answer to this question is you need to concentrate first on learning who to tell a story – what do I mean? learn to solve problems in logical steps.

For example, how do you make a jam sandwich? Look at the video here:

Funny, right? look how does the teacher (the computer) react to your commands (instructions).

The first step for a coder in any language is to be able to organise instructions in a logical manner. The language is not important for that – it’s the logic, the series of steps to complete a task or solve a problem.

The second part of the answer is the language that you choose depends on the what is the task you want to do – for example, if you go to France on holidays, you could probably get by using only English. Might not be the best language to speak, but will allow you do certain vital tasks. It’s limited, but will work.

How about if you are a literature professor at a school in Portugal? English, French or Spanish are useless. You need to speak Portuguese!

The same applies to coding languages. Most languages will allow you to do many simple tasks. But if you want to do some very specific programs, where performance, speed, memory, etc are important, you need to chose the appropriate language.

OK – so you got this far and you’re still asking yourself – what language should I pick?!

These are my suggestions:

For almost everything:

  • Scratch
  • Python
  • Java

For web publishing:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript

For creating Apps:

  • Java
  • Swift

For Raspberry Pi:

  • Python

For Databases:

  • PHP
  • SQL

 

PS: I found this article – I found it very interesting – in particular if you want to start preparing your career as a coder

The Most Popular Language For Machine Learning Is …

Coolest Projects open for registration

Coolest Projects is on Saturday 17th June in the RDS, Dublin

Click here to register your project

If you created an account last year you can use the same Username and Password; if not, then create a new account.

You can edit/update your project after registering it.

Registration closes on Sunday 21st May 2017

ALL projects from beginner to advanced are accepted from CoderDojo attendees / community members.  TheCoderDojo Coolest Projects is all about recognition for those that had an idea and made it a reality using the skills they learnt at their local CoderDojo.
Team entries may have a maximum of 4 team members.

Categories are:

  • Scratch – Anything developed using the Scratch platform, from games to animations.
  • Websites – The websites category is for websites which showcase or inform people about any topic that you like. These sites are built using HTML, CSS and Javascript. Finding activities to keep you occupied over the summer or getting the history of your town.
  • Games + Web Games – The games category is for every kind of game made in any language on any technology.  This category excites and engages at every level and we want members to develop games that excite all those who attend.
  • Mobile Apps –  The applications category is for interactive mobile apps which help, inform or entertain people
  • Hardware – Robots, machines and hacks. The hardware category is for projects that use hardware, like the Intel Galileo, Raspberry Pi, Arduino or any hardware platform, to change the physical world around them using code and hardware.
  • Evolution – This encompasses the members who have taken their CoderDojo projects to the next level, it includes the latest and greatest real web applications, enterprise projects that members have launched and advanced language computation such as C++.  This category is a mix of complex computing projects.

Judging Criteria:

  1. Coolness – how cool/unique is the idea – 20 marks
  2. Communication / Presentation – How you explain the idea to the judges – 10 marks
  3. Design & Usability – What does it look like and how user-friendly is it – 10 marks
  4. Complexity – What level of technology is used – 10 marks

More information at www.coolestprojects.org

New Monday evening dojo in Dún Laoghaire

Digital Dún Laoghaire has had a recent “soft launch” of a new dojo, which has had a couple of sessions in the dlr Lexicon.  Driven by Eoin Costello of Digital Dún Laoghaire / Dún Laoghaire BID, this has been so successful that it is moving to a new, larger home!

From Monday March 27th the Digital Dun Laoghaire CoderDojo will start meeting in Starbucks every week from 6pm to 8pm, with an age group of 7 to 14 years old.  Due to huge demand for CoderDojo in the area, children need to be registered in advance.  Email addresses can be added to the waitlist via the form on the right of this page, and notification will be sent to everyone as and when places are available.

Mentors are always needed at CoderDojo, and if you are interested please fill in the form on our website; if you are particularly interested in mentoring at the Monday sessions, please complete this form.

WebSite Competition – CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire Sunday 04th March

This coming Sunday, after many weeks of hard work, we will see Liam, Jack, Ian, and Darrach present their projects in the hope of winning the coveted award of ‘Voted Best Website 2017’. This will be followed by an award ceremony and prize giving as well as an interview with the proud winner of the coveted CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire Web Design Trophy. An event not to be missed!

Rock Paper Scissors using the MicroBit

The Microbit is a fun little device, it allows you to program it in a variety of languages with a variety of different programming IDE’s.

The 20GBP device supports motion sensing (Titling, Shaking) and can display images on a 5×5 LED matrix. Microbits can be connected together over a radio link and share data and the device is small enough to be powered by two AAA batteries.

This project uses these capabilities to re-create a fun game – rock paper scissors using two MicroBits. I recommend using the Microsoft PXT IDE which lets you switch between Blocky and JavaScript and has the Radio add-in that this project needs…

1. Connect the two MicroBit’s wirelessly with the Radio library
2. Shake the device to make a selection
2. Randomly choose one of the three choices
3. Display the result on the LED
4. Send the result to the other Microbit
5. Work out which device won and display that to the user

How would you modify your program to make the game fun for the visually impaired?
Would it be fun to extend it to include Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard and Spock…