Google’s Area 120 has released a new smartphone app designed to teach beginners how to write code. It’s called Grasshopper, and it kind of feels like Duolingo for coding.

While Duolingo offers short lessons and quizzes that help you learn to speak, read, and write another language, Grasshopper teaches you a programming language. Javascript, specifically.

Grasshopper alone probably won’t teach you enough to quit your day job and start coding JavaScript for a living. But it’s a fun little tool that can help you get started… and help you decide if you want to continue your education with online courses or a bootcamp.

I’ve toyed with the idea of actually learning to code for a while, but I’ve never really gotten very serious about it. I know enough to make some minor edits to my website theme, and when I tested the Kano Computing Kit a few years ago I had a lot of fun using Sonic Pi to create music with code.

But ultimately I keep getting distracted or deciding I don’t really have the time.

Grasshopper is the type of tool that helps you get over those hurdles thanks to a series of small lessons that take just seconds to master. You can learn a bit of coding while waiting in line, riding a bus, or sitting on a toilet. Any time you’ve got a few seconds to spare you can take the next lesson.

Of course, you could say the same thing about Duolingo… which I have a habit of using every day for about two weeks before I start to slack off and then forget about that pledge to learn a language.

Having played with Grasshopper for a bit, I find that it’s at least as helpful as Duolingo… and basic JavaScript is probably easier to master than French or Chinese. Maybe that’ll keep me using the app for more than a few days. Maybe it won’t. Ask me again next week.

But if you’re looking for a simple way to learn the basics of coding, this free app from Google’s experimental projects team seems like a good way to get started.

Grasshopper, by the way, is named after Grace Hopper, one of the early pioneers of computer programming.

The Grasshopper app runs on Android and iOS, and it’s available as a free download from Google Play and the App Store. And the developers promise that the app will be free to use for as long as it’s around.

via TechCrunch

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9 replies on “Google’s Grasshopper mobile app teaches you to code JavaScript in your free time”

  1. I tried this app and got to the first exercise. Once the code was entered there was no button to execute it. So it still has it’s bugs.

  2. Can someone explain why this type of app would need the following permissions:
    Identity
    find accounts on the device
    Contacts
    find accounts on the device
    Phone
    read phone status and identity
    Photos/Media/Files
    read the contents of your USB storage
    modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
    Storage
    read the contents of your USB storage
    modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
    Device ID & call information
    read phone status and identity
    Other
    receive data from Internet
    view network connections
    full network access
    change your audio settings
    run at startup
    control vibration
    prevent device from sleeping
    view network connections
    full network access
    run at startup
    draw over other apps
    use accounts on the device
    control vibration
    prevent device from sleeping

    1. You can probably disable most of these permissions without anything apart. I would keep the network part up since I use multiple devices.

    2. That’s pretty much how the app developers treat the Android ecosystem (including Google). Android apps probably have been harvesting people’s data for a long time without Google investigating it. Many people have said yes to the permissions after all…

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