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Navigating the environment

name badge colourI hear this word ‘environment’ bounded around the office all the time. I decided to quiz my incredibly smart work colleague about exactly what an environment was. I thought I grasped it at first ‘it’s basically how you develop software for a given piece of hardware’. Seems straightforward enough. But then he began describing one operating system which houses one sort of development environment and the difference between Linux and Microsoft and I was lost.
So it was time to reach for my trusty micro:bit and begin to explore ‘environments’ with the pocket sized computer.
I was advised to begin with Microsoft’s PXT Blocks and JavaScript Editor. With my micro:bit plugged in and software open on my computer, I feel ready to delve.
Top of the list of brightly coloured options is the word ‘Basic’ .That sounds promising. To the left of the screen is a simulation of whatever I create. I always find this supremely helpful! I’m an artist first and foremost and I’m used to being able to see results straight away!

I have given myself the task today of making a name badge. At the top of the ‘basic’ window I have opened there are two options. Blocks and Javascript. Call me slow on the uptake but I finally get it! Blocks as in building blocks. The puzzle piece icon next to it really is the giveaway. You can piece these different blocks together to create something that can then be downloaded. Hurrah! Let’s see if I can do it.

Scrolling down to the block ‘show string’ I type in my name, attach it to the ‘on start’ block and hey presto the simulator runs the code. Seems I also have the option of attaching it to the ‘forever’ block too… not sure how I feel about my name scrolling across a display FOREVER but at least I know it’s an option!

Now to download it. So after a bit of confusion seems its best to treat the micro:bit like a memory stick or something similar. Drag and drop the file into the micro:bit in windows explorer. Done. Pretty pleased with this I must say!

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