September 10, 2018

Mobile apps with Pocket Code

I haven't written that much about Pocket Code yet (except for mentioning it in the Resources page), but we have been using it for quite a while now so I thought it's time to write about our experiences with it.

What is Pocket Code?

Pocket Code is another graphical programming environment, similar to Scratch, but instead of using it on a computer, it runs on your mobile phone (or tablet). It's currently Android only, so if you have an iPhone you'll have to look for other alternatives.

In Pocket Code you can publish programs and download and remix other people's programs and even convert them to standalone Android apps. It also has (an experimental) feature to import Scratch projects into it, so it's an easy way to convert your existing Scratch programs to mobile apps!

Programming in Pocket Code is very similar to Scratch, you have different color blocks can be used to define logic, actions and react to inputs etc. So if you are familiar with Scratch, you should feel pretty familiar with Pocket Code and be productive very quickly.

Converting Scratch programs to Android 

We have tried the conversion feature on some of our Scratch games and it works pretty well. You will have to change the input methods, since there is no keyboard. Depending on the program, that might be easier or harder. For example our Owl game turned out pretty good and was easy to convert since it only had one button for input, that we converted to touch (anywhere on the screen). If you want to try it out, install Pocket Code and see if you can find it. More complicated programs might not be that easy to convert, but you can try it out easily anyway.

I think I will write a separate post about our first app that we made with Pocket, called Toothbrush Timer.