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Questions and Suggestions for the Scratch 2.0 Alpha

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Member

Thanks to everyone who volunteered to test the Scratch 2.0 Alpha. I've sent an email to you* with instructions about how to access the site.

If you have any questions/observations/suggestions, please share them here.

(If you didn't get in on this round of testing, not to fear, information about the next round will be available in early December.)

Thanks -- and have fun with the prototype!
K

* The following Scratch usernames have access to the alpha:
aaronleemorris, acoll, agarci17, amurphy964, anunez, camcross, carloscaro, chad-scherrer, cmel, conpower, cstem, davebric, DavidBatty, designtech, dfritzinger, dnikolos, drmcw, ejsoren, ElenaGallucci, erob40, Gazoofio, haddadi, hallsoflearning, hhtsimpson, hopehue, icecool44, ivanoriola, jgomes, jorgeeie, Jross12, KelleyM, kerim, Kinderlabor, kmwilson, ksukun, lburnsiii, lcgjr, mgberry, mieslep, mmfino, motib, mrmoss, mrspraulsclass, mrsteve, MrsTScott, ms_mirecki, oboudou, pkirschmann, RamonFerreruela, ronford, Scratch-e-Kitap, scratchcatala, SimpleScratch, skola2015, SmeAnd, ssbb, swhites, tcstechnology, teacherben, teentechcrew, tefldennis, temboConsulting, tocsdetics, vgold, WestBendEast, WillieD, xota

Replies
Member

Will there be a BETA version?

Member

Yes, a beta version will be available to all on January 28, 2013.

You can read more in a forum post on the main Scratch site (and a project announcing the Scratch 2.0 beta). 

Member

I really really hope that downloadable Scratch 2 will come along as soon as possible as trusting internet connections for whole class learning usually comes to tears sooner rather than later :(

 

regards

 

Simon

Member

 We definitely agree about this--making the downloadable version is a high priority.

I wanted to let everyone know--based on your suggestions here,  a File menu has been added to the Scratch 2.0 alpha version. It includes "Save now" and "Save as a copy" which save to online versions. It also includes "Import from local drive" and "Export to local drive" for saving to a local drive.

Another feature added is the auto-updating of the x-y in "go to" and "glide to" blocks in the palette (as you drag and drop a sprite).

Thanks for these and other suggestions so far!

Member

 Hi Natalie,

What does "Save as a copy" mean? Is that a different name for "Save as"? I have encountered a difference between the two: The programming editor I use (jEdit) distinguishes between "Save as" and "Save a copy" in that with the latter you continue working on the old file and with the former you work on the new file. If it is just a rename, I would consider leaving "Save as". I don't know which is more intuitive but "Save as" is nearly universal - even in software like Powerpoint that kids are likely to have used - so using a different name might lead to confusion.

Moti

Member

I would like to get in on the alpha if possible...

Thank You!

Mr. D

Benjamin Middle School

http://bms-bsd25-il.schoolloop.com/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1298470826844&no_controls=t

http://www.bendist25.org/

http://scratch.mit.edu/users/mdroste

 

Just uploaded some resouces for a middle school anti bullying assignment using Scratch - Storyboard Worksheet, Student Rubric, and Schoolwide posters included...

Member

Hi Michael,

Information about how to participate in the alpha testing is available here.

Thanks,
K

Member

 One update about saving I learned today:

When the save message says "Save needed", clicking on the message will make it immediately save.

As I mentioned, we'll be reviewing and probably revising the Save messages. But for now that may be helpful. 

Member

 Hi Natalie,

Thanks for answering all our queries!!

I can understand your plans to put off implementing much of the stuff to the next version, but I'm willing to grovel as much as needed to get the "make a block" hidden :-)). The BYOB design seems reasonable - hidden by default with right-click / edit to display and edit - and hopefully shouldn't be hard to implement.

I shared the relevant projects:

http://alpha.scratch.mit.edu/projects/10006178 is the converted BYOB project.

http://alpha.scratch.mit.edu/projects/10006177 is the parity magic program that doesn't work (random, position computation) except on full screen. This is the only one of my 1.4 projects that seems to have serious bugs in 2.0.

http://alpha.scratch.mit.edu/projects/10006011 is the arithmetic game where the position of the "say / think" clouds makes it difficult to play as designed.

Moti

 

Member

 For the parity magic trick, please see this thread:

http://alpha.scratch.mit.edu/forums/topic/327/?page=1

Member

These links and comments are helpful, thanks.  I'll ask others to help investigate the issues with the projects. 

Member

 A general comment to say thank you all for your ongoing feedback and testing!

Changes are continuing to be made in the alpha version blocks and wording.

Translation has not yet started-- the languages you see there are just temporary placeholders for working out the code. 

We will be reviewing all the feedback on Save and Autosave. Autosave is the way applications are moving online, so we want to figure out how to do it in a way that makes it as clear as possible.

For saving to a local folder, for now you can go to the More menu and click "Export to local file." That wording will be changing very soon to  "Download this file." 

You can also open  projects (including 1.4 projects) from the More... menu  "Open from local file."

There will be a downloadable version of 2.0. In that version, file opening and saving to a local disk will be much more prominent, like in 1.4. The reason it's not in the online version as we want to avoid a confusion between where you open and save online projects from where you open and save projects on your local drive. 

We'll continue to review features, based on the comments here,  the Scratch 2.0 feedback forums, and as we try out the latest versions. 

Thanks everyone!

Member

 I rewrote a BYOB project for Scratch 2 and it works: http://alpha.scratch.mit.edu/projects/10006178

Issues that arose during the conversion:

1. As far as I could see, Scratch does not support "folding" or "hiding" the code for new blocks. We have middle-school kids writing projects with dozens of scripts per sprite, some of them very long. It is often impossible to read and understand them and I dread to think what would happen if someone tried to maintain such a project after it wins a prize on Scratch Day. I was hoping that Scratch 2 would use "Make block" as a way of supporting the structuring of programs. PLEASE, please do something!

2. BYOB supports creating functions returning boolean <...> or number (...). Very nice to have but not essential.

3. BYOB supports remote call of a "procedure" in another sprite. There is an easy workaround by broadcasting a message and calling the block when it is received so I don't see this as necessary.

4. Something didn't look right and I tracked it down as resulting for my changing the center of rotation of a sprite. I guess that this is to be implemented in the future.

I'm looking forward to the release!

Moti

Member

Thanks for the comments and suggestions. 

1.We  have planned to have "make a block" definitions be expandable/collapsible, but it hasn't made it to the top of the priorities yet. I'm thinking in a future update (maybe after the 2.0 release). 

2.Functions returning booleans are not planned in order to keep things simpler. 

3. Good. 

4. The current plan for center of rotation is that it will be the center of the paint editor, though that may still change to an adjustable center. 

To find out or comment on the latest Scratch 2.0 updates and features, you can visit:  http://alpha.scratch.mit.edu/forums/1/

 

Member

 Concerning my post from yesterday about saving scripts, this also goes for what was called "save picture of stage". I used one project to generate a stage (for a Karel robot) and then saved it for use in another project.

Aside from the issues I raised, Scratch 2 works great. Next week, I'll try a big test: converting a BYOB project that defined a lot of blocks to Scratch 2. (See http://code.google.com/p/scratch-robotics/ if you're interested.) I'll post a report on how it went.

Moti

Member

 "Save picture of stage" is also on the wishlist. Again probably after the 2.0 release, as we're trying to get to a release version ASAP. 

Member

Thanks for all of the great feedback, everyone!

For specific questions, you might want to also check out the Scratch 2.0 forums. I find the Search feature particularly useful for finding relevant content.

 

Member

 I'm confirming that the Scratch design team is reading and appreciates all your comments here! 

The Scratch 2.0 forums is a good way to follow the latest updates and discussions among all the testers and design team, including using the Search feature, as Karen mentioned. 

Member

 Hi Karen,

I'm not sure I understand this post:

1. Are you closing this discussion and asking us to use the "regular" Scratch 2.0 forum instead?

2. Will the developers be looking at the bugs I reported here or do you want me to copy them

over to the "Bugs and Glitches" forum?

Thanks in advance for clarifying this!

Moti

Member

No, I'm not closing this discussion -- you're welcome to use either space.

Scratch Team members will be looking at both spaces.

Member

Super weird: I have a project from 1.4 that works perfectly OK in 2.0 as long as I run it in full-screen but doesn't work from the small pane. It is an implementation of parity-checking from "Computer Science Unplugged". I shared it and you can download it from: http://code.google.com/p/scratch-unplugged/. When run in the small pane, the random number generator isn't random anymore (!) and the computations of coordinates are occasionally wrong.

Moti

 

Member

 Hi Moti,

Do you mind posting the URL for the Scratch program itself?

If you post it in the Scratch 2.0 forums Bugs and Glitches it will have more eyes figuring out the issues.

If you'd rather post here that's okay to.

Natalie

Member

 Hi again,

There also seems to be a change in the positioning of "say" and "think" blocks relative to the sprites. I (think I) shared a project "Worm arithmetic" which is a game for learning arithmetic. The "answers" are no longer positioned very close to the "worms" making it hard to decipher which answer is associated with which worm.

Moti

Member

Hi Moti, this (ans also the speed issue) have less to do with Scratch 2.0 than with the flash player that is in use on the regular Scratch website already now, and for quite some time now. I never saw this small pane bug above, though, that's really weird.

Member

 Hi Bernd,

Thanks for the clarification, but since I'm just a "user" of Scratch, the distinction isn't really relevant. I just looked at the stats and there are close to 3M projects (!), so backward compatibility is critical.

Moti

Member

1. Maybe it is just me, but sprites seem to move faster in 2.0. For a game, I used a loop with "move 2 steps" and "wait 0.01 sec". In 1.4 it takes the sprite about 6 seconds to move across the playing area but only 4 seconds in 2.0. Did anyone else experience this??

2. I really like the ability to make the scripts larger and smaller, but how about the blocks themselves? It's not as critical but it would be nice.

3. In 1.4 it was possible to save scripts as images. This is essential because we use it to create learning materials by creating projects and then documenting them in various ways in an external document.

Moti
 

Member

 Zooming in on the whole screen is planned soon. Save scripts as images is also planned but probably after the 2.0 release.

Speed issues could be helpful to share in the alpha discussion forums. Adding a link to the game could helpful. 

 

Member

 Opening/Saving

Ok - been playing/ thinking a bit more - would other primary (<Age11) educators please join in with this dicussion :)

In a primary class, I wouldn't be getting pupils to login (not unless we could have shortcuts in each childs folder with their logon username/password preloaded - e.g http://scratch.mit.edu?user=james1&password=TGJSKF$ and even then, I'd prefer to not do it as it would be more admin/prep work.

So, I'd want them to load/save from their personal or class folder.

At opening screen - no option to load previous saved work.  The most obvious button (Explore) doesn't let you "explore" local files - its a cloud thing.

So, we have to use the Create button (which doesn't seem right to me)

On the create screen we still have no File menu option (traditional but maybe considered too old school now :) ) but there is no obvious load/save option either - you have to click on More.

At this point, the pupils can now load/save projects but without the old,cute Scratch dialogs.(I'm not too worried about losing them)

However, instead of straight Open/Save options  - we have Open from local file (don't like that personally) but instead of Save/Save As options we have Export to local file which just introduces unnessary new language.

I'm not saying that the way I want it is the right way but I am saying that the current Load/Save UI is not suitable for primary classroom use and needs a reasonably fundemental look at.

 

regards

 

Simon

 

Member

 One change that I've been asking for doesn't seem to have made it into Scratch 2 yet :) but I'll give it another go because I'm all about ease of use for little Scratchers :)

 

When moving a sprite around on the stage to decide a starting or ending position it would be really, really nice if the goto x y and glide to x y blocks automatically updated to the sprites position when a Scratcher drags it around the screen.  

it would be sufficient to just update the values when the mouse button is released at the end of a drag operation.

This saves having to double-click a sprite to get updated x/y co-ords and not requiring double-click skills which would (using Lightnin's phrase :) ) lower the floor for using Scratch as AFAIK nothing else requires it.

 

regards

Simon

 

Member

 Good idea! This is now on the list, though it may be after the 2.0 release. 

Member

 The "fuzzy" project saving/loading/editing is really not working for me.

I don't mind the project being auto-saved but I'm really struggling to work out how to re-open and make changes to an existing project - I just can't work out how to do it! :(

 

Simon

Member

 Me neither (see my cxomments below). Would be happy about any help!

Member

 Hi Karen,

How long have we got for our testing before we lose access?

Thanks!

Rebecca

Member

This isn't a limited-time trial, so your access should stay intact.

Member

 Just went to try and save - there is no save option!!!!

Save is a fundemental IT concept that I think all educators try and impart to pupils  - I think we should be able to "save" and then "share" if required.

 

But do like the ability to restore work from the trash bin - very nice :)

 

Simon

 

Member

 1st imediate thoughts/impressions

Big one - still all online - which is great for sharing but really need an off-line version for classroom teaching as Internet access not reliable enough

During 1st 10mins of using it - my shockwave plugin crashed in Chrome :(

(I use Chrome in my schools as available across XP and Win7 and gives biggest working area on netbooks)

Stage size control - On netbooks - this is used oftern and not sure it should be pushed back from a button to a menu option.

Went to draw a sprite, no undo button/clear/redo/zoom ????  - cirlce drawing seems a bit wrong - circle doesn't "start" from correct point - vector graphics great for me but I think younger scratchers still going to need a simple bit-mapped paint option.

(Understand warnings that its buggy BTW)

Could do with tool-tips.

Can't see the much asked for x to the power y maths function or even x squared function - but surely it must be in there :)

Drop down selection has issues if the dropdown list hits the bottom of the screen - can't cleanly select an item - have to click and hold instead of just clicking.

regards

Simon

 

Member

 Some intial thoughts:

  • A <true> / <false> block would be very useful - I had to create confusing code to mimic it (http://alpha.scratch.mit.edu/projects/10005645)
  • Paint Editor: this is a huge improvement, I especially like the line point manipulation
  • If you duplicate a defined block (in trying to copy it elsewhere), you can't then delete the duplicate by dragging into the script block area. You get two identically named blocks in 'More Blocks' area (both of which call the first code you created). You can delete the duplicate by right-clicking.
  • You can delete the definition of a block by right-clicking and pressing delete, even if it has been used in the script. You cannot delete it by dragging it into the script block area if it is in use.
  • You don't seem to be able to drag code into the stage script area from a sprite
  • Will it be possible to make a defined block available to all sprites: I have written a 'walk' block but can't let other sprites use it. This seems like a huge issue to me.
  • Have code comments gone?

It is looking great! I can't wait to show my students and teachers.

More soon...

Rebecca

Member

 I strongly agree concerning true/false blocks. We need this to use custom blocks that have a boolean parameter.

 

Best,

Bernd.

Member

I noticed that the German translations of blocks and their categories are incomplete. For blocks / categories that have been present in Scratch 1.4, one should simply choose the old German names. For new blocks and categories, I don't know whether names have been discussed / decided yet. Here's the natural proposal for some of them:

- Data -> Daten

- More Blocks -> Mehr Blöcke

- Events -> Ereignisse

- create clone of ... -> erzeuge Klon von ...

- delete this clone  ->  lösche diesen Klon

- clone startup -> Klon-Aktivierung

- stop all / this script / other scripts in sprite - > stoppe alles / dieses Skript / andere Skripte dieses Objekts

I'm happy to help with translations of others, if needed. 

While going through all this, I noticed that the actual blocks shown in the alpha differ from what the "How Do I Use the New Blocks?" section says. Most notably, the backdrop capabilities seem more rstricted than what the scene blocks advertise (for example, there's no ...and wait feature). Are the alpha blocks supposed to be the Scratch 2.0 blocks, or are there still changes to be expected?

Thanks and all the best,

Bernd.

 

 

 

Member

Thanks, Bernd! The translation code is still being worked out so what you see there is placeholders. Thank you very much for offering help with translation-- translators will be contacted soon by the translation code. 

Changes are still being made in the blocks, and won't stablize until the beta version in early January.  

Member

I tested recursion with custom blocks (Fibonacci numbers) - it works! The only unfortunate thing is that there are no custom reporters which makes the code a bit cumbersome.

Also, have comments diappeared? I can't find them anywhere, and loading a Scratch 1.4 project from disk renders them as a red (obsolete?) blocks. 

I'll keep testing!

Bernd. 

Member

 Just adding that comments should be coming soon. 

Member

I'm enjoying trying out Scratch 2.0!

Here are a few things I've noticed:

The clone blocks are very useful - I can really see people making great use of these.

I like the higher resolution of the graphics.

The backpack is incredibly useful for sharing sprites bewteen projects. This used to be a laborious process before. I can see this being very useful in a classroom situation.

The saving process is not obvious at the start. There is obviously some autosaving going on, but there is no prominent save button. Perhaps it's a bit old fashioned but I like the old style disc icon to click when I've got something to work after a while. It sort of marks the end of that bit of the project and, after clicking, I know I can move onto the next bit, secure that my work is saved!

I also noticed (See Mark Willis post) that the Create button takes me straight to the full screen presentation mode. However, if I go to one of my projects and then click See Inside it works fine. Then I can click on New and I get the proper editor view with all the blocks etc. (This was using the up to date Google Chrome)

I'll keep testing!

Member

Thanks, Andy, for your feedback. 

We'll be reviewing the Autosave and feedback for knowing things are saved based on everyone's comments. We want to make sure that people realize it's autosaving so some Scratch design team members advise against adding a Save button. But we'll revisit and figure out ways to handle the feedback so people understand what state it's in. 

Note: That was a bug with Create going to full screen mode. If it's still happening, hold Shift and click refresh on your browser to make sure you're using the latest.

Member

 Thanks Natalie.

I like the new Save options under the file menu. I think they work really well and the Save Now option is clear. I also like the save needed which appears as a prompt over near the Scratch folder.

Good work!

Member

OK, I still don't understand how saving/editing works. I have this shared test project, and now I update it by deleting one script. I see "Save needed" but don't click on it. After some more clicking in the interface, I see "Saved at 19:47:52", and clicking on the green flag indeed shows the effect of the update. But when I click on "my stuff" and from there go back to the project, I'm still seeing the old version before the update. Which is good, since I don't want autosave to mess with my shared stuff. But how do I now share the update? And how do I store intermediate changes during the update process, for example when I need to logoff and want to continue later?

Member

 Autosave should overwrite the previous shared stuff. If you want to make a new version that doesn't overwrite your previously shared version, go to the More menu and choose "Make a copy."

We'll be reviewing the Autosave messages based on all the comments here. 

Thanks!

Member

Thanks for sharing this test link! I just created a test project "Blumenwiese" testing parameterized custom blocks. It worked!! Small things:

- in IE, the "see inside" button doesn't work (when I click on a project thumbnail, I get to the project page, but then I can't get to the scripts). So I used Chrome, and that worked.

- I was looking for a save button for some time until I realized that there is some autosave going on, and occasionally, I see "projects needs saving". Same with notes/credits. Fine with me, but it takes some getting used to.

- when I clicked on Make block for the very first time, no define-block template appeared and I was stuck. Only when I accidentally clicked on costumes and then on scripts again, the template suddenly appeared. From then on, it always appeared after making a block.

- when the project was ready, I clicked on share, but on the project page it still said "not shared" over the stage. Only when I got to the page next time through my stuff, it appeared as shared.

- the button for "my stuff" is tiny, and I didn't recognize it as the "my stuff" button. I found it by try and error (tooltip would help).

- when I changed the language from English to German, a custom block parameter named "color" was autotranslated to "Farbe". This kind of localization is a bit too much, I think. Also, when I changed back to English, the parameter itself went back to "color" but its use in the custom block definition remained "Farbe".

That's it for now - I'll keep testing!

Bernd.

 

 

Member

Thanks for noting these. Much of this is code in process.

 

Member

 Yes I was Scratching, pardon the pun, my head last night for a while as I couldn't get back to the editor using IE 9 as "See inside" doesn't work.

Chrome also has problems as  "See Inside"doesn't work occasionally on that. It makes the whole process really hard to get into a project and edit it. "Create" confusingly for me just dumps you into presentation mode with the Scratch cat and a large green flag but not the editor.