By Andrea Buforn on Apr 26, 2021 4:13:56 PM
For the past year, we’ve been working hard to focus Further more specifically on the needs of people learning to code.
We're happy to announce that work is complete and we’d love you to check it out and give us feedback. Among the many changes that we’ve made, here are some we wanted to highlight.
New challenge layout
We’ve completely redesigned the experience when creating and working with challenges.
The page has been restructured around 2 columns, a single width column on the left provides instructions to people about what they need to do.
A double-width column on the right shows supporting material (e.g. images or video) or provides access to the coding window.
Further instruction section with supporting image.
Further section with code input and support for multiple files.
Remote working with connection sharing
We’re really excited to announce that Further is now remote-friendly! When people are collaborating on a challenge, if any person in a collaborating group connects to a pi-top device, then anyone in the group can push their code to the device for execution.
People can be anywhere in the world and share connections. This means that only one person in a group need have a pi-top, rather than all members.
Another approach would be for a teacher to have one or more pi-tops and share their connections with students.
Perhaps you want to practice paired programming and allow the remote person to drive.
A super thing about the way we’ve done this is that it’s all via HTTP, which means, no-one needs to open ports in their firewalls to get this to work.
Support for code files
Further now support multiple code files that can be accessed from within the code block.
A code block showing multiple files. Main.py is currently selected.
This is important because we want people to develop real-world skills. Using files, we can now cover subjects such as code tests, creation of libraries, and structuring code development in a way that will mimic what students will find in the workplace.
Referencing methods on files is supported in the normal way. e.g.:
> from face import find_face
Students can now write code tests without polluting the main code, which in turn allows them to practice TDD and code management.
In the future, challenges might separate frontend and backend code. That will be super.
We’re very excited about this functionality, the implementation is simple, elegant and optimized for challenges requiring a few files, rather than supporting the complex hierarchical file structures that you’d find in an IDE.
Learn to code with Minecraft or Sonic Pi courses
We hope that you’ll love the new Further as much as we do. We’re now working very hard to create a lot of new content on Further, and we thought you may be interested to know that you can now sign-up for our online 1:1 Minecraft course. The course consists of 12, 1-hour lessons privately tutored sessions.
If you’re a school with a license for Further, you’ll get access to the course content as part of your license (contact pi-top if you’d like access to these courses).
The courses teach beginner Python programming and physical computing while extending your knowledge of Minecraft.
We hope you enjoy these changes. Once you give them a go, let us know what you think in the comment section below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.