mBlock is a programming software by blocks of instructions allowing to control programmable cards, robots and to create programs without knowing a programming language. It is an ideal tool for discovering and mastering the basics of algorithms. It was developed by the Chinese company Makeblock from the free Scratch application developed by MIT.
mBlock is not free, but it is free and allows you to control all Makeblock products as well as devices and robots based on Arduino boards, among others. It can also take into account several additional modules from third-party companies.
The Interface of Mblock Closely Resembles that of Scratch:
- A programming area where you drag and assemble the blocks
- A “Scene” zone where the execution of the program is displayed when this program is to be executed on a screen (game, drawing, etc.)
- The central area containing all the instruction libraries arranged by category and color code.
The use of mBlock, as well as the discovery of algorithms through the use of blocks, are very intuitive for most students. It only takes them a few minutes to figure out how the software works and drag and drop instructions into the programming area.
A very important point of mBlock (and of Scratch) is that you can test your program right away, without going through a tedious compilation step. Also, if you use an Arduino cheap(Arduino ราคาถูก, which is a term in Thai)without powering it by the battery, it will affect the USB cable that is used to communicate with the computer.
Although it is not possible, in this case, to use it in a stand-alone way, this allows it to operate in “Online” mode, that is to say, that the card communicates with the computer all the time. And that it is not necessary to upload the program to its memory. This saves time because the programs can be tested as soon as they are changed.
Another important point is the compatibility of mBlock with many products from other companies. The list is long, just go to the menu” Choice of the menu” to be convinced. On the other hand, the compatibility of mBlock with all the families of modules (like Grove for the Arduino board, for example) is more delicate. It requires the installation of extensions (that’s good, the “Extensions” menu is made for that) that you have to look for on the Web.