MakeCode 2020 Summer Update

MakeCode 2020 Summer Update

Kerry Kidd
Kerry Kidd

MakeCode has received its annual 2020 summer update. Kerry Kidd takes a look at what has been added.

MakeCode, the most popular editor for the BBC micro:bit has now received its annual summer update. This update brings a whole host of new features to enhance what the editor can do. Let’s take a look at some of our favourite features in this new release. Hopefully, you can find a new feature you like and can make use of in your project!

Improved webUSB Support

WebUSB in Makecode (Credit: Microsoft)

The 2020 update includes improved WebUSB support; this is where you can have your micro:bit connected within a chrome-based browser and download code straight to the micro:bit instead of dragging hex files from your computer to the micro:bit.

Collapsable Blocks

Collapsable Blocks (Credit: Microsoft)

We can now collapse long blocks of code, making our programs more readable within MakeCode. So if you have a program with a lot of functions you can collapse the functions down to just show the name of the function, then you can expand it if you want to know more about what the function is doing.

Code Debugger

Debugger (Credit: Microsoft)

Debuggers are critical tools to help students understand the state of their program execution flow and are often included in code editors. The Bug icon in the simulator lets you enter a Debugging mode, where you can step through the program looking for issues. You can add a breakpoint, that lets you view the variables available to the program at that point.

Python Language Support

MakeCode Python Tab

As well as being able to see the JavaScript view of your code, you can now see it in Python. This is a MakeCode variant of Python and not the same as MicroPython. So beware, any Python code you create within MakeCode will not work in any of the other Python editors.

Dot to Dot Connectors

Dot to Dot Connectors (Credit: Microsoft)

Inline blocks now have red dots on the side as you drag them into an input, a yellow line will appear to make it clear as to where the block is going to land. This is a helpful feature for knowing exactly where an inline-block is going to land.

GitHub Repository Support

GitHub Mode (Credit: Microsoft)

If you have a GitHub account (available for those 13 years and older), you can now store MakeCode projects in a GitHub repository. This is great for group projects, version control, and teaching students about open source software development.

MakeCode Multi Editor

Multi Editor (Credit: Microsoft)

The multi-editor provides a way to simulate the true experience of running radio programs on the micro:bit. The multi editor provides two separate editor windows to program your transmitter and your receiver respectively. Create, modify, and test out two programs at the same time.

Use the new MakeCode Features

MakeCode for micro:bit - MakeCode Editor
Multi Editor - MakeCode Multi Editor
Read about other features - Read about other features