Alice

My dad works as a software developer for a company called Oracle. There was a time when I thought I would probably end up studying computer programming, and he taught me about what he does. He works with a programming language called PeopleCode, which is only useful for PeopleSoft programs (he used to work for a company called PeopleSoft, but that was bought by Oracle) but the basic principles of the language are similar to many programming languages (it’s object-oriented). My dad is a great teacher, and I grasped the basic concepts of object-oriented programming and various useful tools, like if-statements, while-loops, and other amusingly named instructions. I even started learning Java (since it’s free and made to be easily understood). But then I was too impatient to keep going, and I learned that I want to study langages. (Human ones.)

Yesterday, though, I went to a little course offered by my dad’s company. It was a course to teach kids how to think in terms of Java, using a game called Alice. Alice is sort of a world-building program: it can be used to create small animations or games using a set of pre-existing figures (people, animals, various objects, etc.). On the one hand, the graphics quality is rather bad, so the finished project is less than beautiful. On the other hand, you get to make a thing. It does what you tell it to. Plus – the best part for me, by far – it’s all one big logic problem.

I love logic problems. I was happy puzzling out the commands and structures necessary to make it all do what I wanted. And Alice is made to be easily understood and genuinely educational. So I thought I would recommend it to you, whoever you may be. You can download it absolutely free at this website, where you can also find instructions and tutorials and what-not. I suggest you play with it. If nothing else, you may find it fun.

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