Oct 23, 2023 | gga

Pandita enters alpha and we need users!

tl;dr: Pandita is ready for alpha testers! If you’re excited by the possibility of better technology for teaching and everyone, then add your name to our alpha tester list.

Pandita started because I enjoy learning and care about education. I could see that education was being failed by technology. Learning requires hands-on practice. Digital tech should be creating lots of opportunities for safe, repeated, relevant hands-on practice. But it’s not. Why not? Well, hands-on practice looks a lot like a computer program, and programming is hard. Too hard.

A lot of the time, when I’m confronted by a problem that I know could be solved with a program, I don’t write it. I feel all too keenly all the million tiny frustrations of even the simplest programs. And I’ve been programming, pretty much constantly, for 35 years. Many of the programs I can imagine are pretty simple things: store a single piece of data, look up three pieces of data. It’s not that that’s hard, it’s all the extra rubbish: the accidental complexity that comes along for the ride.

In 1986, Brooks argued in “No Silver Bullet” that, essentially, accidental complexity had largely been solved, and better design was the only way to make better programs. As a programmer, that doesn’t feel right to me. Those simple programs I imagine have very little complexity, other than the thought of having to learn how Heroku (a popular and simple! platform for running apps) has changed since I last used it two years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Heroku and more programmers should be using it. But, it doesn’t go far enough. If we want more authors, teachers and students to be creating their own opportunities for hands-on practice, then more needs to be invested in removing accidental complexities.

In 1986 and again in 1995, Brooks ruled out a number of technology improvements as likely to help, including better programming languages. In 1996, the Java programming language was released. It was the language of the first Dot com boom, and there have been many new languages since: Ruby, Clojure, JavaScript, Rust, Python. Many of these languages have, in turn, been the languages of other booms. Time and time again, new languages have driven new possibilities.

But, all have been for professional programmers. It is time for a language for those problems that shouldn’t need a professional programmer.

Indu: The programming language

Pandita is built upon Indu: a programming language designed from the ground up to be easy to learn, and to specifically be for creating simple, interactive web apps. The language is now developed enough to be ready to use, and Pandita is seeking users! We want people to try out Indu and Pandita, to take the examples we’ve built and are building and show us what’s possible, and what could be possible if we added the right… something.

If you are interested in any of the following:

  • New programming languages
  • Better education
  • Simulations and exploration
  • Tools to work with other tools.

Then, you’re a good candidate for an alpha tester!

Indu deserves a longer post talking about the language. If you’re interested, then explore the Indu guide. It’s interactive: you can try writing and running Indu programs right there.

And drop your name down in our waiting list to become an alpha tester.

Alpha Tester Sign-up


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