Mauro Leonelli

Grasshopper - a coding app by Google

April 25, 2018 | 1 Minute Read

In the vast offering for online training and education it appeared a couple of days ago an app by Google called Grasshopper that is worth knowing for its mobile-first approach and its good usability.

The application itself guides the beginner to the basis of Javascript in order to introduce fun challenges with the D3 library and SVG manipulation. The interesting thing about this app is that, contrary to many learning sites, it’s meant to be consumed on mobile only.

Screen of the advancement in Grasshopper
Fig1. - The advancement in Grasshopper

The advancement goes bottom up as you figurately “climb” your way with challenges (and the last challenges of the first course are about a mountain climb…).

The activities are basically divided in quizzes, very concise refreshers of the concepts introduced and challenges, where the learner has to play with code in order to meet the instructions’ goals.

Screen of a quiz in Grasshopper
Fig2. - A quiz in Grasshopper

Challenges are generally easy in order to be accessible to beginners but tend to be more challenging as you move up the ladder. Commands are selected by clicking on a list of available ones, making the coding easy on mobile.

From time to time as more commands need to be chained (especially on animations course), the UI become a little rusty on smaller screens as it’s not simple to click on the correct element you want to work on.

Screen of a challenge in Grasshopper
Fig3. - A challenge in Grasshopper

Overall, Grasshopper is a fun app for an introduction to coding and a nice example of how mobile apps can be simple yet with a rich user interaction.

Grasshopper is available on Google Play

Get it on Google Play