Pedagogical API’s

This summer my project was to teach my son to program, (as it was last summer).  We created a SMS text message translator, (eg. CU L8R=see you later), a version of Hammurabi, a primitive predator-prey population simulator, and got started on an MMO as a way to explore object oriented programming.  This year, we wrote our programs from scratch, as opposed to–mostly–copying them from a book.  Last year, we translated code from an old VB for kids book into C#

Whilst writing these programs with my son, I realized I didn’t have quite the API’s I wish I had.

I wish there were some API’s that were domain specific, like Hammurabi-type-game specific.  Most of the games were easy, but had one or two damn hard parts. For example, creating a Dice class that works in ASP.NET turned out to be a major distraction from the more relevant task of understanding the difference between fields, methods, if blocks, for blocks, as so on.

If there was such a pedagogical API, it would have a bunch of functions suitable that would have desirable quantities (going up, peaking, going back down), without a multi-hour detour into how 2nd degree polynomials work. 

Anyhow, if I ever get the time I re-write these mini-applications, factor them into the hard parts and the easy parts and publish them as pedagogical API’s.

I can tell you as a geek who learned programming as a child, I’d rather have had API’s in C#, than a funky kid specific language.  Even as a ten year old I knew that logo was for sissies and real code was in Atari Basic.

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