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Turtle Graphics

Version 3 will introduce turtle graphis into Flowgorithm. The idea comes from the classic programming language LOGO which was developed in 1967. It allows images to be created by the simple actions of the "turtle" - a graphical "brush" what be be turned and moved to create images. The goal was to teach programming concepts through the sequental steps required to create an image.

The introduction of turtle graphics will be instructors one additional tool to teach programming. For example, instructors could ask the studenst to draw a rectangle - first through a sequence of steps, then later, using iteration.

Flowgorithm will add an additional three shapes:

  • Turn - changes the angle by rotating the Turtle either left or right by a specified number of degrees. This combines the Logo commands LT (left turn) and RT (right turn).
  • Forward - moves the Turtle the specified distance. This combines the Logo commands PU (pen up), PD (pen down), FD (forward), and BK (backward).
  • Home - returns the turtle to the start position and sets the angle at 90 degress. This is the same as the Logo command HOME.

A few notes about the Turtle Graphics Window:

  • The graphics commands are stored, so the image can be scaled and vectored if the window is resized. This also means that the drawing can be exported to SVG or to a Logo program.
  • The buffer, used to store the image, is finite - and will delete items if it becomes excessively large (which a student could do). In reality, students shouldn't hit this limit.
  • The drawing field has a "fence" (from -1,000,000 and 1,000,000) for both the x and y axis.

Basic File Support

Version 3 will support reading and writing of basic text files. To support this feature, four new shapes are being introduced.

The shapes for Read and Write were previously defined in flowcharts. However, the Open and Close shapes are original (but designed to be visually compatible).

Skins

Version 3 will allow the user to extend the color themes to the application. The new Select Color Theme window will allow the user to download color themes, select one of the classic built-in schemes, and apply either to application. The "Apply the Color Scheme to Windows" is a checkbox, so the user can apply the scheme to the flowchart only.

Ultimately, this will allow Flowgorithm to have a dark theme, light theme, or any color - for that matter. The picture below shows Cyberspace color theme applied to all windows.

Conditional Breaks

Version 3 will allow students to create "conditional breaks".

Currently, the Breakpoint Shape will always pause the program. The new version, can either use this behavior (the default) or only break if a conditional expression is true. This should make the break shape a tad more useful - especially for in-class demonstrations.


Menu

Version 3 will contain an additional 7 shapes - 3 for turtle graphcs and the other 4 for files. This could be intimidating for new students. Also, the new shapes may not be used by some introduction to programming courses.

So, the new shapes can be hidden using a "more/less" button. By default, the menu will display the classic menu. Clicking on the down arrow will display the new shapes. The system will remember the user's selection (for both the session and it will be stored in the Registry).

Auto-Layout Windows

In version 3, windows be set to to automatically layout when opened or closed.

Often, it is difficult for instructors to juggle various windows during class demonstrations. The new feature, if selected, will automatically position and resize the windows.

 


New Variable Watch Window

Version 3 will we be able to display the system stack. The top of the stack (i.e. the current function) will be listed first. This feature can be enabled/disabled from the toolbar. The variables and parameters can be visually grouped. This feature can also be enabled/disabled from the toolbar.

Other Changes

  • The Variable Watch, Console, Turtle Graphics, Source Code windows are now "owned" by the main window. This means that Zoom will automatically include them if Flowgorithm is shared.
  • The speed of several windows will be faster.