Our Programs Are Fun To Use


Are you sure the line was from a Beagle Bros program? There is a line by James Warner on McSweeney’s that is suspiciously similar: "2020: All Books Will Be Cross-Platform and Interactive"
On second thought, since you read it a number of years ago, it’s more likely that he was inspired by the same original quote, or heard it through the grapevine.


Ooh, definitely in to see about winning that keyboard. Lets see what python can do …

Incidentally, did anyone notice that sorting.at calls in-place merge sort an n^2 algorithm? I distinctly remember proving that it’s in O(n*log(n)) during an algorithms class…


Another great set of explanations is at Red Blob Games.


Game for learning about CSS Selectors: CSS Diner


Khan Academy is a great interactive resource. Many topics are still video only (like physics) and there is the occasional bug, but I am quite enjoying the math and computer science sections.


www.CodeCombat.org - wished I could work at some place like that.

The first labyrinth there, random traversal is exactly what I’ve developed for and from scratch coincidentally a few months apart, mostly for fun.

MIT’s Scratch is, by the way, another great fun program to use! :slight_smile:

I’m pretty positive he never meant to refute the intro level and that’s very different from an intro video. Here:



Since we we’re on the topic of interactive books, one of the best examples that I can think of off the top of my head is http://eloquentjavascript.net/. Absolutely love the format and content of this book.


Great interactive visualizations teaching about Digital Signal Processing - http://jackschaedler.github.io/circles-sines-signals/aliasing.html


Thanks for collecting all of these links, many of which I haven’t seen before. I’d like to add my dynamic visualization of Melkman’s Algorithm. It’s a guided tour, with contextual information and real-time feedback.


I just spent an hour running emulators of Apple II Beagle Bros software on the Internet Archive. Some of the demos are really cool, but no mention of anything close to your quote :frowning:

Now I really hope someone does find it. Anyway, here was one of my favorite: Apple Mechanic by Beagle Bros


Another nice example of learn programming by experiment, is the tutorial for the Go language (a tour of go: https://tour.golang.org).
Go is not an interpreted language, and it doesn’t run in the browser like JavaScript and html, so a backend is required.
The result: it’s very easy to learn go, even though its syntax is a bit weird to most programmers.


Having seen that code, I doubt you could replicate Earth Primer’s simulation in JavaScript/html. It’s way too involved.


There’s a strong association for me in this with Neal Stephenson’s idea of A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer. We might have to wait another 5-10 years for a technology like that be introduced, though.


I’ve been trying to find an open source way of building codeschool type lessons for internal use, here, and not yet found a tool. At the moment I’m building something about term.js and a wrapper around bash before presenting the shell over websockets.

There are surely better ways: I’m sure codeschool’s shells (for example the one on try.github.io) are not real shells but instead made to look that way, allowing a specific set of commands and checking the output.

Is there a tool or framework like that already available, that’s not kept secret for someone’s business model?


The Diamond Age is a great novel about interactive textbooks! Read it.

I totally agree, does anyone have a list of great websites that allows readers to participate?

It would be great, if we could also sort them by prerequisites and indicative age.


Wait! “Imaginary brothers”? You mean there weren’t any real Beagle Brothers? Dude, you’ve just totally ruined my childhood.

Next thing you’ll tell me Bartles and Jaymes weren’t real either…


One site I haven’t seen mentioned here (or maybe I missed it) is acko.net. It has beautiful animations and visualizations and I’ve wasted quite some time there in awe… Unfortunately I can only post 2 links being a new user but the first one should help you find/discover the other animations and visualizations.


Animagraffs by Jacob O’Neal has several excellent mechanical visualizations.


[quote=“sehetw, post:10, topic:3097”]

[quote=“codinghorror, post:1, topic:3097”]
That experience is another reason I’ve always resisted calls to add “intro videos”, …[/quote]
I don’t think I get that. seems too ironic to me since every single example given on this page is effectively precisely that: the intro level, interactive playground.[/quote]

I think you might have missed the point. Intro videos are the opposite of the examples given. Video are possibly the least interactive form of instruction, second only to audio.

Going back to redo a section requires jumping around until you find something familiar or re-watching unrelated sections. Plus, it’s totally isolated from the rest of your environment. The best you can hope for is a second monitor to play the video. You can’t even copy-paste boilerplate stuff.


The piece of code you’re looking for can be, potentially, here:

Thanks for this post. I didn’t know the Beagle Bros. Software but I now have the impression that my didactic DOS-based software at the time were deeply influenced by it.