[IAEP] Why is Scratch more popular than Etoys?

Jecel Assumpcao Jr. jecel at merlintec.com
Mon Sep 5 19:46:19 EDT 2011

Alan Kay wrote:
> [...]
> Then we handed Etoys over to the Squeak Foundation, and the version
> they put out online retains the classroom UI with flaps.

Actually, that would be the Squeakland Foundation. But in the Squeak
Board at least Bert and I try to represent the interests of the Etoys
(and Scratch) users.

One reason for Scratch's popularity is the restrictions they have made
which upset some people in the OLPC community. Etoys, on the other hand,
suffered from some of the problems that open source projects have -
students and teacher become very upset when some project they have
created won't load into a newer version of the system. Note that I am
fully on the side of Etoys here, but we have to be aware of the costs.

It is interesting to me that Scratch's explict loops (compared to Etoys'
clock driven scripts) don't seem to cause any difficulties for beginners
nor for young children. That shows how important it is to test stuff
rather than follow our intuitions.

What I would really like (in the sense that I am trying to get funding
to pay a group of people to build) would be a system within
Croquet/Cobalt that would start out like Scratch, then become more and
more like Etoys as the programmer's skills improved with a smooth path
all the way to the Smalltalk level.

Jens Mönig, the guy who did BYOB (Build Your Own Block extension of
Scratch), also created Elements, which is a Scratch syntax for


So it is easy enough to see how far this approach can scale.

-- Jecel

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