[etoys-dev] Step by Step debugging and Etoys

karl ramberg karlramberg at gmail.com
Thu Nov 10 19:30:37 EST 2011

On Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 11:04 PM, Steve Thomas <sthomas1 at gosargon.com> wrote:
> So the argument I have heard as to why Etoys does not have a single Step
> Debugging like Scratch seem to go along the lines of "If we step one script,
> the whole world waits".
> I have two responses to this:
> So?
> Should we let the search for an elegant solution (that a few developers will
> see and appreciate) prevent us from providing a tool that can positively
> impact many children?
> So on "So?":
> So what if the whole world stops?
> Yes, I know and can think of some cases where this will impact the ability
> to debug certain issues, but my guess is these are a small minority of cases
> and I do not see any negative consequences (other than the single step
> debugging is not ideal in these few cases, but it would still be better than
> no single step debugger).
> A solution versus an elegant solution:
> Another way to solve this problem (which I will assume others have thought
> of, so I am probably missing something) is to do something similar to what
> Bert did in his Squeakland presentation where you "roll your own tiles" and
> place them in special holders (like "do together" or "do one at a time").
>  When you click on "debug" or some other similar script icon, a new "special
> script" is instantiated that has a copy of each tile, but it operates one
> "step" at a time, doing the step during its cycle.  This would allow the
> whole world to continue to run and provide single step execution of tiles
> (or copies of those tiles inside a special scriptor, that runs one tile at a
> time.).
> The one addition I would make to the approach above is along the line's of
> the one in Scott's recent talk.  Where you add an icon (the exclamation
> point in a yellow circle) to allow the user to execute one tile at a time in
> any order/timing they want.
> Another possibility would be to allow the user to "toggle" the visibility of
> a yellow exclamation point for each tile, this would be to allow kids to
> display the "fire tile" icon and just click through one at a time, which
> would also allow single step debugging (versus run at a slow pace, and
> frankly I prefer kids click each time, as it forces them to slow down and
> think.  When doing "Test" tiles not sure if you should highlight "Yes" or
> "No" or just skip to the first tile in that section.  I lean toward the
> former.
> Stephen

Great to see that video. Very cool features that I think will move
Etoys much further is ease of scripting.
Also good for debugging. A way transition between the single step mode
and the full Etoys scriptor would be nice.


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