The Task Window is where you enter commands to make a program. It is the primary work area in FUNdaMENTAL. The entire programming language is displayed in the interface. To enter commands into their program code, students simply choose the ones they need from a scrolling list. In FUNdaMENTAL, the commands are all made of words, sometimes two and sometimes three, as in CONSTRUCT OBJECTfrog, or, PLACE OBJECT. There are a total of 86 commands in FUNdaMENTAL, but the language is divided into about a dozen "families" of related commands. In most cases, once you work with one command in a family, it's easy to get to know the rest. The Task window features an Instruction Wizard, which displays the function of the selected command. The interface is also "typo proof," so students wont end up with a crashed program due to a misplaced character. That frees them to concentrate on the nitty-gritty: placing commands in logical, "stepwise" order. As far as what they can tell the computer to dothe possibilities are virtually endless!
The FUNdaMENTAL Graphics Library allows you to store both imported and handmade graphics for each program you write. Although there is no paint feature in FUNdaMENTAL, .bmp files can be easily pasted into the Graphics Library. Once they are stored in the Graphics Library, graphics can be built into Object designs for programs. (See Object Designer below.) FUNdaMENTAL relies on "flip book" style animation. The MORPH OBJECT command causes the graphic associated with an object to change, so students can create the illusion of movement or metamorphosis.
In the Object Designer, students can combine graphics with other features to create and store customized objects for their programs. The Object Designer includes an easy to use "click-task" drop-down menu. With this tool, students can assign small lists of commands, or "sub-tasks," as the behavior for an object to display when it is clicked. This is just one of the ways FUNdaMENTAL offers students the excitement of creating their own interactive computer programs.
When the computer needs extra data in order to complete a command, the FUNdaMENTAL Data Wizard prompts students to provide it. The appearance of the dialog box varies depending upon the kind of data that is required, so there's no guess work for the students. Here, the Data Wizard prompts for x and y coordinates to complete a MOVE OBJECT command. This dialog will appear every time a student uses the MOVE OBJECT command. Other commands have similar Data Wizard dialogs, which all work in the same way to help students assemble their instructions for the computer.
The Playground and Conversation windows serve as both testing grounds and performance arena for the students' programming efforts. At any point during the code-writing process, students can click the Play button and see if the program runs as planned. Graphics and animation appear in the Playground window. Text (string) data appear in the Conversation window.
Instuction Wizard: explains
function of current command