Unless you're a kid or teacher, you've probably not heard of the 'Kids Programming Language' (KPL).

KPL is not a Microsoft language like C# or VB, but a language Microsoft started to support and promote 'officially' last year after some Microsoft folks such as Scott Wiltamuth met with the KPL folks, Jonah Stagner, ex-Microsoft program manager Jon Schwartz and former NCR engineer Walt Morrison.

Since then, there have been a few KPL aticles on MSDN and now there's a Channel 9 video with Jon Schwartz demo'ing Kids Programming Language. Here's the KPL site.

Currently, the KPL IDE language translations include Chinese, Russian, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Czechoslovakian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Greek and Catalan.

It's great to see this happening. Last year I read a paper submitted for Bill Gates' Think Week urging that we support KPL and loved the idea -

"The original catalyst for the development of language, Morrison said, was Stagner's desire to give his 10-year-old son and kids like him a worthwhile language with which to get started. "The idea for us was, let's get them going. Let's give them lots of examples of how games are written that are sound and audio and visually interesting to them, so they'll stay interested," Morrison said. "We think learning is best when learning is fun, that’s our most important reason for the game and sound approach in KPL."

Which language should kids use to learn programming concepts? It is a question that comes to mind for me as my 5 year old starts to grow up. Too young now, but not long. If he's interested, I'll support him, but which way to go? I learnt BASIC on my ZX81 at 11 or 12, but times have moved on.

I think Microsoft's interest in KPL is fairly obvious and transparent. Since the KPL code can directly translate into C# and VB.NET, it makes KPL an attractive proposition for Microsoft - it's a great way to get kids started on programming and then graduate to .NET programming using C# or VB.NET.


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