Bug hunting can be like 'Where's Wally?'

First you find a bug & then you de-bug.

It’s that simple isn’t it?

blippitcode

All software applications have bugs – some cause no real problems and go unnoticed, others are minor and a minority wreak havoc.  You might be surprised to hear that software providers LOVE hearing about possible bugs via bug reports.  They love it even more if the steps that lead up to the strange behaviour  can be replicated by their Application Development Team because this means the bug is real and can be fixed.

Blippit Code
Real code from the Blippit IO Application that runs on a user’s desktop

Without the help of users (essentially many hands and eyes) application developers can’t hope to capture every bug for debugging try as they might.

In the classroom it’s a fantastic exercise to give students a simple program with a bug or two it.  This way they really REALLY have to

  • be systematic in their approach – record steps taken etc
  • be tightly focused on isolating the area where the bug is likely to be
  • be able to step through the programme in it’s component parts or sections
  • develop an understanding of how the larger whole can be viewed in chunks

Here at Blippit we were able to find and de-bug a FANTASTIC bug in quick fashion this month thanks to two schools who took the time to file a bug report (they told us about it basically) to support@blippit.co.uk .  This lead to more detailed info gathering, a school visit from us and finally within a week and a half a global update of Blippit IO.  They helped us improve Blippit IO in a measurable way for the thousands of students and teachers who are using Blippit IO across the UK, Australia and US.

If you’re a lovely Blippit IO User, we are going to make it nice and easy for you to report anything that feels like a bug to you soon.  More about that to follow.

Blippit Code
Real code from the Blippit IO Application that runs on a user’s desktop
So…the moral of this story is, if it’s safe and legal to do so, always tell the people who wrote the code if you find what you think might be a bug in their app.  They’ll never be offended, they’ll always be grateful and the rest of the community using that app will put you on their cool list.

What more could anyone want?

Blippit IO FREE Version

Schools from 9/10/15 (GMT evening) will be able to use all of Blippit IO’s tools for FREE!

Included:

  1. Blippit IO App Maker
  2. Blippit IO PureCode Python (text based coding)
  3. Blippit IO Spotlight (video web conferencing)

You’ll be able to set up unlimited student and teacher users accounts within your school to use all of Blippit IO’s tools whenever and wherever you choose (subject to the t’s and c’s).  *Schools can upgrade their FREE Account to ‘unrestricted use’ at any time as per usual.

App Maker Privacy

Administrators can now choose whether or not to publish a student’s app onto Planet Blippit

Planet Blippit or Not

App Maker Animation

We have re-designed both the Image Widget and Slideshow Widget so that you can now upload animated Gif files into your app.  These clever little files can be seen on any mobile device and have seen a resurgence in popularity recently.  Here’s an example of such an animated gif featuring Blippit IO PureCode Python.

Animated Gif - Just do it!

Here’s another showing animated images in the rebuilt Slideshow Widget.  Don’t watch them too long though or you may go a bit mad.

animated slides

Image Widget Editor

Upload and press ‘Edit Image’ to open up the powerful image editor right there in Blippit IO App Maker.  Add text, Instagram-type filters, stickers and more sophisticated effects with ease and speed.  This in it’s own right transforms what users can creatively achieve in their app projects.

Blippit IO App Maker Image Editor

#freefriday #blippitio

*free accounts are not available for home-school arrangements or schools using single-sign on platforms in the UK.  Schools using single0-sign on setups can of course register outside of their single sign-on platform but they would then have to log in outside of their normal habits and subsequently have more than a single sign on account to manage.

Blippit IO FREE Version! Computing App Making, Python coding, video  web conferencing

Special Blippit IO CC4 Download for RM Unify Users

RM SupporRM Unify schools should now use the browser based version of Blippit instead of the CC4 download  This is the easiest way to sign in with RM Unify.

Schools using the original Blippit App Maker will still be able to access this through RM Unify until renewal time when special upgrade rates will be applied to everyone migrating over to Blippit IO.

We love the fact that RM Unify’s approach gives their schools the single sign-on experience.  The way that we have modified Blippit IO for schools using RM Unify means that there’s no distractions or worries about usernames and passwords either – which has to be a good thing!  If you’ve never tried single sign-on services you may want to find out more.

 

Blippit IO – downloadable for the right reasons

Blippit IO is now also a downloadable application instead of purely browser-based experience and there are many reasons why we’ve done this.  A big reason is that we sensed a potential digital divide emerging giving a two tier experience for those schools with ‘modern’ desktop browsers and those without.

Blippit IO can offer school much more in terms of features and tools in it’s downloadable version.  Even the Safari browser version for iPad does so much more than ever before, all because it’s a ‘modern’ browser.

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We’d love to have kept Blippit IO as purely a browser-based experience but unfortunately because of the reality that many schools have many different types of browsers (many old ones) it would have meant that only people with the latest browsers would have benefited from Blippit IO’s powerful new features and tools.  This would have gone against one of our driving principles which is all about inclusion and giving everyone the same opportunities.  Last year one of our in-house issues was that different and older browser types would cause unexpected behaviours in the app maker and this made it really difficult for us to support schools to the level we’d like. Now however, the downloadable Blippit IO package puts every school on the same level playing field and that is wonderful.

blippit_co_uk_assets_BlippitUK-web_pdf

With Blippit IO as a downloadable application we can offer every school 

  • The brand new Blippit Spotlight – an exciting and made for schools web conferencing tool which is perfect for when you’re snookered by firewalls and filtering – it just works
  • Brand new customisations for mobile apps that given a huge range of new choice about how your apps should look
  • A brand new communication tool as part of the app maker to support learner feedback between teacher and children
  • A brand new powerful photo editing Widget in the App Maker that means you no longer need to be a master of graphics to get very cool images in your app
  • Heaps of new flexibility in how teachers organise and move children around the Admin side of Blippit IO
  • The brand new interactive online coding tool PureCode Python currently cooking up a nice bit of fuss at KS 3
  • Excellent support and a rock solid knowledge base from within Blippit IO

So there you have it – we just wanted to share our thinking and hope you can see the logic too 🙂  Have a great term whether you’re trialling or using Blippit IO and speak soon.

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Face-to-Face with New Blippit IO Spotlight

It’s time to put learning literally in the Spotlight.  Meaningful, authentic and unique experiences with high expectations are where Blippit IO Spotlight is aiming to help out.

Historically face-to-face communications using technology has been thwarted in school because of

  • technical barriers i.e. Skype is blocked or Google meant a lot of account setup and wider thought
  • lack of service support
  • stranger danger worries
  • memories of megabucks needed to achieve anything worthwhile

Blippit-Spotlight-LOGO

So what have we done?

We’ve created Blippit IO Spotlight & the plan is that it’ll be exclusively available to all our Blippit IO School users as part of the Blippit IO suite whether you use the App Maker or PureCode Python or both.  Here’s a quick introduction:

What does Spotlight do and how is it different?

We have given the teacher full control over everything with no need for tech support.  The teacher chooses

  • who can use video to communicate
  • when it’s available and therefore when it isn’t by default
  • when ‘rooms’ for links are available

We’ve made Blippit IO Spotlight so that teachers can

  1. create exciting and unique opportunities for communicating and collaborating with others
  2. connect simply to another Blippit IO member or invited ‘other’ from outside of Blippit IO
  3. use text chat to share comments or links with others
  4. make best use of our quick file sender to share resources with others in project chat
  5. collaborate and communicate via Blippit IO Spotlight safely any time and anywhere

We’d like to thank all our users, past and present, for coming along with us on this change-filled time in education.  Let’s face it – change became the norm many years ago so why not try to have some fun along the way?  😉