John Maloney

Computer scientist

Boston, Massachusetts (USA)

From May 7 to May 14, 2018

Biography —



John Maloney creates live, highly-engaging programming systems for beginners and “casual programmers.” John was the lead developer for Scratch over its first eleven years. Before that, he worked in Dr. Alan Kay’s research group, first at Apple Computer, then at Walt Disney Imagineering, where he helped create the Squeak portable Smalltalk system and Etoys, a programming system for children that was one of the inspirations for Scratch.

After leaving the Scratch team in 2013, John lead the creation of GP Blocks, a blocks language aimed at older students and adults. MicroBlocks, his most recent project (in collaboration with Jens Mönig and Bernat Romagosa), is a Scratch-like blocks programming environment for microcontroller boards such as the BBC micro:bit.

John got his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington. In his free time, John plays the dulcian, the Renaissance ancestor of the modern bassoon.

Project —

Project shared with Bernat Romagosa,  Jens Mönig, and Tom Lauwers

MicroBlocks is a new programming language inspired by Scratch that can run right inside microcontroller boards such as the micro:bit, the NodeMCU and many Arduino boards.

The MicroBlocks system allows for dynamic, parallel and interactive programming, just like in Scratch, but with the twist of having your projects run autonomously inside the board without being tethered to a computer, thus offering the flexibility and liveness of tethered blocks programming without giving up the real-world applications of low level microcontroller programming.

With MicroBlocks, you can build your own digital instruments, interactive jewelry, electronic games and measuring devices, all by using blocks.