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Released by Carnegie Mellon University in 1998, Alice is an object-based programming language with an integrated development environment (IDE) that uses drag-and-drop features to create 3D computer games and animations.

The programming language was first developed at the University of Virginia in 1994, then at CMU since 1997, by a research group led by Randy Pausch.

Alice is a block-based programming environment that makes it easy to create animations, build interactive narratives, and program 3D games. It is designed to be an educational programming language, as well, as it motivates learning through creative exploration, teaches logical and computational skills, and the fundamental principle of programming. It often serves as the first exposure to object-oriented programming.

The drag-and-drop features of the Alice IDE eliminates the possibility of syntax errors, such as missing semicolons, curly braces, quotation marks, misspellings, or identifiers.

Alice includes a large library of off-the-shelf 3D objects and predefined methods, making it easy for game developers to create 3D worlds from these objects, which can then be animated through object-oriented programming.

Overseeing the development of the language, the Alice Project offers supplemental tools and materials for teaching by use of the language, reaching a wide spectrum of age groups. As an educational language, Alice is designed to teach programming theory without the semantics of production languages like C++. There is no syntax to learn or remember. It is used by teachers in middle schools, and even some at the earlier ages, as well as in universities, to supplement the curriculum in subjects ranging from visual arts and language arts to the fundamentals of programming.

Developed at Washington University in St. Louis, Looking Glass is an adaptation of Alice intended for children age ten and up, teaching them to create and share animated stories, simple games, and virtual pets.

Alice is free to use, but the source code is not available. It can also be used with NetBeans to convert the Alice file into Java.

The focus of this category, of course, is the Alice programming language, the Alice IDE, Looking Glass, or any other tools designed to facilitate the use of Alice, as well as sites displaying or promoting books, tutorials, guides, user groups, or forums related to the language.

 

 

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