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Scratch 1.4 Release Notes

We are happy to announce the release of Scratch 1.4.  With this new version, you can ask users to input text from the keyboard (using the new "ask" and "answer" blocks), take photos directly from built-in or USB webcams, and control robotics with LEGO ® WeDo TM. This version has a more flexible user interface, so that it can work on smaller screens, such as on netbook computers.

Scratch 1.4 for Mac OS requires OSX 10.4 or higher.
Scratch 1.4 for Windows requires Windows 2000, XP, or Vista.

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New Features

Keyboard Input

The AskBlock.gif block (in the Sensing category) allows you to ask a person a question and have them type in a response. The keyboard input is saved in the AnswerBlock.gif block.

Camera

If your computer has a built-in or USB webcam, the "Camera" button CameraCostumeButton.gif in the Costumes tab allows you to quickly snap a photo or a sequence of photos.

String operations

The Numbers category has been renamed to "Operators" because it now contains blocks for manipulating strings.

  • The JoinBlock.gif block combines two strings (letters or other characters).
  • The letterOf.gif block reports the letter of at the specified position in the string.
  • The length.gifblock reports the length of a string.
  • The ListContains.gif block can be used to find out if a list contains a particular word or number.

LEGO® WeDo TM

Scratch can now interface to the LEGO® Education WeDo™ robotics kit.

The "Show Motor Blocks" command in the Edit menu makes five motor blocks appear in the "Motion" category:

    • MotorOnFor.gif turns the motor on for the specified number of seconds.
    • MotorOn.gif turns the motor on.
    • MotorOff.gif turns the motor off.
    • MotorPower.gif turns the motor on at the given power level (0-100).
    • MotorDirection.gif sets or reverses the motor direction.

In addition, the "sensor value" block now allows you to select the WeDo"tilt" and "distance" sensors. To use these blocks you will need a LEGO® Education WeDo™ kit, available at www.legoeducation.com.

Other changes to the blocks

The comparison blocks (=, <, >) now allow you to type strings into their arguments.

Blocks that refer to sprites (e.g. "distance to") now accept reporter blocks, so you can now provide a string with the name of a sprite as input to these blocks.

The list reporter block has a small change. If a list consists entirely of single character entries then the list reporter concatenates those letters together without inserting any spaces. If any list entry consists of more than a single character, spaces are inserted between the list elements (useful for making a sentence from a list of words.)

Changes to the User Interface

Support for smaller screens

The improved Scratch 1.4 User Interface allows Scratch software to run on computers with screens as small as 800x480 (so that Scratch can work on new netbook computers).

Three display modes

Scratch 1.4 has three buttons at the top-right of the screeen, allowing you to switch between three viewing modes: small-stage mode, large-stage mode, and presentation mode. When you switch to small-stage mode, the Scripts area becomes larger (which is convenient when writing programs with many scripts).

ScratchInterfaceV1.4.gif

Smaller Sprite Thumbnails

To save screen space, the sprite thumbnails are smaller and no longer show the number of costumes and scripts in that sprite. You can see the number of scripts as a pop-up if you hover the cursor over a sprite thumbnail.

Single Click to Run

To run a block or script, just click on it. (You can still double-click if you prefer.)

To see the value returned by a reporter block, just click on it. (This only works if the reporter block is not embedded in another block.)

Click and hold

As an alternative to the right mouse button, you can click and hold on an object (without moving the cursor) to get its menu. (The feature was added to support a touch-screen or stylus, but is also an easy way for Mac users to get the right-button menu.)

Sticky Comments

A comment can now be "stuck" to a block so that, as you move stacks of blocks around, the comment remains attached. To attach a comment to a block, simply drag the comment on top of the block.

Your "Scratch Projects" folder

The default location for saving projects has changed to a folder called "Scratch Projects" located in your home documents folder. Example projects are stored in a separate folder, called "Projects," in the Scratch application folder. You can easily access either folder via shortcut buttons when you click Open or Save As on the File menu.

Revised Support Materials

The Scratch 1.4 software download includes revised versions of the main Getting Started guide, the Scratch 1.4 Reference Guide, and help screens. You can click Help on the Scratch 1.4 menubar to view these resources.

Translating Scratch

There is a new translation server for the Scratch interface and website. If you would like to contribute a translation, please visit: http://info.scratch.mit.edu/Translation/

LanguagePootle.gif

 

Networked Installation

You can now change the order of arguments in translated blocks. This allows for more natural word order in translated versions. Features have been added to make it easier to configure Scratch for use in schools and other networked settings.

  • There are separate shortcuts on the open/save dialogs for user projects and sample projects
  • The user's home folder can be set (e.g. to a folder on a network drive)
  • Setting "visible drives" now prevents users from navigating up the directory hierarchy
  • Sharing can be disabled
  • Scratch can be configured to upload projects through a web proxy

See the Networked Installation page for details.
 

Looking for Your Old Scratch Projects?

Q: Where are my old Scratch projects?

A: They are where you previously saved them. If you're not sure where you saved your projects, look in the "Projects" folder in the Scratch folder.

Q: Where is the Scratch folder?

A: On Windows, it is usually in the "Program Files" folder on your C: drive.
On Mac OS, it is usually in the Applications folder with the name of the version (e.g., "Scratch 1.3" folder).