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Hi to all.

This message has two parts. First an announcement: Butialo
(, a IDE for
programming in Lua for the Sugar OS. Some examples of scripts and
projects using Butialo can be found at

A bit of context. In my country (Uruguay) there is a OLPC like project
running, so every school kid and now most high-school kids (at least in
the public system) has a XO laptop of his own.

On top of that, our research group has been developing and providing a
teaching robotic platform, which provides a XO laptop with wheels and
sensors (for more, or the
wiki at ). Tough
Lua has been used in the innards of the robotic platform for some of
main components from the beginning, for some reason there was never a
proper support for kids programming in Lua directly. Until now the main
language has been TurtleArt, a graphic block oriented language.

So, tough it can double as a general purpose IDE for Lua (err... editor
with a "Run" button), Butialo's main intent is to write programs to
control the Butiá robot: it does discovery of the robot's sensors and
actuators (the robot is a constructive kit), et al. 

The second part is an open question. The target public is kids in the
10-15 age group, that outgrew block-based languages. Has anybody had
experience using Lua as a first imperative language, specially with

I've smoothed some of the things that (i think) can trip a casual user.
For example, blocked out the creation and modification of globals, so
user scripts have to use local variables. Another thing that i was told
(and seems reasonable) is that the table concept is a bit too much, so I
added a "array" data structure, which is basically a table that forces
array consistency (only numeric indexes with no holes, etc). Also, once
a value is put in the array, it will accept only values of that type. It
is implementad as a proxy table obtained trough a global get_array()
function.  Standard tables are of course available, an array is just
something easier to explain. Has anyone more ideas on what can be done
to simplify the life of a kid who just want to do some fun problem
solving? :)

And last but not least, has anyone pointers to Lua teaching material for
kids, or that could serve as a good base? 

Greetings and thanks in advance,