Switching from the Web to a Desktop Program

Posted 9/12/2017

Let's Start Coding has created a program that will be downloaded to your computer and run like a desktop program. Mac and Windows users: you will need this application to continue using your Let's Start Coding kit. Chromebook users can ignore this change.

Don't want to read on? Go directly to the Start page and download the desktop program.


The Most Important Info

The online code editor will stop working at some point in the next 6 months. This is due to a decision made by Google (makers of the Chrome browser), not by Let's Start Coding. More in the details below.

Your kits will still work with the desktop program. You do not have to delete the Chrome extension or uninstall anything from your computer for the desktop program to work

We encourage you to switch to the desktop program as soon as possible for two reasons:

1) We don't know when Google will stop supporting the code editor. Switching now will help you avoid a headache if you wake up one day, excited to code, and find out that you cannot.

2) If the desktop program doesn't work with your computer or IT infrastructure, you can let us know now while you can still use the online code editor. That way we can be working on a solution without bringing your coding to a complete standstill. 


The Changes

When you open the Let's Start Coding desktop program, it will look like a web browser. It is a limited web browser. Here's what you can and can't do.

You can:

  • Access any Let's Start Coding project, lesson, or program just like you're on the website. 
  • Use the 'URL bar' to navigate within www.letsstartcoding.com. For example, if you want to go to www.letsstartcoding.com/learn-blink, you can type that into the 'URL bar' , click enter, and get to that page.
  • You need internet connection to use the desktop program. 
  • You no longer need Google Chrome on your computer to use Let's Start Coding kits.

You cannot (at this time):

  • Navigate to other websites within the Let's Start Coding desktop program.  For example, typing 'www.YouTube.com' into the 'URL bar' of the program will not take you to YouTube. 
  • Open new tabs or windows within the Let's Start Coding desktop program. This means that the links that are supposed to open in a new tab do not work right now. We're working on a solution for this, since it can be nice to have multiple programs open at once. 


The Details

The online code editor relies on a Google Chrome App that you likely installed when you set up your Let's Start Coding kit. That Google Chrome App has a capability to 'talk to' your USB ports. Other browsers, like Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Safari, don't have that capability. 

Last year, Google announced that in early 2018, users on Windows, Mac, and Linux will no longer be able to load Chrome Apps. Chrome OS devices, like Chromebooks, will continue to be supported. Thus, no changes for Chromebook users. 

You can read all of Google's blog post about this transition here: https://blog.chromium.org/2016/08/from-chrome-apps-to-web.html


Share your Thoughts

We want to answer your questions, help you make the swap to the desktop program, and hear what features you'd like to add to the desktop program. Share your thoughts directly with us via the form below.

Thanks for reading!

-The Let's Start Coding Team