If you’ve ever wanted to learn to code but been too intimidated to start, Grasshopper offers the gentlest of introductions, living up to its promise of being "the coding app for beginners". The app is simple enough for a preteen but is aimed at adults, and it "gamifies" the process of learning basic JavaScript. Grasshopper — launched in April by Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental products — consists of guided lessons that you can do in a few minutes of spare time between tasks. The app tries to ensure you will make a daily habit of these lessons, offering to send you a reminder daily, every two days, and so on — reminiscent of the learning approach of language apps. And that’s essentially what coding is: learning a language to instruct a computer to do something. You build up from the ABCs to complex paragraphs by learning the words and syntax that apply. The first lesson in Grasshopper is a simple recreation of a country flag using colourful blocks (drawing shapes). After...

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