Processing

Conditions

Conditional instructions are essential for programming. They make it possible to formulate case differentiations, such as:

Blocks

if blocks

The simplest condition is an if block:

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When it is executed, the value of the variable x is compared to 100. If it is larger, then “What a large number!” is output. Otherwise, nothing happens.

if do blocks

It is also possible to indicate that something should happen when the condition is false, as in this example:

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As in the previous block, “What a large number!” is output when x > 100. Otherwise “It's not very big’ is output.

An if block may have a do section, but not more than one.

if do else if blocks

It is also possible to test multiple conditions with a single if block, by adding do else clauses:

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The block checks first whether x > 100, and outputs “What a large number!” if this is the case. If this is not the case, it then checks whether x = 42. If so, then it outputs “That is my lucky number!”. Otherwise, nothing happens.

An if block can have any number of if do sections. The conditions are evaluated from top to bottom, until one of them is fulfilled, or until there are no more conditions left.

if do else if do else blocks

if blocks can have both if do and else if sections:

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The else if section guarantees that an action is executed, even if none of the previous conditions is true.

An else if section can also occur after any number of if do sections, including zero, which would then be a completely normal if do block.

Block modification

Only the simple if block and the if do block appear in the tool list:

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To add if do and else clauses, click the (+) symbol. The (-) symbol can be used to remove else if clauses:

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Note that the shapes of the blocks permit any number of else if sub-blocks to be added, but only up to one if block.

 

Logic

Boolean logic is a simple mathematical system with two values:

Logic blocks in ROBO Pro Coding are generally there to control conditions and loops.

Here is an example:

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If the value of x is not greater than 100, then the condition is false, and “It’s not very big.” is output. If the value of x is not greater than 100, then the condition is false and “It’s not very big.” is output. Boolean values can also be saved in variables and transmitted to functions, just like numbers, texts, and list values.

Blocks

If a block expects a Boolean value as an input, then no input will be interpreted as false. Non-Boolean values cannot be inserted directly where Boolean values are expected, although it is possible (but not advisable) to save a non-Boolean value in a variable and then insert this into the condition input. This method is not recommended, and its behavior can change in future versions of ROBO Pro Coding.

Values

An individual block with a drop down list that either indicates true or false can be used to access a Boolean value:

Comparative operators

There are six comparative operators. Two inputs are entered into each (normally two numbers), and the comparative operator returns true or false, depending on how the inputs are compared to one another.

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The six operators are: equal, not equal, less than, greater than, less than or equal, greater than or equal.

Logical operators

The and block returns true if and only if its two input values are true.

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The or block returns true if at least one of its two input values is true.

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do

The not block converts a Boolean input into its opposite. For example, the result of:

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is false

If there is no input, then the value true is assumed, so that the following block will generate the value false:

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However, leaving an input empty is not recommended.

Three-part operator

The three-part operator acts like a miniature if do block. It uses three input values The first Boolean condition to be tested is the first input value, the second input value is the value returned if the test is true, and the third input value is the value returned if the test is false. In the following example, the variable coloris set to red if the variable x is less than 10, otherwise the variable coloris set to green.

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A three-part block can always be replaced by an if do block. The following two examples are just the same.   

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Loops

The “Controller” area contains blocks that control whether other blocks placed inside them are executed. There are two kinds of control blocks: if do blocks (which are described on a separate page) and blocks that control how often the action inside them is executed. The latter are called loops, since the action inside them, called the loop body or body may be repeated multiple times. Each run of a loop is called an iteration.

Blocks for creating loops

repeat continuously

The repeat continuously block executes the code in the body until the program ends.

repeat

The repeat block executes the code in the body as many times ad indicated. The following block, for example, will output “Hello!” ten times:

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repeat as long as

Imagine a game in which a player throws a dice and adds up all of the values shown, as long as the total is less than 30. The following blocks implement this game:

  1. A variable named total contains an initial value of 0.
  2. The loop starts with a check whether total is less than 30. If so, the blocks in the body are run.
  3. A random integer between 1 and 6 is generated (to simulate a dice value) and a variable named diced is saved.
  4. The thrown (“diced”) number is output.
  5. The variable total is increased by the number thrown, or diced.
  6. Once the end of the loop is reached, the controller goes back to step 2.

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After the loop is ended, the controller runs through all of the following blocks (not shown). In the example, the loop ends after a certain number of random integers between 1 and 6 have been output, and the variable total then has the value of the total of these numbers, which is at least 30.

repeat until

repeat as long as loops repeat their body as long as a condition is fulfilled. Repeat until loops are similar, with the difference that they repeat the body until a certain condition is fulfilled. The following blocks are equivalent to the previous example, because the loop runs until total is greater than or equal to 30.

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count from to

The count from to loop increases the value of a variable, starting with an initial value and ending with a second value, and in steps from a third value, whereby the body is executed once for each value of the variable. The following program, for example, outputs the numbers 1, 3, and 5.

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As the following two loops show, which each output the numbers 5, 3 and 1, this first value can be greater than the second. The behavior is the same, regardless of whether the incremental amount (third value) is positive or negative.

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for each

The for each block is similar to the count from to loop, but instead of the loop variables in a numerical sequence, it uses the values from a list in sequence. The following program outputs each element in the list “alpha,” “beta,” “gamma”:

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Break out blocks

Most loops are run until the abort condition (for repeat blocks) is fulfilled, or until all values for the loop variable have been taken (for count with and for each loops). Two rarely needed, yet occasionally used blocks offer additional options for controlling loop behavior. They can be used with any kind of loop, even though the following example shows their use in the for each loop.

continue with next iteration

continue with next iteration causes the remaining blocks in the loop body to be skipped, and the next iteration of the loop to begin.

The following program outputs “alpha” during the first iteration of the loop. During the second iteration, the block continue with next iteration is executed, causing the output of “beta” to be skipped. In the last iteration, “gamma” is printed.

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Break out

The break out block makes it possible to prematurely exit a loop. The following program outputs “alpha” for the first iteration, then breaks out of the loop during the second iteration when the loop variable equals “beta.” The third point in the list is never reached.

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Mathematics

The blocks in the mathematics category are used to activate calculations. The results of the calculations can be used, for example, as values for variables. Most mathematic blocks relate to general mathematical calculations, and should be self-explanatory.

Blocks

Facts and Figures

Use the number block to enter any number into your program, or assign this number to a variable as a value. This program assigns the number 12 to the variable age :

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Simple calculations

This block has the structure value - operator - value. The available operators are +-÷× and ^. The operator can be selected via the drop down menu. It can be applied directly to numbers, or to values of variables. Example:

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This block outputs the result 144 (12^2).

Specialized calculations

This block applies the type of calculation selected from the drop down menu to the number behind it or the variable behind it. The available operations are:

e here is Euler’s number. This block takes the square root of 16 and sets the variable to the result.

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Trigonometric functions

This block works similarly to the block described above, with the difference that the trigonometric functions sine, cosine, tangent, and their inverse functions are used. The number indicated or the value of the variable indicated is therefore inserted into the function selected in the drop down menu, and the result can then be processed in the program. In addition, there is also the block arctan2 of X: ... Y: ..., which makes it possible to use two real numbers (to be entered as X and Y) to output a function value for the arctan2 in a range of 360°.

Frequently used constants

This block works similarly to the number block, however you do not enter the numerical value here yourself. Instead, frequently used constants (such as π) are saved here as defaults. The constants can be selected via the drop down menu.

Remainder of a division

The remainder of ... block is used to output the remainder of a division. This program assigns the variable remainder to the remainder of the devision of 3:2, or 1:

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Round

The round ... block can be used to round an entered decimal number of the value of an entered variable to a whole number. You can choose from three options in the drop down menu:

Evaluating lists

You can use the ... of the list block to output 

. You can select all of these options using the drop down menu for the block:

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Constrain input values

The constrain ... from ... to block allows you to constrain input values to a certain interval. Before an input value is processed, a test is conducted to check whether it is in the defined interval. There are three options for handling an entered value:

In this example, the block is used to constrain the value for the variable speed to the speeds supported by the motor:

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Generate random values

The two blocks random number from ... to... and random break  output a random value. The random number from ... to...  block outputs a number from the defined interval. The block random break, in contrast, outputs a value between 0.0 (and may include this number) and 1.0 (may not include this number).

Text

Texts Examples of texts are:

“Thing 1”
“12. March 2010”
“” (empty text)
Text can contain letters (capital or lower case), numbers, punctuation marks, other symbols, and spaces.

Blocks

Creating text

The following block creates the text “Hello” and saves it in the variable named greeting:

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The block create text with combines the value of the variable greeting and the new text “world” to create the text “Helloworld.” Please note that there is no space between the two texts, since there was none in the original texts.

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To increase the number of text inputs, click the (+) symbol. To remove the last output, click the (-) symbol.

Changing text

The block to ... append adds the entered text to the given variable. In this example, it changes the value for the variable greeting from “Hello” to “Hello, there!”:

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Text length

The length of block counts the number of characters (letters, numbers, etc.) contained in a text. The length of “We are #1!” is 12, and the length of the empty text is 0.

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Check for empty text

This is empty block checks whether the entered text is empty (the length is 0). The result is true in the first example, and false in the second example.

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Search for text

These blocks can be used to check whether a text is present in another text, and if so, where. For example, this block checks for the first occurrence of “e” in “Hello,” and the result is 2:

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This one checks for the last occurrence of “e” in Hello, which is also 2:

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Regardless of whether the first or last occurrence is selected, this block delivers the result 0, since “Hello” does not contain a “z.”

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Extracting text

Extracting a single character

This returns “b,” the second letter in “abcde”:

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This returns “d,” the next to last letter in “abcde”:

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This returns “a,” the first letter in “abcde”:

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This returns “e,” the last letter in “abcde”:

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This contains each of the 5 letters in “abcde” with the same probability:

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None of them changes the text from which these results are extracted.

Extracting a text range

The in text ... get substring from block can be used to extract a text range that either starts with:

and ends with:

In the following example, “abc” is extracted:

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Change text capitalization

This block generates a version of the input text either written in

The result of the following block is “HELLO”:

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Non-alphabetic characters are not affected. Please note that this block does not work on text in languages without capital and lower case letters, like Chinese.

Trimming (removing) spaces

The following block removes spaces, depending on the settings in the drop down menu (small triangle):

The result of the following block is “Hi you.”

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Spaces in the middle of the text are not affected.

Print text

The print block causes the input value in the console window to be printed:

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It is never sent to the printer, although the name might seem to indicate this.

Output text with formatting

You can use the formatted text block to output texts with formatted variable content. All place holders {} in the text are replaced with the content of the variables appended after the text. Formatting can be entered into the brackets. The formatting {:.1f}, for instance, outputs only the first decimal place in the variable t.

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File

Data structures

Lists

As in everyday language, in ROBO Pro Coding a list is an ordered collection of elements, such as a “to do” list or a shopping list. Elements in a list can be of any type, and the same value can appear in a list multiple times.

Creating a list

create list with

You can use the create list with block to enter the initial values in a new list. In this example, a list of words is created and saved in a variable named letters:

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We designate this list as [“alpha,” “beta,” “gamma”].

This shows the block for creating a list of numbers:

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Here is how to create a list of colors:

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It is less common, but possible to create a list of values of different types:

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Change number of inputs

To change the number of inputs, click or touch the gear symbol. This will open a new window. You can drag element sub-blocks from the left side of the window to the list block on the right side to add a new input:

While the new element in this example is inserted at the bottom, it can be added anywhere. Similarly, element sub-blocks that are not desired can be dragged to the left and out of the list block.

Create list with item

You can use the create list with item block to create a list containing the indicated number of copies of an item. The following blocks, for example, set the variable words on the list [“very,” “very,” “very”].

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Check the length of a list

is empty

The value of an is empty block is true if its input is the empty list, and false if it is anything else. Is this input true? The value of the following block would be false, because the variable color is not empty: It has three items.

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Note how similar this is to the is empty block for text.

Length of

The value of the length of block is the number of elements that are in the list used as the input. The value of the following block would be 3, for instance, since color has three elements:

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The value of the length of block is the number of items in the list used as the input. The value of the following block would be 3, for example, although words consists of three copies of the same text:

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Note how similar this is to the block length of for the text.

Searching for items in a list

These blocks find the position of an item in a list. The following example has a value of 1, because the first occurrence of “very” is at the start of the list of words ([“very,” “very,” “very”]).

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The result of the following is 3, because the last occurrence of “very” in the words is at position 3.

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If the item is not in the list at all, then the result is a value of 0, as in this example:

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These blocks behave the same way as the blocks for finding letters in text.

Getting items from a list

Getting a single element

Remember the definition of the list colors:

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The following block contains the color blue, because it is the second item in the list (starting from the left):

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This one contains green, because it is the second element (starting from the right end):

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This contains the first item, red:

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This contains the last item, yellow:

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This one chooses a random item from the list, with the same probability of returning one of the items red, blue, green or yellow.

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Get and remove an item

You can use the drop down menu to change the block in list ... get to the block in list ... get  and remove, which delivers the same output, but also changes the list:

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this example sets the variable first letter to “alpha” and leaves the remaining letters ([“beta,” “gamma”]) in the list.

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Removing an entry

If you select remove from the drop down menu, the tab at the left of the block will be removed:

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Then, the first item from letter will be removed.

Get a sub-list

The block in list ... get sub-list is similar to the block in list ... get, with the difference that it extracts a sub-list and not an individual item. There are multiple options to enter the start and end of the sub-list: