Edbot and Edbot Dream

Clive's Blog

Hi. I'm Clive Haworth. I'm the CEO of Robots in Schools and I spend some of my time developing the Edbot Software that lets you code your Edbot and Edbot Dream in Scratch, Python, JavaScript and more.

Chromebooks now supported!

The Edbot Software is the essential connection that makes your Edbot or Edbot Dream programmable in Scratch, Python and many other coding languages. The unique features of the software make it ideal for educational establishments as well as home use… and it now runs on Chromebooks!

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The Edbot Software 5.1 is rolling out on Windows, Mac, Linux (including Pi) and Chromebook. The Chromebook version is implemented as an Android app so your Chromebook will need to support Android. Fortunately most modern Chromebooks do. We used the Acer Chromebook R11 for testing, which is typical of school environments.

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We’ve kept the familiar look and feel you get on the other platforms too with a few minor differences:

  • Scrollbars in Android auto hide, so it isn’t always immediately obvious there is more scrollable content.

  • Android doesn’t support different cursor (pointer) shapes, for example when hovering over the window divider to resize the messages pane, or the robot name to expand the robot pane. The functionality is still there, it’s just there isn’t any indication to the user! We’ll look at alternatives for this in due course.

  • You cannot force the window to always be on top, so that option is not available.

  • No file save dialog is available, so the Scratch updater target project is the same as the source project.

The Edbot Software now runs on Windows, Mac, Linux (including Raspberry Pi) and Android / Chromebooks. The software is truly cross-platform compatible. For example you can run in client mode on a Chromebook and connect to an Edbot server running on Windows or even Raspberry Pi!

Visit the Edbot Software page for links to the Chromebook version on Google's Play Store. In addition you’ll need to install a Chrome app called the Edbot Chromebook Helper available from the Chrome Web Store. This little helper is required to forward network traffic to the Edbot Software on Chromebooks. Don’t worry if you forget, the Edbot Software checks to make sure it’s there when it starts up.

Be sure to upgrade all platforms to the latest version too. Previous versions of the Edbot Software used UDP port 57813 for network discovery. The new version uses mDNS with the standard UDP port 5353. The mDNS protocol underlies popular discovery services such as Apple’s Bonjour and the open source Avahi. Moving to this standard protocol means the existing Edbot Software platforms can seemlessly integrate with the Chromebook version. You may need to check your network security setup to allow mDNS broadcasts.

As the Chromebook version is a new platform there will inevitably be a few issues to iron out. We’ve occasionally noticed issues with the Bluetooth not connecting on Chromebooks - the Bluetooth system seems to go to sleep! The workaround for now is to quit the Edbot Software, toggle the Bluetooth off and on, then restart the Edbot Software and all should be well.

Happy coding!

John CarterComment