As the story begins with my eight year old daughter wcame aving a green sheet of paper with some elementary school-like print on it in front of my face one evening after work Career Day was coming and they were looking for volunteer parents to talk about how many feed bags they change a day or how they avoid amputation each hour with all the heavy equipment they wrestle with. While my job isn’t as cool as say, the lady that screws the heads on the Ninja Turtle dolls or the guy that used to spar with Buster Douglas, I wanted to attend. For that I needed an angle. I had an idea! Video games are popular with kids, and what better way to misrepresent myself than to pose as a Nintendo game designer in front of a room full of wide-eyed Sponge-Bob fans with hands just big enough to wrap around an XBox controller? I would be considered the “Cool Dad” that builds games and earn about 100,000+ cool points for my daughter. The details of the big idea was to programmatically control a popular video game character (Mario is the last popular video-icon I can remember from my gaming days) with a syntax simple enough to be spoken and still make sense. (Egg-head info: Kinda sounds similar to GSpec’s requirements in that it is a sort of DSL.) The EPL engine was born.

I’m still deciding on the best name for my little kiddie programming language project which is now prominently displayed in the right sidebar Box widget. I started referring to it as EPL but later changed my mind, the label on the file is mario-programming, and finally I’m starting to get used to the name “Jump!” Whatever it’s called you should know that it’s now available for your enjoyment. It requires the Java runtime version 5.0 or higher because I’m a bone head that doesn’t know how to cater to the average user with an earlier version. Actually that’s a typical problem with most programmers. We tend to forget that our users don’t have machines identical to ours with pre-installed software so we bolt all kinds of unnecessary requirements onto our products unknowingly only to learn about them when we finally deploy or ship our software. Still I’m stuck on the name. I haven’t mentioned much about it because I don’t want any particular name to stick until I’m certain what it should be called. I should put out a poll to get some feedback. Then I’m afraid any such poll would reflect the unpopularity of my site rather than offer any type of useful answer. Here’s some name suggestions that I’m considering:

  • Jump! : Currently my favorite because it sounds kid friendly and colors a nice picture of the product.
  • Baby Talk : Not too shabby but bears too much similarity to Smalltalk.
  • Junior Script : Also not too bad but sounds too much like JavaScript while the actual language looks more like BASIC.
  • Junior BASIC : Paints a better picture of the syntax but uses the overplayed word BASIC and sounds a little redundant.
  • Cliff Script : Fits my tremendous ego better and sounds better than any of the above. Only it doesn’t represent the language clearly.
  • RPG for kids : I threw this in just because I like RPG programming. Don’t ask why because RPG is a ugly syntax. I guess I like it because that’s how I started my programming career. I’m off topic and it’s a dumb name but consider it anywayz…
  • K++ : That name literally just popped into my head after other stoopid ideas like Baby-Python, RubyKid, and SchemeForTots.
  • ABC : While we’re on letters why not consider the basics?
  • Baby.Net : I was thinking Baby-Visual-Basic version 0.9 but my tongue got tied so this is the next best dumb idea.
  • Waah : Dumb, just dumb. Nevermind!
  • First Basic : I think I’ll stop here because the list is just getting longer and dumber.
    1. You get the idea right? I want something that speaks to kids, entertains them, and brainwashes them to become programmers as I once was by my old Intellivision II computer attachment. Then I can recruit them in my army of next generation developers and collectively we will rule the world! If you have any clever ideas or preferences or if you just wanna chime in after playing the dumb game language shout out in the square below.

3 thoughts on “Jump!

  1. A few of the kids at career day referred to it as “Dumb”. I then considered the name, “Dumb Programming”. But, once again, it doesn’t accurately describe what the language is about. (I couldn’t draw a corollary between the language and those who have trouble speaking.) My daughter refers to it as “That Game Where You Made Mario Jump” partly because she has trouble with the extrapolated version of it’s original name EPL and partly because the jumping is what stood out in her mind. (Without jumping there really isn’t much more to the program if you think about it.) That’s the name that stuck with me but it needed to be shortened slightly. Hence the title “Jump!” I thought about showing it to the neighborhood kids but they are a little older and know the difference between a real version of Mario Bros. and somebody’s pathetic hack. So to save embarassment I approximated their response in the paragraph below. (Note this is an approximation where the real response may vary only slightly.)

    I really like you programming language, Sir! It makes me want to start learning Java right now! I’m going to ask my mommy if we could go to Barnes & Noble right now to buy Java Game Development 3rd Edition! From now on I will sit up straight in Math class and refrain from launching spitballs at my buddy, for you have shown us all the light to success! After I launch my career at a Fortune 500 company I will look back on this day and remember you with your innovative approach towards reaching kids hearts. I will also not forget to mention your name in my acceptance speech for winning the Nobel prize after my future algorithm aggregates all of the data from the folding @ home project assembling a cure for all genetic diseases. Thank you very much Mr. Programmer-Father-of-the-Girl-Down-the-Street-From-Me and keep bangin’!

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