The CodeLab encourages visitors to get actively involved in programming, with no prior knowledge of the subject required. Three interactive stations have been designed to help familiarise people with fundamental programming concepts through play: a program developed as a sequence of simple basic commands, loops and branches, variables or subroutines used to construct complex program structures. The stations, which build on one another, can be used by several visitors at a time. Users can start off at a level suited to their own capabilities and proceed from there.
49 waving cats provide an impressive introduction to the concept of programming. Visitors can select from a wide range of programming modules to lay down a sequence of commands designed to set the cats in motion. The finished program is then scanned and checked to ensure that the syntax is correct. If the command sequence is correct, the cats execute the respective program, waving and turning.
Up to four players use coloured code blocks to develop programs with which to steer a virtual turtle through the maze on the multi-touch board. There are three game levels as well as an expert mode. Visitors have to grapple with a more advanced programming concept in each of the levels.
The figure of the turtle is far from being a random choice: it was originally used in the Logo programming language for children. Now various turtles, including a Java Turtle and Python Turtle, provide an introduction to programming.
Mini-programming environments at four programming stations offer small games and tutorials to help visitors learn the basics of programming. The selection of apps and tutorials changes at regular intervals.