From what I’ve seen so far, the newly released VEXcode Blocks application is incredible. Vex has come a long way fast. After last year’s struggles, VEXcode is a pleasant surprise. It has a professional feel, not clunky or full of obvious bugs. It doesn’t feel incomplete either, it has built-in tutorials, an extensive help system with meaningful information for each block, and many sample projects. The Vex IQ and V5 versions are almost identical, which will make programming the easiest part of migrating from IQ to EDR.
There is also a feature that allows you to create a drivetrain with a built-in gyro. I haven’t tested it on a real robot yet, but I’m going to assume that it will work much better than encoder based turning functions like those built into Modkit. If it works as it should, then I wonder if there is any reason left for teaching PID. With Cortex, the main reason students wanted to learn PID was to get their lift to go to and stay at a specific location. (V5 smart motors alleviated the need for that.) Once they learned PID for their lifts, then they could apply the same algorithm to get the robot to drive straight, with the help of a gyro. Now if that is taken care of by this new gyro-drivetrain feature, is there any compelling reason for them to learn PID?
In a broader sense, I’m wondering how this will impact text-based programming for Vex in general. Learning a text-based language is a lot of work and takes time. Whereas using the blocks will be like instant gratification. This will be a game-changer. Programming should no longer be an obstacle for any team.