Skip to content

fredoverflow/karel

master
Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?
Code

😕 Brauchst du Hilfe beim Installieren in Windows?
📺 Dann schau dir Karel The Robot installieren in Windows an!

hangTheLampions

Table of contents

  1. Background
  2. Getting started
  3. Language reference
  4. Keyboard shortcuts

Background

Karel The Robot is a simple teaching environment for imperative programming basics. The original idea was developed in the 1970s by Richard Pattis at Stanford University:

In the 1970s, a Stanford graduate student named Rich Pattis decided that it would be easier to teach the fundamentals of programming if students could somehow learn the basic ideas in a simple environment free from the complexities that characterize most programming languages.

Pattis

In sophisticated languages like Java, there are so many details that learning these details often becomes the focus of the course. When that happens, the much more critical issues of problem solving tend to get lost in the shuffle. By starting with Karel, you can concentrate on solving problems from the very beginning. And because Karel encourages imagination and creativity, you can have quite a lot of fun along the way.

This project started in 2012 due to dissatisfaction with the available Karel environments. Since then, thousands of German university students have been introduced to the basics of imperative programming via this project.

Getting started

😕 Brauchst du Hilfe beim Installieren in Windows?
📺 Dann schau dir Karel The Robot installieren in Windows an!

Please take the time to read the following instructions carefully. Most problems stem from skipping or misunderstanding important steps.

Windows & macOS

  1. Visit https://adoptium.net

  2. Click "Latest release" button to download Java installer

  3. Wait for download to finish

  4. Open the Downloads folder (via Windows Explorer or Finder/Spotlight, respectively) and double-click OpenJDK... to start Java installer

  5. Click Next, Next, Install, Finish

  6. Click karel.jar to download Karel
    If Karel fails to download, continue with ⚠️ Troubleshooting Windows, or ⚠️ Troubleshooting macOS

  7. Open the Downloads folder and double-click karel.jar to start Karel
    If Karel fails to start, continue with ⚠️ Troubleshooting Windows, or ⚠️ Troubleshooting macOS

⚠️ Troubleshooting Windows

Steps 1 through 5 (install Java) worked, but steps 6 (download Karel) or 7 (start Karel) failed? Then read on.

  • Move your mouse over the script below
  • A button appears in the top right corner of the script
  • Click that button to copy the script
cd Downloads
if exist karel.jar.zip erase karel.jar.zip
curl -o karel.jar https://raw.githubusercontent.com/fredoverflow/karel/release/karel.jar
echo java -version > karel.cmd
echo java -jar karel.jar >> karel.cmd
karel.cmd
  • Press the Windows key (the key on the bottom left with the Windows logo ⊞ on it)
  • Write cmd and confirm with Enter
  • A terminal appears
  • Right-click anywhere inside that terminal to paste and execute the script

From now on, simply double-click karel.cmd in the Downloads folder to start Karel.
Feel free to move karel.jar and karel.cmd to the Desktop or any other folder you prefer.

⚠️ Troubleshooting macOS

Steps 1 through 5 (install Java) worked, but steps 6 (download Karel) or 7 (start Karel) failed? Then read on.

  • Move your mouse over the script below
  • A button appears in the top right corner of the script
  • Click that button to copy the script
cd Downloads
curl -o karel.jar https://raw.githubusercontent.com/fredoverflow/karel/release/karel.jar
chmod +x karel.jar
echo java -version > karel.sh
echo java -jar karel.jar >> karel.sh
chmod +x karel.sh
./karel.sh
  • Press Command⌘ Space (or click the magnifying glass 🔍 in the top right corner of the screen) to open Spotlight
  • Write terminal and confirm with Enter
  • A terminal appears
  • Press Command⌘ V to paste and execute the script

From now on, simply double-click karel.sh in the Downloads folder to start Karel.
Feel free to move karel.jar and karel.sh to the Desktop or any other folder you prefer.

🐧 Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian...

sudo apt install default-jdk
cd Downloads
curl -o karel.jar https://raw.githubusercontent.com/fredoverflow/karel/release/karel.jar
chmod +x karel.jar
echo java -version > karel.sh
echo java -jar -Dsun.java2d.opengl=True karel.jar >> karel.sh
chmod +x karel.sh
./karel.sh

From now on, simply double-click karel.sh in the Downloads folder to start Karel.
Feel free to move karel.jar and karel.sh to the Desktop or any other folder you prefer.

Autosave

Your code is automatically saved to a new file each time you click the start button. The save folder is named karel, and it is located in your home directory. The full path is displayed in the title bar.

Language reference

Primitive commands

Shortcut Command Meaning
F1 moveForward(); Karel moves one square forward in the direction he currently faces.
Fails if a wall blocks the way.
F2 turnLeft(); Karel turns 90° to the left.
F3 turnAround(); Karel turns 180° around.
F4 turnRight(); Karel turns 90° to the right.
F5 pickBeeper(); Karel picks a beeper from the square he currently stands on.
Fails if there is no beeper.
F6 dropBeeper(); Karel drops a beeper onto the square he currently stands on.
Fails if there already is a beeper.

Custom commands

Sometimes the same sequence of commands appears multiple times:

void roundTrip()
{
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();

    turnAround();

    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
}

You can extract such a sequence of commands into a new, custom command:

void moveAcrossWorld()
{
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
    moveForward();
}

and use it just like a primitive command:

void roundTrip()
{
    moveAcrossWorld();
    turnAround();
    moveAcrossWorld();
}

Deciding when a sequence of commands is worth extracting and choosing a good name for the custom command are essential development skills you will acquire over time.

Repeat

Instead of writing the same sequence of commands multiple times:

void dance()
{
    moveForward();
    turnLeft();
    moveForward();
    turnLeft();
    moveForward();
    turnLeft();
    moveForward();
    turnLeft();
}

you can use repeat and only write it once:

void dance()
{
    repeat (4)
    {
        moveForward();
        turnLeft();
    }
}

If/else

Sometimes you only want to do something if some condition holds:

if (onBeeper())
{
    pickBeeper();
}

Optionally, you can also specify what to do in case the condition does not hold:

if (onBeeper())
{
    pickBeeper();
}
else
{
    dropBeeper();
}

Note that conditions are only checked when control flow actually reaches them (when the corresponding line is highlighted in the code editor). Conditions are not periodically checked in the background! In large programs with lots of potentially contradicting conditionals, such periodic background checks would quickly lead to incomprehensible program behavior.

Primitive conditions

Shortcut Condition Meaning
F7 onBeeper() Karel checks whether a beeper is on the square he currently stands on.
F8 beeperAhead() Karel checks whether a beeper is on the square immediately in front of him.
F9 leftIsClear() Karel checks whether no wall is between him and the square to his left.
F10 frontIsClear() Karel checks whether no wall is between him and the square in front of him.
F11 rightIsClear() Karel checks whether no wall is between him and the square to his right.

If/else if

An else with nothing but another if inside:

if (leftIsClear())
{
    turnLeft();
}
else
{
    if (rightIsClear())
    {
        turnRight();
    }
}

can be simplified by leaving out the block between the else and if:

if (leftIsClear())
{
    turnLeft();
}
else if (rightIsClear())
{
    turnRight();
}

Note that without the else, Karel might turn left and then immedately turn right again, given frontIsClear() originally held. The else prevents the second if from executing in case the first condition was already true.

Not !

An if/else with an empty first block:

if (onBeeper())
{
}
else
{
    dropBeeper();
}

can be simplified by negating the condition with a leading !:

if (!onBeeper())
{
    dropBeeper();
}

And &&

An if with nothing but another if inside:

if (frontIsClear())
{
    if (beeperAhead())
    {
        moveForward();
        pickBeeper();
    }
}

can be simplified by combining both conditions with &&:

if (frontIsClear() && beeperAhead())
{
    moveForward();
    pickBeeper();
}

Or ||

An if/else if with identical blocks:

if (!frontIsClear())
{
    turnRight();
}
else if (beeperAhead())
{
    turnRight();
}

can be simplified by combining both conditions with ||:

if (!frontIsClear() || beeperAhead())
{
    turnRight();
}

Summary compound conditions

Condition Meaning
!a holds if a does not hold (and vice versa)
a && b holds if both a and b hold
a || b holds if a or b (or both) hold
a || !b && c a || ((!b) && c)

While

if checks the condition and then executes the block at most once:

void moveForwardSafely()
{
    if (frontIsClear())
    {
        moveForward(); // This line is executed 0 or 1 times
    }
}

while re-checks the condition after the block is executed:

void moveToWall()
{
    while (frontIsClear())
    {
        moveForward(); // This line is executed 0 to 9 times
    }
}

Keyboard shortcuts

Windows Effect Macintosh
F1 moveForward(); F1
F2 turnLeft(); F2
F3 turnAround(); F3
F4 turnRight(); F4
F5 pickBeeper(); F5
F6 dropBeeper(); F6
F7 onBeeper() F7
F8 beeperAhead() F8
F9 leftIsClear() F9
F10 frontIsClear() F10
F11 rightIsClear() F11
F12 start
step into
reset
F12
Tab
Enter
auto-indent Tab
Enter
Ctrl Space auto-complete Command Space
Ctrl Alt R rename command Command Option R
Ctrl D delete line Command D
Ctrl C copy Command C
Ctrl X cut Command X
Ctrl V paste Command V
Ctrl Z undo Command Z
Ctrl Y redo Command Y

About

Karel The Robot

Topics

Resources

Stars

Watchers

Forks

Releases

No releases published

Packages

No packages published

Languages