How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

How To Make Your Own Extensions In Scratch Using JavaScript [2022 Guide]

By Team BrightChamps
Home » Block Based Coding » Scratch » How To Make Your Own Extensions In Scratch Using JavaScript [2022 Guide]

It’s a wonderful experience to create projects in Scratch since you may utilize a range of tools and features to make your designing and coding rewarding. While exploring Scratch, you may have noticed the “Add an extension” feature. If not, don’t worry; in this blog, we’ll look through Extensions in more detail.

 

What are Scratch Extensions? 

An extension is a category that you can add to your project to make it more advanced. It enables you to connect to information on the internet, use external hardware, and so on.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript
Image 1: Add an extension icon

When you click on Add an Extension icon in Scratch you will be directed to choose an Extension section, where you can choose from available extensions.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript
Image 2: Available extensions in Scratch 3.0

Different pre-built extensions are Music, Pen, Video Sensing, Text-to-Speech, Translate, Makey Makey, micro: bit, LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, LEGO BOOST, LEGO Education WeDo 2.0, and Go Direct Force & Acceleration. When you choose an extension, you will get the blocks related to that extension on Block Palette.

Image 3: Pen Extension

How to Create Your Extension in Scratch

You can make your own if the feature you want isn’t available in pre-built extensions. Let’s take it further and look at how to create one.

Note: Extensions of Scratch are developed using JavaScript Environment. 

Follow the steps below to create your extension in Scratch.

Step 1: Setting up of Development Environment 

(a) Installing Git and node.js 

Download both from your favorite browser and then install them. 

Note: Node.js is an open-source, back-end JavaScript runtime environment. Git is required so that we can clone the scratch-gui and scratch-vm projects. 

GUI stands for Graphical User Interface; VM stands for Virtual Machine.

(b) Create a folder and name it descriptively (for example myScratchExtensions) 

(c) Then open the Node.js command prompt. Go into the myScratchExtensions folder by copying its path in the command prompt (using cd). 

Note: cd stands for change directory.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

Once you are inside your folder, clone the GitHub repository scratch-gui by using the command and link: 

git clone https://github.com/llk/scratch-gui 

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

It will start cloning the scratch-gui project. After this process is completed, you will see a folder named scratch-gui inside your myScratchExtensions folder. 

Similarly, we have to clone the project: scratch-vm using the command and link: 

git clone https://github.com/llk/scratch-vm

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

When this is completed, you will have another folder inside myScratchExtensions named scratch-vm. 

Note: scratch-vm is a library responsible for running and maintaining the computer programs created using Scratch blocks. scratch-gui provides the interface for creating projects.

Go into these folders individually to install the packages using the npm install command. 

(i) First go into the scratch-vm folder and type the command npm install.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

(ii) Once installation is done, type another command npm link. This will link the two folders.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

(iii) Repeat the above two steps for scratch-gui folder.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript
How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

(iii) Next use the command: npm start and it will start the scratch service. 

Remember: npm is Node Package Manager for JavaScript programming; it helps in installing various modules. 

It is basically an online database consisting of packages, therefore, called as npm registry. 

After completing the compilation, go to http://localhost:8601/ on your browser and see the magic! 

Note: localhost means you are establishing a connection with your own computer. This link is not connected to the internet. So, you won’t be able to share or load your projects.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

Step 2: Implementing and Creating Your Extension 

Go to: scratch-vm folder – src –  extensions 

Create a folder for storing files related to your extension in the extensions folder. I have named this folder as scratch3_myExtension.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

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In this file, first, create a class, and then, code is to be written to register the extension. 

Let’s create an Extension class in index.js:

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

Here, we have created a class named Scratch2myExtension. getInfo() is a method that returns an object that is used for rendering the extension and blocks. 

In the get info method following terms are used: 

  • id: A unique internal name of Extension 
  • name: This will be displayed on the Scratch’s section of Choose an Extension. 
  • blocks: It contains the new objects/blocks of the new extension 
  • opcode: It is the method that is called to operate the block (here, writeText). 
  • blockType: Describes the block type. Here we have used.COMMAND. 
  • text: It contains the description of the block. 
  • arguments: It is an object that contains fields for different arguments. (Here, TEXT is an argument containing fields type and default value) 
  • menus(optional): It is used to create a drop-down menu for blocks. 

next go to scratch-vm folder – src –  extension support – extension-manager.js

In extension-manager.js, add your extension’s path.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

Working on the GUI 

Create a background image and icon you want to display for your extension.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript
Background Image
How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript
Extension Icon

Then go to: scratch-gui folder – src – lib – libraries – extensions

Store your images in this folder. Also, here you will find a file named index.js; open this file. Type these commands in that file to import your images: 

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

In addition to this, add the following code at the end of this file.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

Name is the name of your extension in this sample code, and the default message is the message that will be displayed on the menu so that you can be creative with it.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

When you click on your Extension, you will see your block on Block Palette, as shown below.

How To Make Your Own Extension In Scratch Using JavaScript

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Conclusion 

Cheers! You’ve just learned how to design your Extensions in Scratch using JavaScript. I’m curious how you employ this information to produce your astounding extensions.

Happy creating and generating ideas!

Learn Scratch at BrightChamps with its specially designed curriculum that makes learning programming easy for students in Grades 1-12.

 

BrightChamps also teaches a variety of other programs that help kids build a foundation in computer programming through activities, interactive lessons, and other means.

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