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Running Scratch Projects on Smartphones or other Mobile Devices is a highly demanded feature. However, implementing this is not easy because Scratch 2.0 with its Player requires Flash to run. Neither iOS nor Android officially supports any type of Flash.
Players that use html5 technology, such as the Sulfurous Player, Phosphorus Player, or the upcoming player in Scratch 3.0, make it possible to run scratch projects on almost all mobile platforms such as Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile.
Although currently, Scratch Jr exists as a app on both Android and IOS. It is designed for children from 5 - 7 , and contains a very simplistic version of Scratch.
Why Scratch on Mobile?
The majority of the young Scratch userbase use mobile devices quite frequently. Many are interested in writing apps for their device.
Typical Scratch projects use a small screen resolution and are not particularly long, which fits the criteria of a smartphone app very well.
No Sensor Access
Scratch, unlike Pocket Code for example, currently does not have any blocks for reading data from the sensors in mobile devices. As an example, built-in tilt-sensors (gyro and accelerometer) are often used to let the user control the game by moving or tilting their device. For example, users can steer an in-game character like this. Scratch programmers would have to go without using these types of interaction. Another big caveat is the lack of a physical keyboard on most mobile devices. Unless the user can connect an external keyboard, there is no way to press specific keys while running a project.
Usability of Scratch Editor
The Scratch editor was designed for use on reasonably high-resolution pc displays, which makes it more or less impossible to use on any mobile device.
Due to safety concerns, Scratch does not offer any networking except for cloud variables. While this is a positive aspect regarding security, it makes it completely impossible to connect with any other networking-capable programs/apps.
Running Scratch 2.0 on mobile devices with flash
Scratch 2.0 is based on Flash, which is no longer supported on Android and iOS devices. However, it is possible to install older versions of Flash on Android and then run websites with Flash content with a third party browser such as the Dolphin-Browser.
- This method allows users to interact with the original player. If the screen size of their device is large enough, they can even code directly in the editor.
There are several disadvantages to this approach:
- This only works on Android devices.
- Anyone who wants to run a Scratch project with this method has to install Flash and the Dolphin-Browser first.
- The performance is worse than on PCs, so demanding projects can be laggy.
- Older versions of the Flash Player are known to have security issues, which makes it dangerous to run content other than the Scratch Player.
Instructions for installing Flash and Dolphin can be found here.
Running Scratch Projects in the Sulfurous-Player
- the Scratch Project will run on any device that has a web browser that supports html5. (Android, iOS, Windows Phone)
- the Sulfurous and Phosphorus players offer a better performance than Scratch, so projects run fast enough even on less powerful platforms.
- updates to the Sulfurous Player might include support for using device sensors.
- Sulfurous can only play projects, there is no possibility to edit them.
- Sulfurous is still incompatible with some Scratch features. (These are tracked in the Sulfurous Issues studio and Sulfurous is regularly updated to make these features work)
Sulfurous Mobile Game Library
The Studio Sulfurous Mobile Game Library offers a collection of Scratch games that work well with the Sulfurous player on mobile devices. This means that these games do not require any keyboard input and run correctly in Sulfurous.
Puffin is a mobile browser made to support Adobe Flash, so since Scratch runs on Flash, Puffin can be used to run Scratch projects on mobile devices. However, its interface is rather uncomfortable compared to a laptop or desktop computer, and many sensing blocks do not function entirely. Besides this, there is no mouse pointer or cursor (though Puffin has a virtual one that can be used). Finally, keyboard support is very limited.
Home page of Sulfurous mobile game library http://sulfurous.aau.at/smgl/ on iPhone