Virtual Meetup: "Towards a localized programming language: the case of Arabic Hedy"

Hi Community,

I am happy to announce that next Tuesday (the 31st of January), Alaaeddin Swidan will discuss “Towards a localized programming language: the case of Arabic Hedy”.

You’ll find the Zoom link below!

Hedy is a gradual programming language that aims to teach kids programming by building up concepts and syntax step by step. Hedy was launched in early 2020 and since then millions of Hedy programs have been created worldwide. The world of software is largely an English centric world. As such, most of programming languages are only available in English. Hedy however followed a different approach. From its inception, Hedy was multi-lingual in its UI, for example in buttons and error messages. But to be truly inclusive, kids must be able to program in their own natural language! Thus, since early 2022, Hedy also supports keywords in multiple languages, including Dutch, French, Spanish, Hindi, and Arabic. Currently, Hedy has versions in 44 languages. In this presentation, we provide an overview of the localization efforts, the challenges we met, and the changes that were necessary to make Hedy work multilingually. We will give a special emphasis on Arabic, as we will cover some of the aspects that were considered throughout the process starting from the right-to-left direction to the choice of keywords, variables naming, and some cultural aspects of the language. In consequence, we will touch upon how these aspects of the natural language required tricky changes to the website, parser, and the syntax highlighter of Hedy.

Alaaeddin Swidan is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Open Universiteit. In 2019, he obtained his PhD from TU Delft, with focus on understanding the issues and needs of end-user programmers when they create software artifacts such as Excel spreadsheets. Towards the end of his PhD, his interest shifted towards Computer Science Education. On several occasions, he worked with young children in formal and informal educational settings to understand and help with their struggles while learning programming. His research interests include misconceptions that children hold about programming, code reading and debugging strategies, learning with visual programming environments, and transfer to textual languages. As part of his interest in programming education, Alaaeddin has grown interest in how natural languages affect the development of conceptual understandings and skills in programming. This has been particularly interesting for languages that are not English, especially Arabic (his mother language). As a result, Alaaeddin joined the efforts of Felienne Hermans, the creator of Hedy, to bring the Arabic version of Hedy to life. The goal is to make a step towards providing a platform that will bring more people to programming and broaden the future participation specifically from marginalized groups.

How to connect

To avoid other security issues is now necessary to register for the meeting. The registration should be necessary just once and be valid for all the next meetings you will participate in. I understand it is a little extra effort, but it would avoid problems like the ones we encountered:

Registration for the Virtual Meetup

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. It will also permit you to add it to your calendar.


It is hosted on Zoom at 5 PM GMT+1/CET (you can use this link to figure out which time is in your timezone: Dateful Time Zone Converter.


are these meetups recorded?

Hi @SceneMax3D,
You can find all the recordings on the Strumenta Youtube channel or the Strumenta Community website. You will find the recordings at the end of each single talk page at the end.