Authors: Mauricio Verano Merino, Jurgen Vinju, and Mark van den Brand




Block-based environments are visual programming environments, which are becoming more and more popular because of their ease of use. The ease of use comes thanks to their intuitive graphical representation and structural metaphors (jigsaw-like puzzles) to display valid combinations of language constructs to the users. Part of the current popularity of block-based environments is thanks to Scratch. As a result they are often associated with tools for children or young learners. However, it is unclear how these types of programming environments are developed and used in general. So we conducted a systematic literature review on block-based environments by studying 152 papers published between 2014 and 2020, and a non-systematic tool review of 32 block-based environments. In particular, we provide a helpful inventory of block-based editors for end-users on different topics and domains. Likewise, we focused on identifying the main components of block-based environments, how they are engineered, and how they are used. This survey should be equally helpful for language engineering researchers and language engineers alike.