Pex4fun teaches coding through your smartphone

A site that aims to get aspiring coders started in the world of programming has been modified to support the Windows Phone 7 platform, allowing on-the-go learning for those without the time to sit at a computer.

Pex4fun, developed by Microsoft Research, is a new, free Windows Phone 7 app which is designed to allow users to write code in C#, F#, and VisualBasic in order to achieve certain goals - with points given out if they're successful.

The idea is to allow those new to the languages to pick up the skills they'll need to perform basic programming tasks, learning increasing amounts as they go on - and competing for a high score into the bargain.

The team behind Pex4fun has thought through the challenges around writing code on a smartphone, creating an editor which includes auto-completion, code snippet insertion, and background compilation, so as to make the process as pain-free as possible.

In-built courseware allows users to get up to speed with all three languages, even if they have no prior programming experience - and while the app won't make you into a world-class coder overnight, it's a neat way to get involved in programming - and a nice way for Microsoft to boost its prospective Windows Phone developer pool.

The app is freely available from the Windows Marketplace.