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Thread: Trying to learn how to program

  1. #1
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    Trying to learn how to program

    I'm thinking about learning how to program stuff... In fact. I'm thinking about taking on a project that is probably bigger than I can swallow.

    What's a good programming language that doesn't require a plug in for Windows (people keep suggesting python, but I had to install a plugin to run a program running python). I want a solid programming language.

    And if possible, what's a good compiler? I would really like to have a visual compiler. Something like Google App Inventor http://www.appinventorbeta.com/about/ ... again, if that's possible.

    I'm so sick of hearing about a program and conceptualizing how it would work. And then I use it and realize "oh... it can't do this or this or this... I thought it did..." and then after about five years and five different new releases of the same program, they finally put those functions in and everyone calls them brilliant and revolutionary. I seriously think up this crap years and years before these people do. Why not make something to show them how its done.

  2. #2
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    Re: Trying to learn how to program

    C and its variants - doesn't require a plugin necessarily and runs on Windows but hard to learn. I bet there are many tools out there to help your program using C, C# or C++. It's pretty much the "standard" program language and has been for a long time.
    AMD A4-3400 w/ Radeon HD 6410D, 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1333Mhz, Kubuntu 14.04, SliTaz 4.0, Windows 8.1, Ubuntu 14.04 VM
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  3. #3
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    Re: Trying to learn how to program

    I've been researching high and low for a compiler or IDE similar to Google app inventor and the closest thing that I can come up with is Microsoft Visual C++. And yet is still seems to fall short.

    Has anyone ever given any thought to making something like this for PC's? Are there any suggestions people might have for something like this out in the current market? Is anyone working on something like this as a fun pet project?

    I think there'd be a high demand for it. If someone doesn't jump on it now, I guarantee eventually people are going to and when it does, it's going to be big.

  4. #4
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    Re: Trying to learn how to program

    Runtime Revolution. Not free, but "compiles" to multiple platforms and uses a language similar to Hypertalk (from Apple's Hypercard). Has an interface designer.

    It's a little bit lower-level than App Inventor, because you do write code in Runtime Revolution, but it's very easy to write in.
    I try to treat the cause, not the symptom. I avoid the terminal in instructions, unless it's easier or necessary. My instructions will work within the Ubuntu system, instead of breaking or subverting it. Those are the three guarantees to the helpee.

  5. #5
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    Re: Trying to learn how to program

    You already have a few concepts rather wrong or at least you call them by odd names. A "plugin"? Do you mean the Python interpreter?

    And calling Google App Inventor a "compiler"... well, it's some sort of an IDE-style application building environment.

    IMO, many beginners have this odd idea that they must have a "solid" language that does not require a runtime; and then they seem to be accepting something much more than the Python runtime they just shunned.

    It is the old strange attitude that sometimes manifests itself in the idea that the closer to the hardware you are, the more "real" your programming is, and that as a beginner you'll be a Real Man if you just try to start all the way from the bootloader, as if it really teaches you something of value.

    A beginner is not going to be learning valuable things fast starting from C. This is not to even say that C is particularly incredibly "hard"; it's just "hard" in a non-helpful way -- that is, there is lots of nitty-gritty that gets in the way of gaining an understanding of the big picture of programming. It is, in my view, far easier to dig down from the large scale than vice versa, as the low level details are just specifics of architecture and so on, and not the big huge truths that apply across all programming.

    So I would say you just stick to Python, it's a very good starting point. May want to take a look at Java or C# as well; and if you're really adventurous, Scheme.
    LambdaGrok. | #ubuntu-programming on FreeNode

  6. #6
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    Re: Trying to learn how to program

    Quote Originally Posted by CptPicard View Post
    You already have a few concepts rather wrong or at least you call them by odd names. A "plugin"? Do you mean the Python interpreter?
    Yes

    And calling Google App Inventor a "compiler"... well, it's some sort of an IDE-style application building environment.
    After doing a bit more research I figured that out, my second post is a little more knowledgeable about that.

    I would say you just stick to Python, it's a very good starting point. May want to take a look at Java or C# as well; and if you're really adventurous, Scheme.
    Thanks -- I've been thinking for a little while and blender is made with Python. So it does have some diversity. But would it not help to have an IDE to at least assist or shortcut some steps? Especially as a crutch for someone starting out until they can stand on their own. Because it helps to be able to see something get developed as you're learning. Otherwise it can feel like you're just at a freakin' stand still and that's just frustrating.

    If you think it'd be of any assistance, what Java based IDE would you recommend?

  7. #7
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    Re: Trying to learn how to program

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  8. #8
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    Re: Trying to learn how to program

    Quote Originally Posted by orphanlast View Post
    Thanks -- I've been thinking for a little while and blender is made with Python.
    Blender probably uses Python as some sort of scripting/UI language, but it would be impossible to actually write the rendering stuff in Python... too slow. The core stuff is probably C. But this does not mean that C is in some sense "more powerful" than Python... it just means that it compiles down to faster execution, so in a case where you need the speed, you'd prefer C. The actual problems in code are the same; you just need to start using a language that requires more drudgery if execution speed is a requirement.

    But would it not help to have an IDE to at least assist or shortcut some steps? Especially as a crutch for someone starting out until they can stand on their own.
    It depends... IDEs are very useful for languages with more "ceremony" such as Java. I do like having the ability of the IDE to tell me what some object can do, and the ability to automatically refactor, etc.

    But it could also be argued that these functions of the IDE are both enabled and made neccessary by the character of the language. In Python you need much less verbose declaration in the first place. This means that Python code is easier to work with as there is less of it; on the other hand, the IDE does not have as much stuff in the language to work with to help you. But, in the end, you might need "less help" from the IDE with a language like Python!

    The runtime environment in Python is very useful btw... get used to the interactive shell. There is nothing like it in compiled languages.

    If you think it'd be of any assistance, what Java based IDE would you recommend?
    Well it's either Eclipse or Netbeans of course. Both have their adherents. I use Eclipse professionally every day, but personally prefer Netbeans; its integration to the various tools is just beautiful, but Eclipse of course has more plugins... which tend to break alarmingly often.
    LambdaGrok. | #ubuntu-programming on FreeNode

  9. #9
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    Re: Trying to learn how to program

    Personally, I'd still suggest Python.

    Yes, you have to install the Python interpreter to use it on Windows. However, your users don't, because there is the py2exe extension which will create a regular distributable Windows .exe out of the program to make in Python.

  10. #10
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    Re: Trying to learn how to program

    I personally love Python. It's useful when you need to quickly write a tool, but it doesn't necessarily have to be resource-efficient. For an example of an entire program written in Python, look at Frets on Fire. That's not how you'd generally use Python, however.
    01100010011010010111010000101110011011000111100100 1011110100000101110100011011010011010001000011

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