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Programming platform for beginner?

Last response: in Apps General Discussion
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July 15, 2011 2:10:41 PM

I know nothing about programming but want to learn how. Can you recommend a platform to start with so I can research a book to read and start learning?

Thanks!
July 15, 2011 6:06:50 PM

What kind of programming? Desktop, server, web, etc...?
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July 19, 2011 2:03:33 AM

No clue, I have been reading on Java, actually tried it but can't even do the Hello World program it is trying to explain. I need something that is super dummy proof I guess.
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a b L Programming
July 19, 2011 3:28:28 AM

JavaScript is not too bad, and you can try it out right in your browser! No compiler, you can use a plain text editor (Windows Notepad, or better yet, Notepad++), there are MANY tutorials, and the best part is JavaScript is very useful on the web. Try this JavaScript Tutorial.
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July 19, 2011 9:30:16 AM

I would say you've gotten a hold of the wrong book if you're trying to do java and can't get the hello world program running.

If you want to program web sites, asp.net runs free on windows/IIS. This means, though, you need a Windows x professional version or higher in order to install IIS.

Another option is Coldfusion by which you can download a developer edition from Adobe. It comes with its own web server, so you don't even need to install IIS to begin learning this web programming language. Very simple and powerful.

Java really isn't a bad one to learn if you want to program for the desktop because it's free.

Anyone wanting to learn to program should learn SQL. Any language you learn whether web or desktop requires some type of data storage and access any more. You can download and learn mySQL or SQL express (microsoft) as a foundation and then learn about one of the languages mentioned above to understand how they interact and work together.
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July 19, 2011 8:32:44 PM

Anything specific you want to program? I think a good base for everything is C++, it is hard to learn, but once you learn the basics, doing everything else will be easy...
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July 19, 2011 11:45:46 PM

While I am still a novice when it comes to computers, I can build them now so I am just wanting to pursue learning more bascially. I tried Java but I think something was up with my install of Java. All the tutorials I found and used I followed step by step and couldn't get the same results. I am running Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate so would like to match tutorials or a book to what I will be seeing on my computer.

I really prefer a "book" to be able to study and reference if possible.

I guess when it comes to programming I don't know which direction I would like to go, just want to learn more....maybe be able to teach my kids about it as well and give them a headstart.

I appreciate any thoughts!
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July 20, 2011 2:15:30 AM

If you haven't looked into HTML, that would kind of give you a start in a direction that would make you hungry for more. It's simple. You don't need a web server. You can use notepad to edit the files. You can open html files with internet explorer to see your results.

Once you start learning down this path, you'll start to think about web sites you've seen and the functionality therein. Then you'll want to learn more about the scripting languages and programming languages behind the pages. Not a bad way to ease into it all:

http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-HTML-XHTML-JavaScript-P...

or you can pick up one of the 'For Dummies' books and get going as well:

http://www.amazon.com/HTML-XHTML-All---One-Dummies/dp/0...
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July 21, 2011 1:43:26 AM

Do ANY programming language (object oriented or not), provided that it is free .... JAVA, php, .NET (has 30-day developer edition for free) ....... .NET is pretty easy to use out of the box, but lots of people have difficulty setting up JAVA and PHP and getting them running. For web programming, I think .NET (using C# or VB) is the easiest to start writing programs, but it is not free after 30 days. While JAVA (avoid JSPs for now) and PHP are a little tricky to get working, they are totally free and pretty powerful. I would probably choose JAVA (and I prefer Microsoft, but I dont think you can lose if you learn anything). Despite what the techno-nerds will tell you, C# and JAVA are identical (and VB.net and C++) are very similar as they are also object oriented. Yes, they have some differences ...... who cares about the syntax. If you only learn syntax, you are not learning to program .... to learn to program, you need to start understanding orders of operation, looping, conditionals, program flows and logic ...... If I was starting today, I would download Eclipse and use this as my IDE. It is what WSAD/RAD are based on and it is pretty good. Again, I am a Windows guy and I really think Visual Studio is and always has been the top IDE but, the JAVA platform has really come a long way and has closed the gap a lot.

I would use this study manual:
CCSU Chortle Site for JAVA (the entire series will be a GREAT, free intro to procedural JAVA and later objects).

Expect some small issues out of the box, but it really isnt that difficult. Find someone that you know that can do this stuff and use them as a mentor .... try everything yourself and Google any issues you have first .... it's just the best way to learn; figuring it out for yourself. Use the mentor (or forums) as last resorts only so that YOU are the one learning (and you dont anger everyone by being lazy) .... if you are lazy, then you will NEVER learn to program in any language. I don't know many languages well, and I seriously dont think there is a problem I can figure out on any platform (and I have done well on MVS, Unix, and Windows). If you are willing to try and research, then you can figure out anything. Once you get through that Chortle site, look to do some web programming or whatever else interests you. Remember, once you get the hang of it, there are an infinite # of languages to learn and more seem to pop up every day and if you learn something good from one, you can almost always translate that into something useful in another language or platform (they just call it something slightly different). BE PATIENT ...... THERE IS SO MUCH TO LEARN (even from a single language like JAVA ..... there are an infinite # of APIs that you can utilize). Have fun!
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July 21, 2011 9:38:14 AM

rdarrel59 said:
Do ANY programming language (object oriented or not), provided that it is free .... JAVA, php, .NET (has 30-day developer edition for free) ....... .NET is pretty easy to use out of the box, but lots of people have difficulty setting up JAVA and PHP and getting them running. For web programming, I think .NET (using C# or VB) is the easiest to start writing programs, but it is not free after 30 days. ...

You can develop .NET apps using notepad and the command-line (DOS) window for compilation/execution similar to java.
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July 21, 2011 11:39:17 AM

Uber,

Steve, is that you??? :)  While you definitely can use notepad, find me a company on earth that does that given today's IDEs and I will find you a company on the verge of bankruptcy because they never deliver anything on time (or error-free). As I said before, programming is not about learning to type or specific syntaxes, it is about structure, code reusability, and basic coding constructs like looping, conditionals, and the like. Today's IDEs are more fun to use, prevent silly errors (most of the time :)  ) and allow you to code things pretty quickly, thereby allowing you to do more in less time. For a person looking to learn coding casually I strongly recommend these. Since these folks arent looking for full time jobs, I would use the IDEs (but I recognize that typing things out longhand and making mistakes will probably reinforce coding more strongly, if you don't quit out of frustration. To appease both sides, code Hello World by hand if you can in notepad++ or textpad and then take off the training wheels and hop into Eclipse or VS. The only people who continue to write large amounts of code in notepad either a.) code in a terribly cryptic language designed for ultra-high efficiency (and there simply are no good IDEs for these ..... assembler) or b.) they are stuck in the dark ages and refuse to open their eyes to the great tools now available that do permit the flexibility of intelli-sense as well as coding by hand. There is no doubt that IDEs add some overhead to code, but they really do decrease coding time. The basic principles of coding must be applied either way and that is what you should focus on learning no matter how you do it.

-Rick

ubercake said:
You can develop .NET apps using notepad and the command-line (DOS) window for compilation/execution similar to java.
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July 21, 2011 2:19:31 PM

rdarrel59 said:
Uber,

Steve, is that you??? :)  While you definitely can use notepad, find me a company on earth that does that given today's IDEs and I will find you a company on the verge of bankruptcy because they never deliver anything on time (or error-free). As I said before, programming is not about learning to type or specific syntaxes, it is about structure, code reusability, and basic coding constructs like looping, conditionals, and the like. Today's IDEs are more fun to use, prevent silly errors (most of the time :)  ) and allow you to code things pretty quickly, thereby allowing you to do more in less time. For a person looking to learn coding casually I strongly recommend these. Since these folks arent looking for full time jobs, I would use the IDEs (but I recognize that typing things out longhand and making mistakes will probably reinforce coding more strongly, if you don't quit out of frustration. To appease both sides, code Hello World by hand if you can in notepad++ or textpad and then take off the training wheels and hop into Eclipse or VS. The only people who continue to write large amounts of code in notepad either a.) code in a terribly cryptic language designed for ultra-high efficiency (and there simply are no good IDEs for these ..... assembler) or b.) they are stuck in the dark ages and refuse to open their eyes to the great tools now available that do permit the flexibility of intelli-sense as well as coding by hand. There is no doubt that IDEs add some overhead to code, but they really do decrease coding time. The basic principles of coding must be applied either way and that is what you should focus on learning no matter how you do it.

-Rick

I see your point, but if you don't have the background, while IDEs provide a great advantage, you're also locked into the inefficiencies of the IDE.
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a b L Programming
July 21, 2011 8:02:56 PM

ubercake said:
You can develop .NET apps using notepad and the command-line (DOS) window for compilation/execution similar to java.

I would at least suggest the use of Notepad++ so the poor beginner can have syntax highlighting!
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July 22, 2011 9:49:32 AM

PhilFrisbie said:
I would at least suggest the use of Notepad++ so the poor beginner can have syntax highlighting!

Ha. :) 

Eclipse is a good free development tool for those that require the pretty highlights, too.
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a b L Programming
July 22, 2011 10:29:19 AM

.Net and C# programming is free. Just use Visual Studio Express.
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August 3, 2011 5:16:36 PM

I would definitely start off with JAVA as it's one of the most fundamental strongly-typed object oriented languages out there. There are also great resources explaining polymorphism, inheritance, and other advanced aspects (not cross-cutting concern aspects) out there. Eclipse is alos one of the best development tools (in my opinion). It's easy to read and will predict your code with whatever libraries you've imported.

If you're forced to program in the .NET framework C# is very similar to JAVA and you'll be able to pick it up almost immediately. Hope this helps...let me know if you need any links to these resources :) 

PS >
Eclipse just bought WindowBuilder - one of the best VEs for GUI programming out there!
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