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FedUpAsp
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14 Jul 2013, 8:12 am

What is the best programming language for a beginner to learn? I want to go from zero to writing disabled-accessibility programs for Linux and BSD. No experience with either.



truth15ful
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14 Jul 2013, 1:01 pm

I started with Blitz3D. Their program has a free "Demo" version that never expires and an excellent command reference. Definitely not the fastest or most versatile language but easy to learn.



Solidus
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14 Jul 2013, 1:03 pm

I would suggest Python, it's easy to learn and well-documented, and still powerful.



Kurgan
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14 Jul 2013, 1:55 pm

First and foremost, it should be an object-oriented and turing complete language. The former because it makes the programming much more intuitive--the latter because it can be used on an intermediate and professional stage as well as a beginner stage. Three good choices are C++, C# and Java. In any case, TheNewBoston has great video tutorials explaining most of the stuff you need to know.

You might want to learn boolean algebra if you don't already know it, though. This is incredibly useful when you're programming.



0bey1sh1n0b1
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14 Jul 2013, 8:15 pm

I learned with Java. Schools love to use that as a teaching language. Google NewBoston that guy has great tutorials. Also Sketch by MIT although clearly a kids program will give you a good idea of programming principles. Also Microsoft has their own SmallBasic designed to teach beginner on the fundamentals of Basic and it also has a translator to translate the code into Visual Basic code. Pretty neat stuff good luck with your learning.

Haha looks like someone beat me to the NewBoston tutorials ^^^



Last edited by 0bey1sh1n0b1 on 14 Jul 2013, 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

0bey1sh1n0b1
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14 Jul 2013, 8:16 pm

Solidus wrote:
I would suggest Python, it's easy to learn and well-documented, and still powerful.


It's a good learning language with it is not a programming language. It is scripting.



Tomatoes
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15 Jul 2013, 1:53 am

If you aim to write disability software for Linux and the BSDs you should learn C and/or C++ because I suppose you'll have to make software interfacing with the user interface, but I don't know what you mean exactly by disability software. Shinobi suggested Visual Basic and/or SmallBasic to learn programming. I think it would be a good choise as a first language, if you use Mono.
Programming is another form of mathematics. It is like learning to ride a bicycle. Also C/C++ is hard compared to Visual Basic. In the former you'll have to manage memory manually.



ruveyn
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15 Jul 2013, 3:08 pm

Whatever happened to BASIC?



Kator
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15 Jul 2013, 4:24 pm

I also suggest BASIC

That is how I, and many others started. It was designed for kids to learn programming, for kids who don't know anything about computers. As an adult probably you can learn faster than a child can.
It had a great culture decades ago, with microcomputers for children, which one just turns on, and a BASIC prompt appears. The newcomer can just immediately type BASIC commands, or programs, without knowing where those variables are stored.
I would suggest moving to a practical language later, maybe after a month, or a few months of BASIC on a C64 ( or a C64 emulator ).
This month was about 5 years for me, but I was at elementary school.
Anyways, I just can't imagine starting with Java, or C++, or Python, if you have no idea what is going on in the background. As you said, "I want to go from zero".



dcj123
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15 Jul 2013, 7:06 pm

C is easy enough and its closer to the hardware than things like Python and Java. The problem with C is you probably won't be writing a GUI with it very easily where as Java has the swing libraries that make writing GUIs easy. I know a little C, Perl, Python, Java and html but I don't fancy myself a programmer. Most of my apps are small time stuff but I did write a GUI calculator in Java using GridBagLayout, my pride and joy work.

Also this link looks okay for learning C.

Also here is a sample test program in C so you get an idea for it, comments are the lines with //. Its how I understand C to work so there maybe errors.

Quote:
//Start of every program, function main
main()

//First Bracket
{

//Initializes and defines integer x as 2
int x = 2;

//Initializes the integer sum
int sum;

//Defines the integer sum to x + x or 2 + 2
sum = x + x;

//Prints integer sum, %d calls to integer sum which is obviously 4 where as \n simply skips a line
printf("%d.\n", sum);

//Returns 0 for function main
return 0;

//Last Bracket
}



0bey1sh1n0b1
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15 Jul 2013, 8:51 pm

If you really want to get fun with programming you can looking into Arduino. This is a great hardware/programming platform ranging from beginners to even advance levels. Another interesting microcontroller is nerdkit.



Kurgan
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15 Jul 2013, 9:02 pm

Kator wrote:
I also suggest BASIC

That is how I, and many others started. It was designed for kids to learn programming, for kids who don't know anything about computers. As an adult probably you can learn faster than a child can.
It had a great culture decades ago, with microcomputers for children, which one just turns on, and a BASIC prompt appears. The newcomer can just immediately type BASIC commands, or programs, without knowing where those variables are stored.
I would suggest moving to a practical language later, maybe after a month, or a few months of BASIC on a C64 ( or a C64 emulator ).
This month was about 5 years for me, but I was at elementary school.
Anyways, I just can't imagine starting with Java, or C++, or Python, if you have no idea what is going on in the background. As you said, "I want to go from zero".


I went from zero with Java. Because of the automatic garbage collection, the Swing library and various other feautures, it's suprisingly easy to learn. The only tricky part in the beginning was understanding how classes worked.



FedUpAsp
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16 Jul 2013, 4:25 am

These are all great suggestions. I want to program a text to speech program for the Linux command line as well as a high quality magnifier for multiple GUIs. An ambitious project, but one I actually need.

Seems I need a background in algebra. Any other 'pre-programming' stuff I should know? Like flowcharting, etc?



0bey1sh1n0b1
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16 Jul 2013, 6:14 am

FedUpAsp wrote:
These are all great suggestions. I want to program a text to speech program for the Linux command line as well as a high quality magnifier for multiple GUIs. An ambitious project, but one I actually need.

Seems I need a background in algebra. Any other 'pre-programming' stuff I should know? Like flowcharting, etc?


Flow charts can help with pseudo coding but it is not a must. Also look into pseudo code because this helps out big time in the long run.



youwho
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17 Jul 2013, 8:14 am

I suggest starting with Python too.
If you are starting from scratch start with one of Zed Shaw's guides.

It let's you start from the very basics without considering objects until you want to,
while allowing you to increase your understanding gradually.
Once you have a solid understanding of types, objects and classes you can more easily
transfer your knowledge to other 'commercial' languages like C# and Java if you like.

The division between what's 'programming' and what's 'scripting' is diminishing,
a huge amount of professional programming work is now web development,
which is being done more and more in Python, Ruby, etc.
The modern web servers are easily fast enough to run scripting languages to generate pages
and the developer productivity increases are worth the cost.

Python has thousands of existing free libraries for doing any kind of task you can imagine,
and a massive community of developers you can learn from.
There are a huge number of free tutorials on the web for learning various libraries and frameworks.

Python is the teaching language of choice for the Raspberry Pi.