New to programming.

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#1 Twitched  Icon User is offline

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New to programming.

Posted 18 August 2010 - 09:29 PM

Hey guys, new to programming and was just looking for any advice/tips you guys might have.

I have been interested in learning a programming language for awhile now, from what I have read VB6 seems to be the easiest to learn. Eventually I would like to make games for facebook and such and also create some apps for android phones. I was mainly wondering if VB6 is a good place to start or if I should start with something else since from what I have read your first language tends to program your brain into a way of thinking.

Any advice or personal experience would be great.

Thanks in advance.

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#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 19 August 2010 - 06:38 AM

Moved to the Corner Cubicle.

Check out this thread.

As VB6 is a legacy language, I wouldn't recommend it. If you want to go with VB, go with the more current VB.NET.
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#3 AmitTheInfinity  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 19 August 2010 - 06:55 AM

Quote

I would like to make games for facebook and such and also create some apps for android phones.


In that case VB is not recommended for sure. And add reasons macosxnerd101 gave to it. I would suggest Java as it has good support in browsers and phones as well.

PS : Do read the link macosxnerd101 gave, it's a really good compiled post.
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#4 D.Mulroy  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 19 August 2010 - 07:03 AM

My first language was Vb6 and I completely regret it :/ Instead of learning proper proramming techniques, oop specifically, I was taught progamming by simply changing properties of controls and the most basic conditional statements and spent more time "prettying up" the GUI. I'd reccomend going with Java/C#.
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#5 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 19 August 2010 - 07:17 AM

I'd suggest a JVM language like Java, Scala, or Clojure. One of the biggest reasons I'd recommend learning a JVM language is because of the diversity of languages on that platform, and the fact that they're all on a familiar platform will make it easier to move around languages with ease.

Of course, I'm totally biased towards the JVM, because the same can be said about CLR languages (.NET).
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#6 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 19 August 2010 - 07:24 AM

+1 on the JVM. At the moment, Java is a lot more popular than Functional languages. With Java, you can work on Enterprise-grade applications with Java EE, desktop applications with Java SE, and mobile apps with Android or Java ME. That being said, the project I'm doing at work could be done a lot cleaner with a functional language like Clojure than using reflection with Java.

@Raynes: A little off topic, but I think there is a Clojure plugin that allows you to work with Android in case you are interested. I'm working on the Android platform at work, so that's what brought that up. :)
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#7 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 19 August 2010 - 07:53 AM

I believe the Android stuff is actually a fork of Clojure 1.0.0. The reason I haven't used it is because Clojure 1.0.0 is really, really (really, really) old, and lacks a lot of good stuff from the newer versions. Plus, I'm a poor person and can't afford an android phone due to my family's shitty credit history, android isn't really interesting to me. I'd probably be all over it if I had an Android phone.

(NOTE: At least, unless something new came out recently to enable Clojure on Android.)
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#8 Twitched  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 20 August 2010 - 01:56 AM

Thanks for all the info guys, it was very helpful.

Thanks Macosx, the link that you gave me was great.


I was actually looking into java before VB6 but I am kinda worried about it now. Not sure if I want to invest time into a language that could become a dead language. The reason I say this is because Oracle, the company that bought java from Sun micro in late 2009 is now suing Google over 7 maybe 8 patents that they may or may not have used in the Android OS.

Below are links to a couple articles i found on it.

http://phandroid.com...ment-by-oracle/

http://thenextweb.co...droid-platform/

Check out some of the comments.


So with that being said should I still go with java as my first language? Maybe, it is the one I was first interested in...but like I said should I bother to learn a language that could go extinct?

On a side note, if I do go with java I was wondering what all the capabilities of it are. I know you can write games with it but what can and cant you write with it? Also when I do write my first program, by myself that is, is that program mine or do I have to give someone...say Oracle a chunk of change if I want to sell it and if I write it in java?
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#9 guahguahmonster  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 20 August 2010 - 03:39 AM

Java's quite an established language in the industry and I don't see it going extinct anytime soon, honestly. I don't quite see how Oracle suing Google would have an effect on Java's survivability (caveat - haven't read those articles yet). So I wouldn't worry about Java being extinct.

However, even if it were to go extinct, you should take comfort in the fact that the concepts you learn from programming can carry over from one language to another, so if you ever switch from Java to any other language (eventually, most people who program will learn several or many) you just need to get accustomed to new syntax, which is considerably easier than learning to program from scratch. Now it's true that if the "native" paradigms of the languages are somewhat different, your mind might also have to perform a paradigm shift (a switch from Java to some functional programming language, say) but this will too benefit you as a programmer by expanding your "toolbox" and showing you a different way of thinking about things.

You can write games with Java, and many other things as well. There are tons of libraries out there to handle a lot of different tasks, and honestly you can write Java programs for most things that your computer can do. This is much of what programming's about: Automating tedious, repetitive, or difficult tasks. Does it mean Java's for everyone and every single programming project? Not always, because a programmer should always pick the right tool for the job (and sometimes there are languages better suited to certain tasks than Java), but for starters it is generic enough to be useful and well-known enough that there are many useful tutorials for it.

I also suggest Python as a worthy alternative to learn if you are interested (and others can back me up here, I am sure). It's a nice clean language and is a nice scripting language to write quick scripts or even large applications. But if you are set on Java, don't let me deter you, because like I said, just learning the mindset needed to program is useful, and the language is only a secondary concern.

Finally, no, if you decide to sell a program written in Java, you are not obligated to pay anyone. Java's source code is mostly open under the GPL. The exception seems to be J2ME, the mobile version of Java.

This post has been edited by guahguahmonster: 20 August 2010 - 03:44 AM

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#10 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 20 August 2010 - 04:45 AM

Java is not going to go extinct. There are too many companies invested in it. It's got a solid hold for at least the next 10 years.

However, even if Java did go extinct, the JVM (the platform that JVM runs on) would not. Other JVM languages would take Java's place, and existing Java code would continue to serve a purpose. Jumping on board with the JVM is about a safe a bet as you can make. Remember, Java isn't the only language on the platform! It's amazingly diverse.

People freak out over the Oracle vs Google stuff. They are suing because Google created an incompatible JVM, not because they wrote applications in Java. You're not going to get sued for using Java. Unless you intend to write your own JVM that isn't compatible with Oracle's, then you should be fine. ;)
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#11 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 20 August 2010 - 05:27 AM

Oracle suing Google isn't something to worry about unless you are a serious Android developer, and then I wouldn't put much stock in anything happening anytime soon or at all. Probably the Java platform most in demand in the job market is Java EE for enterprise-grade applications. Java ME hasn't kept up for mobile apps, but Android has. And Java SE serves as a base for all the Java platforms, at least in part. I wouldn't worry about Java going away in the next few years, not to say that I still wouldn't keep up with other languages and technologies after you get a good handle on programming and Java.
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#12 Twitched  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 20 August 2010 - 09:48 AM

After hearing everyones views and opinions I think I am going to start with java. The only question now is where to start. I really am a complete newb when it comes to coding. From what I have been reading I'll need a compiler or something like that I think? Can anyone recommend a good place to start? Not tutorials or anything like that I think I should be able to find those on my own but what exactly do I need to start coding?
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#13 guahguahmonster  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 20 August 2010 - 12:11 PM

Good to see you've made your choice.

When I first learned Java, I learned it off of Sun's tutorial (Now Oracle's tutorial, of course).

This tutorial should have instructions on what you need to code Java. If it doesn't...

You'll at the very least need the JDK (Java Development Kit). On Windows you'll download it from Sun's website, on Linux, hopefully your package manager can find it. (I'll need someone to fill me in for Macs). The JDK will include a compiler which you invoke from the command-line as "javac".

You then get to choose whether to use a simple text editor, or a full-fledged IDE.

Text editors are more minimalist and I think it's good to start out with those to get a feel for what's going on "behind the scenes" as you compile and run your code. For Windows there's good ol' Notepad, but I prefer Notepad++ for its syntax highlighting, which helps a lot. There are tons of text editors on Linux, and you may have a good one already. If not, Scite is a nice one. (Again, Mac suggestions, anyone?)

Two well known IDEs are Eclipse and Netbeans. These tend to hold your hand a bit more and maybe a bit too much for my taste, and like I said I think it's useful to start out with a text editor. Once you've got the hang of things you can try an IDE to see whether it helps your development process.

This post has been edited by guahguahmonster: 20 August 2010 - 12:13 PM

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#14 jumptrooper  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 20 August 2010 - 02:16 PM

I think Java is a good choice for a first language. It provides a lot of options in terms of what areas of software you can really get involved with (desktop, mobile, network, and web applications, etc). It's also great for learning Object Oriented Programming principles.
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#15 javadork  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to programming.

Posted 21 August 2010 - 01:29 AM

Java is certainly a good start, but I'd recommend, HIGHLY recommend, going in a slightly different direction and start with C. C will certainly be difficult and challenging, but it gets you closest to programming at the machine level without dealing directly with assembly and in the process understand how to write correct, efficient programs. THEN tackle object oriented programming with Java.

So my advice is do yourself a favor and pick up the Kernighan and Ritchie book and go wild. You can program C under Windows, Linux, Unix, OS X, etc.

Have fun.

[EDIT: Raynes is correct, Java derived from C++, my bad. Removed ref. but still think C is a great base to build from.]

This post has been edited by javadork: 21 August 2010 - 07:42 AM

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