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#1 Andrewnguyen22  Icon User is offline

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Is there an interactive software to learn how to code?

Posted 20 February 2016 - 09:28 PM

I was very curious whether or not there is an interactive software to learn how to code. I'm looking for something like Rosetta Stone for programmers. If you guys know of anything let me know! I'm most interested in learning C or C++, but I am open to Python and others as well. Thanks!
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Replies To: Is there an interactive software to learn how to code?

#2 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is there an interactive software to learn how to code?

Posted 20 February 2016 - 09:38 PM

I find that my compiler is pretty damn interactive. When I code something incorrectly, it lets me know & then I fix it.
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#3 Andrewnguyen22  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is there an interactive software to learn how to code?

Posted 21 February 2016 - 10:03 AM

What compiler do you use? Which language?
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#4 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is there an interactive software to learn how to code?

Posted 21 February 2016 - 10:28 AM

gcc for c. But any compiler is going to tell you that there are errors in your code.
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#5 Skydiver  Icon User is online

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Re: Is there an interactive software to learn how to code?

Posted 21 February 2016 - 11:11 AM

The most interactive programming learning environments I recall using was Logo. Talk about instead feedback with that turtle.

I vaguely recall a project back in the 90's though where the idea of the game was that you were sucked into a Tron-like world where you had to learn how to program your way to defeating the big bad villain that had taken over a mainframe. I don't recall what the target language was, though.
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#6 Bench  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is there an interactive software to learn how to code?

Posted 21 February 2016 - 11:30 AM

A couple of resources I can think of (NOT for C or C++ unfortunately):
https://www.codecademy.com/
https://www.codeschool.com/

I'd love to find something like these for C or C++, because both languages are notorious for their complete lack of high-quality learning resources on the internet (Sites like codecademy make all of those free C and C++ tutorials feel like dinosaurs in comparison; from a prehistoric era before we had rich interactive web applications and everything was text-based).

There are a number of very good books for both C and C++ however (Of course, you need to pay for those...) -
http://www.stroustrup.com/Programming/
http://rudbek.com/books.html

This post has been edited by Bench: 21 February 2016 - 11:33 AM

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#7 Skydiver  Icon User is online

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Re: Is there an interactive software to learn how to code?

Posted 21 February 2016 - 11:52 AM

Personally, I would dis-recommend the Stroustrup book. Look through this forum where people are having trouble understanding what the exercise in the book even wants. And these are for folks who actually have a teacher for a class as opposed to the self study that the OP seems to be hoping to do.

Unfortunately, I don't have a book to recommend in its stead. Heed the common advice to avoid Schildt.
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#8 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is there an interactive software to learn how to code?

Posted 21 February 2016 - 12:23 PM

I would not recommend video-based instruction for learning programming, particularly at the beginning level. There are some long-form lecture-based courses which are worth doing, but they're essentially weak, dumbed-down versions of real college courses. Better than nothing, if you already have some idea of what you're doing, but not a place to get the basics.

Zed Shaw has both "Learn Python the Hard Way" and "Learn C the Hard Way". Both of these look very good to me, and are available for free on line. From what I've seen, his approach is a good one: a short, dense page of material to learn, followed by some code demonstrating the material and some well-thought-out exercises. If you read the material carefully, dig into the example code, and then really work on the exercises, I expect you'd get a lot out of either of these books. Note that the C book is about C, not C++, but the stuff you'll find there should be very useful for any language.

Warning, though: don't try to do them both at once. They're called "the hard way" for a reason: you have to really commit to them. Pick one and do that.
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#9 Bench  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is there an interactive software to learn how to code?

Posted 21 February 2016 - 01:38 PM

View PostSkydiver, on 21 February 2016 - 06:52 PM, said:

Personally, I would dis-recommend the Stroustrup book. Look through this forum where people are having trouble understanding what the exercise in the book even wants. And these are for folks who actually have a teacher for a class as opposed to the self study that the OP seems to be hoping to do.

The Stroustrup book I linked is "Principles and Practice", which is specifically aimed at beginners and written for self-study. Yes, it's originally based around the course material which Stroustrup teaches himself, and would work as a course textbook too, but it's not a book designed to be used for a taught course.

The book has evolved a fair bit since the first edition (The first edition received some fair criticism, much of which Stroustrup seems to have addressed now). Stroustrup's approach to teaching the language is somewhat similar to Accelerated C++, although the difference with his book is that he covers many other aspects of programming, rather than a "Pure" C++ book - so it's very much a learn-to-be-a-programmer book.

It's not a perfect beginner book, but there's really no such thing for C++. Even Francis Glassborow's entry-level book "You can do it", which was considered an excellent introduction by the people on comp.lang.c++ 10 years ago, has a lot of problems (one of the biggest problems being that he chose to write the entire book around a custom library supplied with the book, and people get stuck trying to set up the ancient Quincy tools, as well as the Playpen library - probably even moreso in the modern era of Windows 8.1/10. A shame because it's a lot gentler than Accelerated C++).

Every beginner will have slightly different needs, and will get stuck on slightly different things (particularly if they "skip" sections of the book). There's never going to be any substitute for having a mentor or a face-to-face course. The process of learning anything from a book will always result in unanswered questions - particularly for a huge language like C++ where no single book could ever come close to teaching everything. Having a book which prompts questions isn't a bad thing, and certainly not a reason to not buy the book; yes it will be slower to learn than sitting in a classroom, but that is an unavoidable trade-off for learning C++ at the moment (Certainly a much better trade-off than settling for one of the dozens of books which end up leading down the "Learn C first, then un-learn C and learn C++ afterwards" route)


View PostSkydiver, on 21 February 2016 - 06:52 PM, said:

Unfortunately, I don't have a book to recommend in its stead. Heed the common advice to avoid Schildt.
Other books to avoid would include the "21 days" or "for dummies", as well as Prata's "C++ Primer Plus". I agree there's a lack of good quality beginner-focused books for C++, which is part of the problem for novices learning it. Too many books fail at the first hurdle by attempting to teach 'C' first. Principles and Practice, along with Accelerated C++ are pretty much the only two books which come close to teaching C++ as C++.

This post has been edited by Bench: 21 February 2016 - 02:04 PM

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