Read this first! General programming info

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Read this first! General programming info

Post by Chris220 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:09 am

First off, a big welcome the complex but rewarding world of programming.

If you enjoy problem solving, mathematics or creating badass displays of colour, then you've come to the right place!

Where to start
There is no one language that every body uses and is "the best language". Different languages are good for different things
Here are some common tasks and suggestions on which language to use:

Batch jobs, small utility programming
Probably the biggest and best language for this sort of thing would be Python, with Perl coming a close second. Both languages are relatively easy to learn, and both have interpreters for both Windows and Linux.
Another choice would be Lua, which is best for small scripted applications (note scripted, not programmed)

Small games and useful windows applications
By far the best choice for this would be to use C#
It is a very nice language to use, and is also relatively easy to learn.
C# uses the .NET framework as its main library, meaning you have literally thousands of helpful classes and functions that allow you to accomplish nearly anything yourself
Another option is Java, which has almost identical syntax to C#. The advantage of Java is that your applications can run on pretty much any platform without any extra work on your part, and you can embed Java applications on a webpage

Large scale games development, low level processing
Pretty much the only answer to this is C++. Fast, low level and powerful, this is the best language for games programming. Use of a third party library such as SFML (which I personally use) makes your job much easier, unless of course you already know DirectX or OpenGL.

Web programming
I am not at all experienced in this area, but I do know that PHP is a good language for doing web programming.
Here's a summary of PHP:
"PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. It generally runs on a web server, taking PHP code as its input and creating web pages as output. It can be deployed on most web servers and on almost every operating system and platform free of charge. PHP is installed on more than 20 million websites and 1 million web servers."

Ok, so how can I learn any of these languages?
C++
You should start off by reading Accelerated C++ as this book gives you a good foundation in the language. If you get a good amount into that, and you still want to learn more about the language, then give Effective C++ a read. This will introduce you to some of the more advanced features of the language, such as exception handling, correct object-oriented design and so on.
If books aren't your thing, then have a look at cplusplus.com.
They provide some beginner tutorials, as well as good documentation on most/all of the features of the standard template library (STL)

C#
I learnt C# by just playing around with it after I learnt C++, due to the similarities in syntax. I have heard that Head First C# is a good book to read if you want to learn the language from the ground up. The Visual C# Developer Centre is a good reference for all things .NET.
If you want to learn from a website, then C# Station provides one that you can try out.

PHP
The w3schools website provides a good tutorial to start learning PHP on, or so I am told. Another website to check out is tizag.com.

I've learnt a language to a good standard, where do I go from here?
Write programs! Focus on learning a specific area of programming (AI, procedural content generation, networking, ETC)
Ask lots of questions. The majority of programmers remember what it's like when you're learning, and so are more than willing to help others out. I for one am more than happy to help you out with a things for C++, C#, Lua, Visual Basic even, as well as a lot of general programming questions.

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by JHaskly on Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:27 pm

Thanks Chris. Writing PHP that many times made me choke on my food Laughing

I think you should mention Ruby in here, although I know you haven't used it. Ruby is an excellent language - very easy to learn if you are a beginner. It may not have many (any) good libraries for GUI stuff, and it isn't the fastest out there (interpreted). It is, however, mostyl popular due to an excellent extension, Ruby on Rails, which is a web app development framework. It also has other web dev frameworks. I much prefer using Ruby for web stuff than PHP.

And finally, I'd love if you mentioned Cobra, but it's too new a language for many.

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by Chris220 on Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:11 am

The aim of this was to suggest the most popular languages for each task, which I have

I didn't want to list too many languages and swamp the people reading with loads of choices

Edit your post to include an "addon" article where you can describe alternatives and provide links to tutorials and such!

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by JHaskly on Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:37 am

Sure. But remember: popular does not go hand in hand with best.

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by Chris220 on Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:42 am

Heh, they're popular for a reason Wink

Don't feel hurt because I didn't put your favourite languages up there. PHP isn't my favourite either, in fact I hate it. But the fact remains it's the most accessible and popular language there is for web development so far

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by JHaskly on Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:23 pm

I don't feel hurt at all Razz

I've long ago realized that Ruby isn't the most popular language out there.

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by Kedji on Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:26 pm

Ah, I will need that C++ tutorials, since I need it for my 4th year! XD Advanced knowledge Very Happy

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by Chris220 on Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:08 am

Juz: By all means make threads about Ruby and Cobra, provide lots of information so people can learn from them! I'd be happy to learn Ruby and/or Cobra; the more languages I know, the better! Razz

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by Kedji on Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:20 am

I'm gonna learn Python, my friend and I will make a game Very Happy
Yet, opening a pygame window is loong... MY PC SUX

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by JHaskly on Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:20 pm

Well, I'm thinking of learning D now. It looks nice and fast, isn't .NET, and has a sweet 3D game engine Razz

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by madbob2 on Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:59 am

Is it just me, or are most of those names single letters or about snakes?
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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by JHaskly on Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:44 am

They are single letters, because the average programmer can't strign more together at once.

Razz

Just Kidding! I don't want Chris to kill me Mad

And now I'm learning Haskell!

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by RA2lover on Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:02 pm

isn't that your name?

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Re: Read this first! General programming info

Post by JHaskly on Sun Oct 17, 2010 5:39 pm

Part of it happens to be in my name, but I started learning Haskell after this name came to be Surprised

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