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Programmers, need your $.02

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posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 09:53 AM
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If you were going to teach yourself your first programming language from scratch using books, online resources, and software which would you try? Why?

I want something that’s doable as far as self instruction is concerned, but not in exchange for practicality. I.e. it’s no use going for ultra easy to learn if the language is useless. My gut tells me C, then progress to C++ after. But Java seems easy to learn.

I have considered C, C++, Java, and Liberty basic.

Any others I should consider?

Also: If you have any great resource suggestions such as great books or sites, let me know. I have some great stuff already, but more cant hurt.

Thanks!


[edit on 6-3-2006 by skippytjc]




posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 10:07 AM
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Skippy,

If you're speaking mostly of web-based programs/applications then I would have to say PHP and Java would be excellent considerations.

What are/were you looking to accomplish?



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 10:23 AM
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I knew that would be the first question.

Immediately I want to create some management software for my small web based tee shirt business. A business specific data base, etc. But that’s more of a “ploy” to get myself going. But ultimately I want to get strong enough to consider working as a programmer (read: games). At 35 years old it’s about time to get some direction career wise if you know what I mean. I am an Analyst in a programmer’s body, if that makes any sense at all.

As a teen I used to write BASIC programs on my Apple IIc. “You see a fork in the road, to the west you see rolling hills and dark storm clouds, to the west there is a dark castle up on a mountains…yada yada yada” The ole’ “if then go to” crap.

Anyways, I can steal away an hour or two late at night each day to teach myself. That’s the best I can manage right now, no time for formal instruction. If I can make some progress teaching myself, then I would consider making time for some formal training later on. But I need a start that has minimal commitment.


[edit on 6-3-2006 by skippytjc]



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 10:26 AM
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Try Python:

The clearest syntax, powerfull library, full OO, cross OS, etc.
python.org...

Tutorial here:
docs.python.org...

Read about Python here:
www.python.org...

Web development in Python ?
www.turbogears.com...



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 10:31 AM
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Gaming programming is done mostly in C and C++

Here's a link you might find rather informative:
C programming.com - Your Resource for C and C++ Programming

and

Programming Languages for 3d simulation and games

C, C++, Java, OpenGL and/or Direct3d

That should provide you with quite a bit to chew on for now.

I hope this helps.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 11:28 AM
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Originally posted by skippytjc
Immediately I want to create some management software for my small web based tee shirt business. A business specific data base, etc. But that’s more of a “ploy” to get myself going.


I'd recommend Ruby or Python for new web-oriented development. PHP is okay and there are a lot of people using it now, but PHP is trying to "catch up" to some of the capabilities already available in Ruby and Python. I'm using the Ruby on Rails framework right now and I can tell you it is definitely a safe way to go. You can always "downgrade" to PHP if necessary, it's probably the easiest language to "tack on" after learning your first.


Originally posted by skippytjc
But ultimately I want to get strong enough to consider working as a programmer (read: games). At 35 years old it’s about time to get some direction career wise if you know what I mean.


I'd strongly recommend thinking twice about pursuing the gaming industry. Insane hours for mediocre pay is the norm there. The supply of young, eager college CS grads greatly outweighs the demand for this type of job. If game programming is your dream, I'd recommend getting a day job in a more mundane (but lucrative) form of programming, and pursuing independent game programming as a hobby. There's something to be said for _not_ turning your passion into your job.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 11:33 AM
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Thanks!!!


And you guys feel C or Python are doable without formal instruction?



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 01:36 PM
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Originally posted by Saltman
I'd strongly recommend thinking twice about pursuing the gaming industry. Insane hours for mediocre pay is the norm there. The supply of young, eager college CS grads greatly outweighs the demand for this type of job. If game programming is your dream, I'd recommend getting a day job in a more mundane (but lucrative) form of programming, and pursuing independent game programming as a hobby. There's something to be said for _not_ turning your passion into your job.


Excellent points Saltman! The market is pretty well saturated with fresh youngins' who have basically grown up writing code. I don't mean to discourage you in anyway, Skippy, but you may find yourself in a neverending game of playing "catch-up", at a rather mediocre salary.

Just wanted to affirm and add to what Saltman has stated.

Good Luck, and let us know what route you decide best suits.




posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 02:35 PM
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Originally posted by skippytjc
Thanks!!!
And you guys feel C or Python are doable without formal instruction?


I don't know about Python, but C can be mastered by simply reading books and practicing. I'm speaking from experience here since I'm a professional C++ programmer. Just start off with one of those "Teach yourself C" books and take the time to do all the exercises.

As far as game programming goes, dont' worry about that until you get very comfortable with C++. The very dynamic nature of the gaming industury should tell you that there will always be something new to learn. Still you don't have to re-learn stuff every day. You'd probably be using existing libraries to do all the heavy-lifting. The part about long hours in the gaming industry is correct.

Personally I have a more stable job of programming for financial data, but you have to do what you're most interested in. Don't let the learning curve stop you if that's what you want to do.

[edit on 6-3-2006 by dbates]



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 02:35 PM
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Well, I dont really have any aspirations of being a code monkey for some game house. Not at 35 years old anyways.

But I wouldnt mind becoming programming savy and find another aspect of the gaming industry to make a home in however. I live in an area that is home to a number of game/software development companies and they are always looking. The hooks are out there.

And as far as cash in concerned, well you can always change your directions as things unfold. I have a good job and it takes care of my family (mostly), but I'm certainly not getting rich now. But its all meaningless if you dont take the first step.

So, teach myself something and get started. If I like it and I take to it well, learn more and take it from there.

One things for certain: You cant lose when you learn new things.

And back to the direct topic: I keep coming back to C++. It seems to be the most commonly used and felxable.

[edit on 6-3-2006 by skippytjc]



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 02:37 PM
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Originally posted by dbates
I don't know about Python, but C can be mastered by simply reading books and practicing. I'm speaking from experience here since I'm a professional C++ programmer. Just start off with one of those "Teach yourself C" books and take the time to do all the exercises.


Thats exactly the feedback I wanted to hear. I want to know its possible if the effort is put in. I already own some great C++ books and have a few decent links. Its great to know its been done doing it this way.



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 06:14 AM
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I've been a programmer (amongst other things) for a good 10 years plus, and it's really boring if you're planning to make a career out of it, but for your own use it's a valuable skill to learn...
Anyhows, I recently realised that my porgramming skills doesn't include Java, and realised that I needed to get with times... I randomly picked a book at the bookstore. Java 2 for Dummies. I think it was the best "choice" I could have made. The author Barry Burd is a brilliant writer... He makes a boring topic quite exciting and caters for both absolute beginners and more "advanced" programmers. If you're going to learn Java I highly recommend this book!
I can't really suggest which language to learn, because they all have their pro's and con's, but Java, C (and C++) and VB are more or less the most popular.

Good luck!



posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 06:37 AM
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Simple rule:

Java for web-based stuff as it's platform independent (same program runs on Linux, Windows, Solaris...)

C/C++ for everything else!

There is a book "The C Programming Language" by K&R (the last one is Ritchie) which everywhere I have worked has held as some sort of bible, and I'm inclined to agree.

Everything from the smallest microchip in your remote control to the largest simulation running on the biggest supercomputers uses C. We used C to write new languages at my last job. C++ is a more powerful version which supports Object-oriented programming which has some tricky concepts you need to understand like inheritance and overloading...

But according to your project description, I think Java may meet your needs better.



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