Getting Started With Programming

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by iFaulder, Oct 21, 2006.

  1. iFaulder macrumors member


    Aug 2, 2004
    Western Maryland
    Hello, I'v been very interested in getting started with programing but I don't know where to start. I'v heard Real Basic is the best place to get started. Is this true? If so can you recommend any good, in depth beginner guides for Real Basic for the Mac? I would like to eventually learn Cocoa but I would like to start at the beginning. If any one can recommend any advice it would be very appreciated.
  2. hsvmoon macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2006
    Huntsville Al
    What type of programs do you want to create?

    To a great extent what programs you would like to make defines what you should use to write them in. You should first start with learning what options are available to you. In general you have several camps for Mac development (C/FORTRAN Vs. C++/Objective-C Vs. JAVA Vs. PERL/RUBY/PYTHON VS. BASIC ...). I would not start with BASIC because the best development tools are not free. I would have to give JAVA serious thought because the code will run on almost any system. After decideing what types of projects and language to use you will need to pick and API and IDE. An API is in simple terms the library of prebuilt functions. APIs (Application Programmer Interface) are used so you do not have to rebuild common elements of many programs. IDE (Integrate Development Environment) is a source code development application to ease the job software development. Hope this helps.
  3. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    Personally, I would get started with C++ or Java.

    Java is more forgiving, C++ is more flexible. Pick your poison. :)
  4. MrFrankly macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2006
    Initially I wouldn't start with a language like C++ or Java.

    C++ is difficult because you're working pretty close to the hardware (pointer, garbage collection etc).

    Java is difficult because you have to follow a pretty strict Object Oriented structure. Which is excellent if you want to build a big system. But for a beginner this can be very overwhelming.

    Personally I would start with a language like Ruby or Python. they grow with you while you program. Also they both support Object Oriented programming but they're not necessary so you can slowly start learning OO programming without being forced to do it while you don't even understand why. They're advanced languages so don't worry you're learning stuff no one uses for serious business.
    Python is used a lot at Google and Ruby is becoming popular very quickly. Best of all, they're both installed on Mac OS X by default.

    Once you can write and understand some small programs with Python or Ruby you could already move to Java and after that maybe even C++ or Objective-C.
  5. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    I would suggest you first take one, or more classes in programming. I have heard arguments for starting with a high-level language first, then a low or mid-level language, or exactly the opposite. In some respects, it depends on what you want to do in programming.

    For example, if you are interested in web design, you will probably be working with C++ or Java. If you want to develop device drivers, or other low-level stuff, then you will probably be working in C, or embedded C. If you want to build user applications and take your project from conception, to completion, you may find 4 GL's (like RealBasic) a better choice.

    Regardless of what you choose, the principals of programming are fundamentally the same. The main difference is the toolbox you use. So, learning programming fundamentals is often the best place to start. My personal belief is that a course in C, or even assembler is a very good foundation. You will learn how the computer 'thinks' and how all of the pieces work together.
  6. iFaulder thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 2, 2004
    Western Maryland
    I'm just interested in programing basic mac os apps. I'm not interested in cross platform. Can you recommend any good Java mac books?
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005

    To learn java I'd recommend Java For Dummies.
  8. rtharper macrumors regular


    Sep 6, 2006
    Oxford, UK
    I've learned a lot of programming languages, and
    learned a lot about programming languages. From experience I can tell you that whatever programming language you choose to learn first, far more important is learning about how programming languages work. It will give you a lot of insight into how to write good code, and choose the proper language for the proper task.

    If you want to learn Cocoa, start with either Java or Objective C. Just don't stop there; learn about the differences between them. Learn languages that follow other paradigms. Also, when you've had a little bit of programming under your belt, buy a book like "Essentials of Programming Languages."
  9. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2005
    The "… for Dummies" series of books are great!
  10. PaulW macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2006
    Suggest BlueJ

    I strongly recommend the book "Objects First with Java" for learning programming. I have used it a bit with my teenage boys to teach them something about programming, and it seems very good to me.

    At the same time, you can get into the RoboCode world and have fun building battling robots and at the same time learning more about programming.

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