Learning to Code: Where to Start?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by ToomeyND, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. ToomeyND macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2011

    As part of the deal with my wife, I bought a new MBA with the condition that I learn how to code. However, I don't know where to start!

    I did some C in college about 6 years ago, and I remember a bit of the reasoning behind the logic of it. So I'm not too scared to get started, but I don't know where to begin.

    What language of programming should I start with? I don't have a specific goal in mind, but I want to get a better general grasp of programming. After that, maybe I'll find something that sparks my interest in terms of a specialty or programming language.

    Also, for whatever language you recommend, is there a certain program that I should get in order to run said language?

    Thanks for your advice.
  2. MrFusion macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2005
    Think of a (simple) app that your want to make. It's always easier to keep going if you have a goal in mind. But start simple with printing out something to the console before you try to make a full fledged graphical 3D game.

    Xcode (it's a free editor/compiler from apple) and objective-c are what you need if you want to develop for Mac/iPhone.

    If you want to make the next Facebook (or whatever website) you can consider ruby-on-rails or python.

    It can take months and even years to learn programming. It's fun though. :)

    So, what do you want to create?

    Edit: you don't have to be original either. Just pick something that you like to (re)create. Or something that would make your life/job easier.
  3. superscape, Mar 5, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014

    superscape macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire, UK

    I'd largely echo what MrFusion said above.

    I know you said you don't have a specific goal in mind, but I think you should probably work on having one first and then choose the most appropriate tool for the job. Maybe it might be a good idea to set yourself a simple dummy project which is "the sort of thing you want to do" and ask again?

    That said, all learning is good learning. If you start out learning one language and later decide a different language is the way to go then you'll find a lot of the basic concepts are soooort of the same which will probably enable you to pick it up quicker.

    Good luck!
  4. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    i am in a similar boat as the OP but minus the previous experience.

    I want an app that will allow me to track network usage:

    here are the desirable outcomes:

    1) separate Lan from Wan usage
    2) be able to display usage in both Kb, Mbit and MB
    3) be able to show usage per app - per given time period as well as total as well as in real time.
    4) be able to show usage per interface in the same format as above for trunked connections.
    5) have the option to monitor smart-switch via SNMP v3. preferably. (not bent on having this part)

    Any ideas where to start?

    Thanks in advance.

  5. superscape, Mar 5, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014

    superscape macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire, UK
    Networking really isn't my strong point, but maybe you might want to take a look at "nettop".

    Open your Terminal (from /Applications/Utilities) and type 'man nettop' to see the instructions.

    Also "netstat" might be helpful.

    I'm sure there are more elegant methods...
  6. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    To the OP: I would suggest Python. It's my favorite language and strikes me as the easiest to learn. You could use the free eBook Learn Python the Hard Way.

    Python is a great option if you want to make an app without a GUI. If you want a GUI and you want it to run on OSX. Linux, and/or Windows, I'd go with Java. If you want a GUI but for it to only run on OS X and/or iOS, you should learn Obj-C. And if you want to make games, you should learn to use Unity.
  7. mizzouxc macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2010
    I'd start with python, it's amazing. Look at code academy to get started.

  8. Supermacguy macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2008
    Learn C (again) and Objective-C. For Mac-based programming, it's the way to go IMO. If you can learn by book well, check out the Big Nerd Ranch books- they walk you through projects with increasing complexity and touch on a wide range of topics.
    For an app topic, make an app that inventories your household items and allows place for a picture. This could be Desktop or iOS.
  9. ToomeyND thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2011

    There seems to be a lot of respect for Python and Obj-C.

    If I were going to learn both of them, is there one that may be better to start?

    I had signed up for code academy in 2012, and never got around to doing it. However, now that the laptop is on the way, it will be a bit easier for me to do around the house. Should I do python, I will definitely check out code academy again.

    As I said at the beginning, thank you all for your recommendations. I definitely think it is narrowed down to these two now.
  10. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Learning to code is hard. Many fail. So pick the language that looks easiest, and your chance of any success will be a lot better. Move on from the easy language when it actually starts seeming easy.

    A book on Python for kids looks to be on the easier side for many, compared to a book on Objective C for adults.
  11. Dolorian macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    For programing this course by Simon Allardice from Lynda.com is really good to get you up to speed on the basics:

    Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals (you can watch it for free on thier site).

    After that it depends on where you'd like to go, if you want to do Objective-C I second the Big Nerd Ranch Books or the courses by the same Simon Allardice in this topic.
  12. larswik macrumors 68000

    Sep 8, 2006
    Everyone has said pretty much everything about ideas to start. But since you have C, brush up on C again. Move at a pace you are comfortable with. There was one poster on this forum who started and read a C book in a few weeks and was almost as confused at the end as he was when he started. He read the pages but didn't give it time to sink in.

    I spent a year learning C and then Objective c before I even started with Cocoa, Apples GUI interface. This forum and books was the key to helping me succeed.

    But one thing I always say, and is true, you will never master programming since it is always changing. You will just get better at it the more you do it.

    There is a Nerd Ranch book that runs you through C in 90 pages or so and then to object C. Since you have C already this may be a good refresher and then to Objective C.

Share This Page