If you are new to programming and are considering learning programming, there are a few
questions you need to answer first. What do you want to do with programming? Are you
pursuing this out of curiosity, for a hobby, or for commercial benefit? Are the things you
want to create primarily for yourself or others? Do you want to create things for the web
or for the desktop? For a particular operating system (such as Windows, Linux, or Mac) or
operating system independent?
If you are also new to computers, you should first get a general overview on how
computers work as well as having access to a computer yourself. As for what type of
computer to get, it really is a matter of personal preference. The most popular computers
are Windows-compatible systems, which refers to the operating system that the computer runs.
This is the software that controls how you, the hardware, and software of the computer
interact. Other popular operating systems are Linux and Mac from Apple. Talk to your
computer-literate friends and co-workers to see what their preferences and recommendations
are, and make sure that the programming languages you are considering are available for
the operating system that you choose.
Programming, as it relates to this discussion, is loosely defined as the ability to
control and manipulate the operation of a computer by providing it with specific
instructions. The structure of these instructions is referred to as the programming
language, and the content of the instructions are limited only by your imagination and
the boundaries of the programming language you choose.
There are a number of excellent resources for learning how to program available on the
internet and at your local book store or library. FGL is a good candidate for someone first
learning how to program as it is very easy to learn yet powerful and flexible enough to suit
your needs as your experience and expertise grows. You can review the tutorials
and documentation as a means to introduce
yourself to the FGL programming environment.
Programming in a single language today can be limiting, especially if you will be
programming for the web or internet-based applications. The following offers a list of
complimentary languages that when combined provide a robust platform for almost any type
of programming requirement, especially the web:
- HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language): the language of the web
With basic comfort of these languages you will be able to create everything from simple
web pages to advanced interactive applications that include data manipulation, slick
interfaces, and even rich media such as audio, video, and imagery.
There are plenty of others, but this one is pretty good:
The great thing about programming languages is that once you are comfortable with the
general concepts of one of them you will find that most share these same concepts. This
makes learning new languages easier as you go.
And don’t forget that one of the best ways to learn programming skills in learning by
example. See how other people do stuff that interests you. Don’t be afraid to look at
other people’s source code (language instructions). Try and understand what they are doing
to make things work. The web is a great vehicle for this since you can pretty much look at
the source code of any web page simply by selecting “view->source” from your browser.
The FGL website makes it easy to see behind the scenes. Virtually every page
contains a link at the bottom to view the source code and often includes DEVNOTE tags
describing many of the cool features.
Don’t be afraid to explore, to ask questions, to exercise your imagination – to play.
It’s hard to explain the great feeling you get when a program you created actually does
something cool or useful – or both!