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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
  • JavaScript: a powerful enhancement to HTML
  • FGL: for tying HTML and JavaScript together – and everything else

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.

The following provides a link to a good introductory site for HTML and JavaScript. There are plenty of others, but this one is pretty good:

Click here to access the HTML and JavaScript tutorial site...

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!