Teen Programmers Unite  

  Getting Started with Programming
By taubz

So you want to learn to program?

You've come to the right place. Time after time a new member to the TPU community will ask on our message boards how to get started programming. To save you the trouble of asking, here are some suggestions for which programming language to choose.

Chances are, you already have QBasic on your computer. If you have Microsoft Windows, go to an MS DOS prompt, type qbasic and get started with your first BASIC program. BASIC is probably THE easiest language to learn. Although it is not at all powerful, it is a fairly good stepping stone to VisualBasic or C. It's also the easiest to set up, since you probably already have it. Some say this is not the best way to start programming, but it is a way.

Python - http://www.python.org/
Python is a simple and powerful language that should be easy enough for beginners to grasp yet powerful enough to handle complex programming. Check out the Python web site for more information.

Pascal is just a little bit more difficult than QBasic, but you are likely to learn more from it. It is a much better stepping stone to other structured languages, such as C. Delphi is similar to Pascal, but for Windows.

VisualBasic - http://msdn.microsoft.com/vbasic/
Based on the BASIC language, VB is a very powerful environment that allows you to create MS Windows applications very quickly. Though it lacks the processing power of most other languages, it is still quite useful. As with all Microsoft products, it comes with a cost. VB is a good stepping stone to other Visual or object oriented languages, such as Delphi or C++.

Other Languages
You might also take a look at Scheme (http://www.scheme.org/), Euphoria (http://www.RapidEuphoria.com), SmallTalk, or JavaScript.

For the brave...
If you have some experience in programming and are ready to take on a challenge, there is always C/C++. For more information, take a look at the QuickStart on C, linked from the main page of TPU.
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