100% New to programming, have an idea for my first program

June 10, 2012 at 22:40:48
Specs: Windows 7
So basically, I've never programmed a thing in my life, but we all have to start somewhere.

I am very proficient with getting my way around a computer and Windows itself, so everyday computing is very easy and I can understand most thing when people just talk about things in Windows.

Anyway, I'd like to learn a programming language that is versatile yet comparatively simple.

The first program I'd like to write is a program that will output letters in all capital letters, regardless of the input case. I am aware that there exists multiple programs that do this, but I'd like to write one myself.

If I'd like to learn to program, what language should I start with, and where should I start at?

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June 10, 2012 at 23:14:54
"versatile yet comparatively simple"


try QB 4.5

Life is too important to be taken seriously.


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June 11, 2012 at 00:12:03
It runs on DOS... :(

Forgive me for my stupidity, but Is Visual Basic the same thing, or no? I have a feeling that it's not, but I never expected my first language to be based in DOS.

Could I use DOSBox to run it, or does it have to be a legitimate DOS shell?

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June 11, 2012 at 01:16:45
Any programming language will suit for that particular example. As you use Windows I would suggest downloading Visual C# Express from Microsoft and playing with that. It's a logically structured, modern language, is fairly easy to get to grips with, but is versatile enough to be used for just about any program. And the syntax is very similar to C++ or Java so you would have no difficulty adapting to them if you wanted to program on other platforms.

To my mind it would be a mistake to go for one of the "simpler" languages like BASIC, which won't really give you a very good grounding for more other languages. (But if the idea of C# frightens you there is always Visual Basic Express - I just don't think it's such a good choice.)

There are loads of good books about C# programming (some from Microsoft Press, or the Dummies books are good) plus loads of online information.

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June 11, 2012 at 05:55:44
I too recommend C# if you plan on programming for Windows environments. (Download) I do disagree that its abstractions are any different from modern VB.NET, but the popularity of C# makes it a better choice.

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June 12, 2012 at 14:18:54
And what about this QB 4.5? Was that just meant to be funny?

And, if not, why would one assume I have a version of DOS to begin with?

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June 13, 2012 at 05:53:00
You should probably assume people talk from their respective domains. Mechanix2Go might still regularly interact with DOS, so he wouldn't think anything of it. If you're in a DOS environment, BASIC is a good choice that comes from a simpler time.

If I used Macs, I probably would have suggested Objective-C, and then I'd point out it's what you need to know if you want to get into iDevice programming. Instead, I use Windows, and because I'm mired in the whole .NET ecosystem, I suggested C#. If I actively used Linux, I might have suggested Python. If I hated you, I'd suggest Java, and then I'd point out it's what you need to know if you want to get into Android programming.

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June 27, 2012 at 20:42:51
QB is not restricted to DOS. It WILL run fine in dos "box" (cmd.exe). It has a built-in (non-online!) help, and is easy to work with. It can do basic stuff, but vis-basic is necessary for serious windows interaction because it is object-oriented. If I were just starting out programming, I would play with Qb, then work up. You should find it online, but if not, I'll send it to you. (ps: it is compilable into .exe cutable as well.)

An added benefit is QB is upward-compatible with VisBasic, and the syntax for both is the same, effectively. I have compiled QB programs usiing the VB compiler with no errors. As to programming in general, logic is the fun part, imo, and syntax is the tedious part.

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