intro to programming-- even if you dont know anything about programming

  • im in the initial stages (where i presume its more complicated than it probably is) of setting up one or two projects on rebus, hopefully.

    one is about computers, and the other is about coding. before i say anything else, let me say that this project: is a great idea, and it is linked to from the main page of the free media library.

    specifically, i have long thought that teaching coding using multiple languages is a great idea, and i havent found a better implementation of that idea than this one. i wanted to say that before i said anything else about my book.


    most programming books are (very understandably) written for people who want or need to learn how to code-- or who know already. if you are taking a computing class, either one that is mandatory or one you signed up for, these books can be very useful.

    i did not design my book for that, although i would be happy to have it used that way.

    rather, i have aimed for people who have little to no interest in coding, who are curious (or who youre trying to explain code to anyway) in the hopes that it can either be used:

    1. to help someone who is struggling with coding, to get them to where they dont struggle as much-- for computer tutoring

    2. to simply explain code and make it accessible to people who are not interested enough to really learn how to code

    i have always targeted an audience that isnt going to teach themselves or take a formal class-- and i have made notes over time on what aspects of learning to code scares and loses people the most.

    the result is a small language, with < 100 commands, with a variety of applications you can find demonstrated in this 23 minute video: (skipping around through it may give you a good idea if youre curious)

    and i wrote a book for it in 2016, which im in the process of working towards a second draft.


    but the reason for this post is, the language and the book have a philosophy that goes with them. the philosophy is really simple:

    1. people who are taking the time to learn to code want to feel like theyre “actually coding”-- though they may not care about this initially

    2. “actually coding” is frequently much more complicated than it needs to be, in a variety of ways

    3. the concept of creating a language around #2 is nothing new, and dates back nearly to the first compiled languages (and later to basic, logo and pascal)

    4. but there are other reasons to learn to code other than becoming part of an industry; and a beginner-level, but substantial beginner-level fluency in those concepts are great preparation for anyone who wants to understand computers or continue on to write professional applications

    i dont personally believe “teaching logic” is a “better” approach. teaching logic is fine, but an ideal intro to actual code is both easier (if you do it right) and more applicable (it actually does things.)


    so the “goal” of the book is to teach someone how to code, just like the other books. but the purpose of the book is not to teach someone how to code-- but to introduce or create a better understanding of code with as few distractions as possible.

    i like to write short books. i could pad them and may eventually combine them into longer books, which is important sometimes for selling paper copies (and covering larger sets of class material.) when the subject is kept as simple as possible, it is sometimes also shorter.

    above all though-- if someone likes this idea but feels their experience with code is too minimal, i am happy to teach or lend a hand to anyone here that is interested. (start by ignoring the feeling that your experience is too minimal. that could actually help this book, its aimed at those with minimal experience…)


    above all, i want to be very clear that when i publish something on rebus, it is a blank cheque to everyone: i have already put these works into the public domain, for anybody and everybody to do whatever-in-the-world they want to with them.

    thus, the invitation could not be more open. whatever “model” i prefer for these works, i can follow in my own “personal” versions.

    the versions i will put on rebus press (as cc-by 4.0) are not “mine” at all. theyre yours to take in a direction that benefits this community and its members, if thats possible. if you need my help at all, to help you make that happen so that it suits your purposes, we can probably work that out. first-come first-served, i would think.

    i feel comfortable stating that here, this community seems to have the right attitude and right resources/platform for this. ive done plenty of looking around.

    i will try to post one or two works that i hope have value as-is. but as far as tranformative edits go: dont be shy. “be bold” is already taken by wikipedia, i will go further: dont be shy-- its yours now.

    this is not a huge community, so i dont feel i am guaranteed any takers. but before you consider joining, i hope youll read this to get a better idea of the constraints you are not under.

    im not sure, but maybe the best way to make a fun book is to have fun making it. i encourage you to take a fun approach with mine-- fun is optional, but i leave it to you. cheers, and let me know if you need anything.


    p.s. i dont think theres anything wrong with a project having a leader with a certain set of goals for their project. my #1 goal with these works is having them tailored to the needs of this community, so thats why ive stated this here.

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