So, how boring am I?

Hi all, I've been wondering about this since I started using Processing. What programming education do people on this forum have? Since Processing is for "creative coding", one might expect it attracts non-programmers.

Would some of you describe their background?

As for me: I have no formal programming education. I did play around with a form of BASIC on Amiga back in the nineties, mostly for visual creations. Other than that, I've read The Nature of Code, and learnt what I know through the Processing documentation and examples.

Oh and also: how bored are experienced programmers by lame questions from people like me?


  • edited February 2017

    Like the old saying goes....the only lame question is the one that doesn't get asked. I'm an old retired geezer with too much time on his hands with no formal training in programming. My trail from start until now --> Sinclair ZX80, Z80 assembler programming, Quick Basic on PC's, Borland Turbo C, Borland C++ Builder, Visual Basic and Visual C#, and of course Processing which I find to be the most versatile, flexible, and easy to use environment yet. My learning aids --> Books, forums, example code, and asking 'lame questions' on forums. You're inquiry is certainly not boring.

  • edited February 2017

    And I'm not even old enough to be a qualified programmer, heck I'm not even an adult.

    I learnt programming in basic Java first, about three years ago, then tried shifting to other programming languages before I finally found Processing - the superb graphics libraries and easy to use IDE made it very easy for me "see" results of my code, something that I loved. And since then, I've been learning mostly through this very forum (besides Daniel Shiffman's Nature of Code).

    So I guess you realise, you certainly aren't boring. The only people who can "bore" the members of this forum are those who ask the same question in different threads instead of asking for clarification in the same one, and those who try to delete their threads as soon as the question is answered.

  • those who try to delete their threads as soon as the question is answered

    Why would anyone do something like this?

  • People try this, either when they are in an exam and cheat - or when they are afraid that people steal their code (plagiarism)

  • Anyone else on the forum care to describe their background?

  • My first experience of programming (1974) came when I was studying metallurgy at university. My year group was sent to the Computing Faculty to learn programming (just 2 weeks and included 2D arrays). The language was Algol, the computer a mainframe but we never got to see it. What we did get very familiar with were the IBM 80 column card punch machines. After university I joined British Steel Corporation as a metallurgist, but was soon spending half by time doing some real programming, first with Fortran and then BASIC, again on mainframe computers (including an old Honeywell Time Share).

    After 3 years at BSC I left with an addiction to programming. My first home computer was a Radio Shack Tandy TRS80 Model 1 followed by Commodore 64, an Amiga 500 and then a IBM PC . I programmed in Z80 Assembler, 6510 assembler and various dialects of BASIC. After a few career changes I arrived in Further Education (UK post 16 education) teaching students to program using BASIC, Delphi, Pascal, PHP and Java. While in FE I studied (part-time) for and was awarded an undergraduate degree in Computing. Eventually I became a Senior Lecturer at a local university where as well as writing software I taught C++, Java and OpenGL programming to undergraduate students studying computing and game software development.

    I was first introduced to the Processing programming environment in December 2008 and I was very impressed with the simplicity of creating graphical sketches. I very quickly decided to create a GUI library so I could have buttons, textfields etc. it started life called GUI Components and eventually became G4P. I had not realised there was already a library - controlP5 :\"> but then you can never have enough GUI libraries. :D

    In general I don't find the of forum members boring, sometimes irritating and annoying but not boring. There is one exception -

    There is one group of members that I do find boring, irritating and annoying all together. It is the student who wants help with an assignment but has no interest in programming, no interest in doing any significant work and expects others to do the thinking for them. I have no problem supporting an enthusiastic student who wants to learn how to program but I will not waste my time on the others.

    BTW to be fair I should say that I have irritated and annoyed others as well. C'est la vie

    For me the questions I enjoy most are the ones that
    + I don't know the answer but that I might solve, or
    + Require development of an interesting algorithm. or
    + Requires some advanced (for the questioner) syntax / semantics that the questioner can learn for future use.

    or some combination of the above 3.

    BTW I hope you don't find this extended comment boring ;)

  • Hmm, steel and code, I like that! Thanks for sharing, certainly not boring.

  • heck I'm not even an adult

    Some aren't even there at 40... :P

  • Of course, it depends on what interests the person has...

    And it seems @quark agrees with me on the point of students who don't want to do any work themselves and won't even bother to learn what they're told. The height is that some will go about deleting the posts just to make sure that their teacher doesn't realise that they have just plain cheated.

  • Hi all and please forgive my English… It’s a so general question that I can not not give my answer… I begun in the ‘76 with a home-build demo board with Z80, grown in 2 years to a PC with CPM (somebody knows what it was ?). I had no formal programming education other that some stack of Fortran punched cards. Absolutely not in the electronics or software fields, but I wrote all the software for my job (hotel) myself. First with interpreted BASIC, then compiled, then pascal, then DB3… and the list grows up. This all as hobby, as evening mind occupation, play and experiment. Then interest moved to sea…for a while. Now I play with HMI (Human Machine Interface) for marine and mobile applications. Processing, with the easy of use, the very nice graphical library, the java simplification/integration (may I say that ?) was and is a very good starting point.

    Why I do not actively participate at the forum ? I like to read, to look what other do, to look at the style, and why not (?) to steal some piece of software that I like, some time just a single instruction. Be warned!!! erase ASAP everything, there is a brain-work thief! I do not feel so expert to give specific help. I feel to be just an amateur, perhaps with some strange mixed competence that are not so easy to find about...

    What I definitely am not is a teacher, I have big difficult to explain really what I am doing: my friends say that I’m sitting all the day in my cavern surrounded from tiny to big screens with strange graphics on it… This is probably the main reason to not try to give answers to people asking for help…

    My answer to the Moxl question ? Being only an amateur programmer, I can not be bored by lame questions… sometime in an answer is hidden an interesting answer...


  • edited February 2017

    Just to add....I can't understand why any beginning, intermediate, or advanced programmer would not love Processing? The versatility it gives you by providing **EASY **access to the enormous Java libraries is nothing short of awesome..!!

  • @clauson cool, thanks for sharing.

    @pxgator I once tried to install a proper Java development environment on my computer. All is got was very confused with the libraries and the packages. Frustrating.

  • I started programming around 1984 with Basic (on an Apple IIe iirc) and Pascal (on a main frame), both in our school. Later Pascal on a ibm PC and also VBA which is the basic within Microsofts Office suit. My father is a programmer and he taught me a lot on our kitchen table.

    We had a voluntary group were fantastic elder pupils helped us newbies. Actually the motivation why I try to help others here sometimes.

    Later computer science became a regular school subject.

    But I am only a Hobbyist and thank processing because it's a fantastic approach and makes things so easy regarding 3D and visuals! And it has a great community.


  • @Moxl could you describe the problem you had? It's fairly easy to install just pure jdk (assuming jre exists). Just follow the intructions provided on the Java website.

    @pxgator There are some features in the Processing IDE that are quite irritating for certain developers...
    An example here-

  • @Chrisir The fantastic community is one of the reasons why I use Processing even when my projects have no/very little reliance on graphics.

  • edited February 2017

    @Lord_of_the_Galaxy...Irritating?...well I agree. However there are some workarounds for dealing with those irritating two' s compliment numbers. . Maybe later versions of Java will embrace unsigned char(uint8_t), unsigned int(uint32_t), etc.

  • @pxgator I guess you didn't understand because I gave a wrong link. I meant that by using color as a metaphor for int, we can't use color to name variables. There were other problems too, which I mentioned in some discussion, but can't seem to find it.

  • edited February 2017

    @Lord_of_the_Galaxy Well it was a while ago so I can't tell exactly what discouraged me back then, but I remember not understanding the principle of packages and their structure, and not being able to install any graphic library... We are drifting off-topic here, but here is the question: would I get a better performance out of my Java if I used a "real" jdk?

  • @Chrisir Cool, thx for sharing. Definitely some experienced people around, lucky community!

  • Huh? "Real jdk"? What's that supposed to mean?

  • I have no idea. I meant, you know. Using the "real" Java environment. You have to cut me a little slack here because I have zero knowledge in setting up development environments.

  • edited February 2017

    @Moxl -- do you mean, will your sketches run faster if you write them in an environment like Eclipse rather then the Processing PDE application?

    When a sketch runs, it runs in the same way -- on a Java virtual machine on your system, as bytecode. That's part of the entire point of Java. Assuming the versions of Processing and Java are the same I don't think you would expect any performance differences at all -- although maybe somebody will correct me if there are considerations I am forgetting.

  • @jeremygouglass yes that's what I meant. The thing is, I have a hard time understanding what Processing is to Java. Is it an IDE? If not, what?

  • edited February 2017

    @Moxl ....You might think about Processing and Java like this: Java contains many different types of parts and pieces to build hammers. A Processing sketch assembles the parts and pieces that it needs to create a nail gun. If the nail gun is not doing what you want it's usually possible to simply add one or more Java parts and let Processing build your new nail gun.

  • edited February 2017

    Processing includes a sketchbook, a minimal alternative to an integrated development environment (IDE) for organizing projects.

    Every Processing sketch is actually a subclass of the PApplet Java class which implements most of the Processing language's features.

    When programming in Processing, all additional classes defined will be treated as inner classes when the code is translated into pure Java before compiling.

    So: you write in the mostly-Java-with-lots-of-small-changes dialect Processing, which is mostly using the features of a single large Java library (Processing) that is silently included by default... then the Processing IDE built-in pre-processor converts the dialect code into pure Java... which is then compiled (drawing heavily on the included library) into a PApplet Java program and then runs like any Java program.

    Or you write Java in another IDE such as Eclipse without all the dialect features (like no required public declarations, or the color pseudo-data type). You include the Processing Java library explicitly and directly in your project; you don't preprocess, and simply compile-run a Java program which then runs like any Java program.

  • edited February 2017

    Okay! Thanks.

    So Processing seems attractive even to experienced programmers. I understand it is because to achieve the same thing with a "normal" setup (Eclipse...), one needs to install and use several libraries. For instance, you don't even have methods like rect() without installing some graphic library. Is this right?

  • edited February 2017

    You could draw rectangles using


  • (I think using CMD instead of an IDE will lead to an approx 1% (got value from somewhere, don't remember) improvement in speed, and using a .jar file (which is launched by the .exe created by Processing when application is exported) will give a further 1% improvement)

  • And when you import in Processing, are you actually importing libraries that are external to the Processing "bundle"? If yes, where are these libraries?

  • I am 28, did an introductory course of c++ in 2007 that I barely passed.
    Other than that I have no education in programming and no work experience.
    I tried years ago to learn random stuff. PHP, FL-Studio, Clickteam-fusion, tried learning javascript by watching video tutorials etc. but struggled when things got too complicated.
    Then I started playing hearthstone and didn't do anything productive at the computer, until now that I'm trying to visualize some "pseduoscience" of all things and found processing.

  • edited February 2017

    Yes, they are seperate libraries outside of the Processing "bundle". The .jar files of these libraries are placed in this hierarchy-


    Where "Processing" is the sketchbook folder.

    Note that when you export an application, these .jar files are also added to the folder created.

Sign In or Register to comment.