PHP’s, Rubies, and Pythons…OH MY! – Breaking into the World of Programming.

September 20, 2012 at 12:51 am 3 comments

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Hello Math 120 students, My name is Bob Kinsloe and welcome to my first post! Hope you enjoy.

I had never intended to get into programming, it just sort of happened. I was originally just interested in graphic design and illustration and that’s how I started off my collegiate career, as one of those kids. Yeah. Art students.

My love of art and design soon brought me into digital media including of course, the web. The possibility of being able to bring my designs to the web where millions of people could see at the click of a button fascinated me. Many people can make a living purely being a web/graphic designer, but I wanted more. I wanted to know what made these websites actually tick. The itch was nearly painful. I bought up a domain name, installed WordPress, Photoshopped a design, and hacked away at the base WordPress code until my design was not just a static .psd file anymore, but dynamic .html, .css, and .php. The ball kept rolling and I actually ended up landing a job working for TheChive for a bit!

It’s those languages like HTML, CSS, PHP and others that are really what make the web run. Facebook? Built with PHP. Hulu? Built with Ruby. TheOnion? Built with Python. Looking to create standalone desktop applications? C# is a good way to go. Or maybe you want to make the next great first person shooter game, in which case C++ could be your friend.

Ok maybe the whole web/software programming might not really be your schtick, so why bother trying to learn a computer language when high school Spanish was more than frustrating enough? I can think of a few. At it’s most basic level programming is logic, and I can’t think of a better way of learning how to think and solve problems logically, other than listening to your MAT 120 instructor’s lecture of course…

Not only that but our future is headed, and has been headed for some time, towards a completely computer immersed society. There’s at least one country that seems to have realized this and has even begun to incorporate programming in first grade curriculum! It’s really not about trying to turn the world into a population of software engineers, but rather proactively helping people understand the technology around them – tools that could become as common and useful as say, changing your oil. If this step into learning programming early on takes off, I would expect some great and interesting things to come out of Estonia in the not so distant future.

Alright, maybe now I have you convinced, maybe not. If not, that’s okay. I’m sure there’s butter to churn or something. Kidding, but seriously now you may be wondering why there are so many damned languages in the first place.

Well, that’s a question that could take much more than another article to explain, but you can argue that they all more or less serve different purposes. The TIOBE index keeps tabs of the top 50 or so languages with regards to factors like relevance and popularity. #3 on that list, Objective-C, was only #43 5 years ago. Why did it get so popular so sudden? Answer: The iPhone. Native applications in iOS are written in Objective-C. This is in contrast to native applications for Android phones which are written in Java. Both languages can accomplish pretty much the same things by themselves, the differences come down to things like performance and speed on their respective operating systems.

Alright so hopefully I have at least sparked your curiosity in diving into some programming, so I leave you with a fun little way to get your hands dirty with the elegant and powerful programming language known as Ruby. Click here to try Ruby!


Entry filed under: technology. Tags: .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. philprof  |  September 20, 2012 at 8:07 am

    If you are majoring in the College of Business at ISU, you will need to demonstrate that you have basic knowledge of how to use a piece of software called “Excel” because Excel or similar software is used so extensively in businesses everywhere.

    Excel can be used for basic bookkeeping and much more; for example, it can alphabetize a list of a thousand names, or create a graph to illustrate and summarize a set of numerical data.

    Even though Excel is not considered to be a programming language, to use it, you create formulas, write commands, and generally do the very same kinds of things that you would do if you were programming. So, essentially if you are going into business, you will be doing programming.

    If you are not going into business, you can use Excel or free cut-down copy-cat software for your own personal use.

    • 2. bobkinsloe  |  September 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

      That is a great point, some of my business major friends also had to dabble in some SQL when working with Microsoft Access, and even some Visual Basic as well.

  • 3. Anonymous  |  September 24, 2012 at 12:21 am

    wow that’s really cool you worked for The Chive! love that site!


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