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Learn the basics of creative coding in an hour

If you've ever fancied getting to grips with a bit of programming and have an hour or so to spare, check out this free online course.

How would you like to learn a bit of programming? Oh, we know, it can be a bit difficult; we've seen otherwise excellent minds reduced to jelly simply trying to comprehend some of the basics of Python. But don't let that put you off Hello Processing!

It's based on Processing, an excellently simple - and free - programming language built with designers and visual artists in mind. It's made so that you can quickly get impressive graphical results out of it, while at the same time learning some of the important fundamentals of computer programming.

It takes the form of an hour-long video tutorial, written and presented Processing expert Daniel Shiffman, split into short sections followed by time to write and modify a program. For the introductory part of each section you just see video, and then when you get to roll your sleeves up and write your own code the screen splits into three sections: the video tutorial, the code editor and the code display window where you see the end results of your program.

After a quick introduction explaining what computer programming's all about and what you can do with it, there are four main sections in which you'll learn how to create shapes, colour them in, use input to animate them and finally use touch or mouse click events to decide if the code does one thing or another. After this you'll know enough Processing to write your own creative programs and, hopefully, feel much better equipped to learn its more advanced functions.

Daniel's an animated and engaging teacher, and we reckon this is a much more rewarding way to get a handle on the basics of code than the dry, old-fashioned way of working through a set of written tutorials. If you have an hour to spare and you've always wished you had a better understanding of computers, why not give it a go?

Words: Jim McCauley

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