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A few questions came up in the last post, so here are some answers summarized for anyone who doesn’t read blog-post comments.
- What time is the class? The class starts at 7pm on Monday, August 6th, 2012.
- Can I just show up? I would prefer if you signed up for a ticket first, so I know how many people are coming.
- Is there anything we should have/know before the class? You’ll need your own laptop computer, we don’t have enough public computers to go around at Hive. I will briefly cover some options for text editors in a blog post or at the beginning of the class, but if you already have a favorite text editor like Notepad++, Gvim, or TextMate, then by all means use that. Also, it would be advantageous for you to setup some sort of webspace. There are some free places like 110mb.com, or you could even use the Public folder if you have a Dropbox account, which is quite convenient.
- Why not do <insert language> instead? That’s a really big question…
First, everyone already has the minimum tools they need to do it. At the barest, a plain text editor like Notepad and a web browser is all you need to do some quick programming. That ubiquity of availability means that you will never find yourself without the tools to practice your craft.
Second, that same ubiquity means that anyone else is going to be able to run your code. No need to install a Java or Python or .NET or C runtime, no need to install any libraries, everyone already has a web browser. And it’s pretty easy to write code that will run in all of the browsers on all of the operating systems. With a little more effort, it’s even possible to get the same stuff running on mobile OSes like Android and iOS.
You’re never going to get a C binary running on more than one operating system, and writing cross-platform C code that can be recompiled on the target machine (a task that no user should have to go through) can be difficult. There are some difficulties with getting Python, Java, and .NET to look nice across systems, and they also require the user to not only install a large runtime but also keep it up to date. And none of these are going to run on a handheld device straight off the bat; the libraries and APIs are often incompatible.
Okay, that’s it for now. Looking forward to seeing everyone in a week!