Amazon

A few recommended books, movies, games, and albums. If you want to look for more recommendations, feel free to look at the larger selection over at Amazon or my Amazon Store with more recommendations.

  • Man School: lessons on love, power, honor and purpose
    Man School: lessons on love, power, honor and purpose
    by Michael Bronco
  • Cryptonomicon
    Cryptonomicon
    by Neal Stephenson
  • Programming in Objective-C 2.0 (2nd Edition)
    Programming in Objective-C 2.0 (2nd Edition)
    by Stephen G. Kochan

    An outstanding introduction to the core of the Objective-C language.

  • DreamCypher
    DreamCypher
    Dancing Ferret
  • Tron: Legacy (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [+Digital Booklet]
    Tron: Legacy (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [+Digital Booklet]
    Walt Disney Records
  • Cocoa(R) Programming for Mac(R) OS X (3rd Edition)
    Cocoa(R) Programming for Mac(R) OS X (3rd Edition)
    by Aaron Pablo Hillegass
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
    The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
    by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Hot Fuzz (Widescreen Edition)
    Hot Fuzz (Widescreen Edition)
    starring Jim Broadbent, Kenneth Cranham, Timothy Dalton, Julia Deakin, Patricia Franklin

Entries in bb (1)

Monday
Dec202010

Getting Started With Programming: Tools of the Trade

In programming, the actual "code" programmers create is merely written text, and programs are little more than text files. As a result, the most important tool anyone can have is a solid, reliable editor. Sure, you can use Notepad to whip up a batch file, or TextEdit on the Mac, but most projects require more than Notepad provides, while the rich text features of Wordpad or TextEdit will only get in the way.

The nice thing is that to get started you don't have to invest a lot of money in fancy IDE's (integrated development environments) or hours downloading the hundreds of megabytes of XCode or its equivalent. The Eclipse IDE for Java - while fairly large still smaller than Xcode - is free, and most web or Perl/Python/etc. development can be done quite nicely with a broad selection of free editors. Outside of Java and Cocoa (Mac) programming, all of my coding is done in BBEdit.

On the Mac-only side, I recommend getting started with Textwrangler - the "lite" version of BBEdit. Despite missing some advanced features it has the critical ones - syntax color hilights, multiple-file searches, regular expression searches that let you search by pattern definitions, and my favorite file comparison tool for displaying the difference between two files.

For Windows, check out Notepad++.

Finally, for free, ridiculously powerful, and cross-platform (including Linux) there's Vim and Emacs. Both have all the features you need and then some, come in command-line and GUI variants, and have fanatical adherents who will tell you at the drop of a hat why Vim/Emacs is awesome and the other one sucks. No matter which one you choose, you'll end up with an editor powerful enough to handle your needs for years (One of the guys handling FX for the movie 2012 uses Emacs for handling 3D render programming...).

For more suggestions, take a look at this lifehacker page on the best text editors.