Posted in information, Monday musings, projects

Stranded release and Monday’s Musings 10: My thoughts on how people should learn to program


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Stranded part 3 has been released! It’s called “the end game,” and has lots of exciting things in it! I hope you enjoy playing this gamebook! If you haven’t played stranded part 1 or 2, they’re available on the game books page.

Monday’s musings post:

Ever since I got into programming and computers, I always thought certain things about being a programmer:
1. you must know multiple languages.
2. To learn a programming language, you have to read the whole manual until you get all the concepts.

However I have figured out that is not true.
The main thing that got me into believing that was the manual for BGT (blastbay game toolkit), a scripting language for coding audiogames, or games for the blind. That manual basically told you to read a chapter until you completely got what it was talking about, then move on. But I have realised that’s not the case.
When I first started learning Pure Basic, even though it was just about 4 days ago and I still don’t know it completely, I figured out that language didn’t have a chapter book to read. No, it had basically a list of the commands, and how to code them in. So instead of reading all of those, I came up with a plan, that I believe people should always use when programming.
1. The reference manual is called a reference manual for a reason. It’s not there just for a good read or 2, it’s there in case you need help at any point while programming. So don’t try to read the whole book, Read what you need, and keep looking back on it as you go.
2. learn by experience. When trying to lose wait or get muscle, you don’t just watch the fitness tapes or just listen to what a fitness instructor says… do you? If so, you might know how to do all those exercises, but you wouldn’t have developed the strength needed to do them. It’s the same with programming. You can’t just look at the manual and expect to know the language, you need practice. My suggestion, program as you learn. take my word processor for example. I didn’t know a lick of pure basic before I began coding it, but look where it is now. I have gotten this far simpley because I thought of a feature I needed, and looked at the reference manual for assistance. Doing this has taught me file management, menu creation, using enumerations and procedures, and even a few other handy tools I’ll need to use when programming.
3. Experiment. Sometimes, you aren’t always going to find the answer to your questions in the reference manual. On the occasion that this should occur, use your knoledge and experiment with code you think would work. Move some lines around. Delete or add extra words or characters. Either way, you’re not gonna get far without experimenting.
4. resources. The reference manual is not the only thing you can go to for help. There’s always the good old world wide web. Think about a subject in school. Would you learn math only using the textbook? No. You need a teacher (in programming, you’re usually teaching yourself), yes you’ll need the book sometimes, and you might also need the web. But either way, remember that the reference manual is not your only answer.
5. And the final thing I’ve figured out about programming, is that you need to stay determined. Programming is not a skill you can pick up over night, it takes time. Get frustrated. Back away from your computer. It’s going to happen sometimes… but stay determined and motivated. Don’t let anything or anyone hinder you.

I hope this will help people is it did for me. And if you’re wondering how this qualifies as a Monday’s Musings post, I am sharing my thoughts on learning programming, and how I think it should be done.

So if you guys ever become a programmer, take in mind my advice–because it might just help you some time.

Thanks for reading,
Type you later,
Steve.

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