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Penny for your thoughts

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First post, won't be the last :D Okay, so I have about a month until my college course in computing starts. The course I'm doing will include Java programming amoung other things. I've never done any programming before (except for a few programs out of a C++ book but that can hardly be counted) but I have looked into it in a reasonable amount of depth and know that game programming is definately what I want to do with my life. This course will last a year, and university after that will last 4. That's 5 years to get upto a decent programming standard. It appears the first port of call will be Java.. is Java worth learning if I plan to move onto C++? Is Java a good starting point? Can anyone recommend me some Java books or websites? Any help appreciated! Thanks.

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A lot of colleges teach Java before C++ because supposingly Java makes OOP easier to learn and understand. It is more OOP based, so moving to C++ is no problem. It is supposed to be easier going from OOP to non-OOP programming (Java or C++ -> C) than the other way around (C->C++ or Java).

A good Java book is "Java How to Program" (any edition).
Enjoy!

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The biggest thing you will learn is how to think as a programmer. Learning a language is (mostly) just learning a new syntax. You are still able to apply the way of thinking that you have already learned. It will be a little different for you though going from Java to C++. You might have a hard time at first with pointers, but it shouldn't be too bad. I didn't have much of a problem doing the same thing myself. Starting with Java is definitely not a bad choice, even if you don't end up using it very often. It makes it much easier to get something running that actually does something, which in my opinion is most important as a beginner to keep you from losing interest right away. Go for it!

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C++ makes everything else look easy, so look at it that way. If you started with C++ having no prior programming knowledge, you could check into an anger management course as well. They pair nicely.

They good news is, once you've got the basic "programming jargon" down, most of it translates easily to other languages. I mean, a loop and an if() statement are all the same, regardless of whether it's java, C++, perl, or javascript. The only thing that gives trouble is learning the syntax (with C++ taking the cake on that one, perl close behind)

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You'll probably start by learning simple programming, then go on to classes. In the second half, they'll probably start teaching you GUI programming. If you want to do really well in the class, learn as much as you can about object oriented programming. I actually learned C++ a couple months before my Java course and I walked all over the class. If you want to be making games, the best resources out there are usually written in C++, so maybe you should just learn C++ for now. Trust me, everything they teach you in Java will be almost identical to what you learned in C++. Just my thoughts though.

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Like others have said, doesn't matter which language you learn first. If you plan on coding C++ primarily later on, then Java is probably a better starting point because it enforces OO design which will carry over to your C++ code.

Learning to PROGRAM is the hard part, not learning the language itself. Granted, some languages make this easier than others, and Java probably wouldn't be my first choice, but it's by no means the "worst". Stick with it and you'll be fine. Lots of businesses use Java, who knows it might come in handy someday.

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Quote:
Original post by leiavoia
C++ makes everything else look easy, so look at it that way. If you started with C++ having no prior programming knowledge, you could check into an anger management course as well. They pair nicely.


So, so true...

Personally, Losty, I would skip learning Java. It's no more difficult learning OOP in c++ as it is in Java. Except, java spoils you by keeping track of memory and having built-in support for graphics.

Here's a link to get started: Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days

- Stephen




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Thanks for all the replies!

I've put off learning C++ on my own from scratch because in all honesty, I didn't know where to start. Well, Java programming is half-way through the first semester which is roughly 3-4months away. Utilizing the website given previously and a book of my own (C++ A Beginner's Guide), will this be enough time to get past the initial stage of confusion if I start learning C++ now?

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Quote:
Original post by Losty
Utilizing the website given previously and a book of my own (C++ A Beginner's Guide), will this be enough time to get past the initial stage of confusion if I start learning C++ now?


You should consider years until you can say you feel comfortable with it. Basic and Pascal are good choices to start getting in touch with programming if you have no experience at all.

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Comfortable is a word I dream of with reguards to programming. I'm not completely lacking experience, my uncles both code and I've done some small programs. I guess I don't want to be too lost when college/Java rolls by ;]

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Qbasic looks promising. Maybe spending a few months getting started with a more basic language would help me more. I know I'll end up going in the same direction anyway, but I'd like this to be enjoyable!

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The massive book by Ivor Horton called Beginning C++ covers everything in the C++ language except some very advanced bits. It is structured very well in an easy to understand way. It's the book I began learning C++ with, although I had experience with Basic and Pascal.

I think assembly is more confusing then C++.

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