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Java, Javascript, Processing or Something Else?

February 20, 2009 | 9:49 pm

I’ve been using Max/MSP/Jitter for a little while now and often struggle, I think, due to a lack of any programming background. I’d like to learn another programming language/environment in the hopes that it will make me a better Max programmer. I often look at programming books when I go to a bookstore but am so overwhelmed by all the different languages that I never jump in and begin and just continue to struggle with Max.

Does anyone have any advice as to what might be a good language for a beginner to learn both in terms of ease of learning and also power/applicability in relation to Max? I’m sure this is a totally naive question but any advice/information about how to proceed is sincerely appreciated.

Thanks,
S.


February 20, 2009 | 10:21 pm

Start out with the javascript object tutorials. I’m relatively new to programing too and have found that studying javascript in Max was a good way to get going. Yes, there are a number of languages out there. Picking a program language is kind of like picking out a DAW. I think at some point you just have to stick with one and learn it. Once you master a language, you will begin to see advantages and disadvantages of others. Not to mention that you will have no problem going from language to language once you grasp the basics of programming. Good luck!


February 20, 2009 | 11:13 pm

I’d like to vouch for Processing. It’s a terrific introduction to the
basics. There are three books on Processing out now, each quite
different from the others (geared for different audiences), but all
three are good… Also lots of examples and other info at the
Processing site.

Sam Nichols

http://samnichols.net/


February 20, 2009 | 11:41 pm

Quote: Sub Avian Flow wrote on Fri, 20 February 2009 16:21
—————————————————-
> Start out with the javascript object tutorials. I’m relatively new to programing too and have found that studying javascript in Max was a good way to get going. Yes, there are a number of languages out there. Picking a program language is kind of like picking out a DAW. I think at some point you just have to stick with one and learn it. Once you master a language, you will begin to see advantages and disadvantages of others. Not to mention that you will have no problem going from language to language once you grasp the basics of programming. Good luck!
—————————————————-

I second that about javascript, it’s definitely a good place to get into the world of code, at least it was for me. Since you’re already familiar with Max you’ll see how easy it is to send data in to your functions. Processing is also interesting and has lots of docs all in one place for you to reference, plus plenty of examples. I personally have rarely used js or java within Max, but that’s more about my relative lack of experience with them versus Max.

Sometimes they are exactly what’s needed for a certain function, and can do it much more simply (one example was a prime factorization routine which I simply couldn’t figure out in Max but got it quickly in javascript… of course, there IS a way to do it in Max, but I just couldn’t quite get there). That said, there’s usually a number of different ways to accomplish things in code AND in Max, so it kind of depends on where you want to focus your efforts.

Learning some amount of coding logic, even with its inevitable frustrations and syntax/logic errors, is very useful to understand more of what’s going on computer-wise in general. It will also allow you to understand the connections/parallels between code and Max, which sometimes are obvious and other times not, and see where one approach is easier or more powerful than the other.

Even writing some "pseudo-code" to get into the idea of program logic, variables, conditionals, and loops is helpful, and at that point you don’t have to worry about picky syntax. Then gradually deconstruct simple code examples, change things one at a time to see what happens, see how you can break them and why, and on and on. It’s worth some investigation for sure.


February 22, 2009 | 5:43 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I think learning Javascript and Processing both would be very beneficial for me. Javascript I now realize is also the basis for Expressions in Adobe After Effects which is the tool I use for most of my non-realtime video. And Processing just looks like a really good platform for teaching programming to artists. Now I just have to figure out how to cram more hours in a day/night.

Best,
S.


February 22, 2009 | 1:26 pm

I am in the exact situation. I am just beginning to get into Java scripting my self and this was purely determined by the fact that I use Max so often.
The confusing thing for me , is that Java script is such a vast subject. I often get lost when googling the subject and often wonder "how could this benefit Max ??"

!! If anyone could recommend a book for the total Java script novice , This would be greatly appreciated


February 22, 2009 | 9:09 pm

Hey thanks vanille !! these are some sweet links !!


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