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Fairly frequently a relative, friend, or friend of a friend asks me “Hey Eric, you know about this stuff. I want to learn to program. How do I do that?”.

First up I like to understand what they expect to achieve (which often is at the level of  “Make the next World of Warcraft”) then after some expectation resetting, I start to share my wisdom Smile

In the past I have tended to point folks at:

SmallBasic - which is excellent, especially for kids

image

Kodu – which is focused on visually developing games and is extremely good

image

“Beginner Developer” site and the Visual Studio Express tools , for the “more serious” stuff

However today when I was asked by a nephew, I found myself ignoring the above and instead pointed them at the brand new (and still beta) WebMatrix. More specifically:

Job done.

Why? It is all about the 747 cockpit…

Increasingly when folks ask me this questions they really mean “learn to program the web”. Which immediately rules out smallbasic and kodu.

It is certainly ok to learn to program the web using the Visual Studio express tools but in many respects Visual Studio bears a striking resemblance to the dashboard of a Boeing 747 when looked at the through the eyes of a hobbyist:

image

When what they are really after is a Sidewinder joystick:

image

(tx Zenmaster. BF2 – what a great game!)

IMHO, WebMatrix = the Microsoft SideWinder joystick.

I always loved that joystick Smile

Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010 11:26 AM Web Dev | Back to top


Comments on this post: What do you recommend when asked “How can I learn to program”? aka The 747 cockpit vs SideWinder :-)

# re: What do you recommend when asked “How can I learn to program”? aka The 747 cockpit vs SideWinder :-)
Requesting Gravatar...
Seriously, it's an awesome joystick. I brought an original force feedback Sidewinder back from San Francisco over 10 years ago (after attending MacWorld) because I couldn't get it in the UK at the time.

I will have to look at WebMatrix, but I agree with the sentiment completely.

Whatever happened with FrontPage? I think there is still a lot of milage in a product like that, but everything I find that does it today sucks horribly.

Although, I would say the same of all HyperCard a-likes (although I think RealBasic is a great spiritual successor).
Left by Iain Collins on Jul 15, 2010 11:45 AM

# re: What do you recommend when asked “How can I learn to program”? aka The 747 cockpit vs SideWinder :-)
Requesting Gravatar...
Hypercard - now that takes me back :)

Frontpage became (ultimately) Expression Web. But Expression Web aint hobbyist friendly.

I still have my sidewinder precision 2 - just no pc for it :)
Left by Eric on Jul 15, 2010 2:10 PM

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