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Paperback: 450 pages
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (September 2, 2008)
Daniel Shiffman works as an Assistant Arts Professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Originally from Baltimore, Daniel received a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University and a Master's Degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program. He works on developing tutorials, examples, and libraries for Processing, the open source programming language and environment created by Casey Reas and Ben Fry. He is the author of Learning Processing: A Beginner's Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction and The Nature of Code (self-published via Kickstarter), a text and series of code examples about simulating natural phenomenon in Processing. For more information, visit www.shiffman.net.
In the past 10 months I have returned to programming computers, having taken a decade off doing such to produce dance music, work as a surgical nurse, and currently to do CAD/CAM programming for a stone manufacturer. In the nineties I coded a bit in pure assembly, but have never coded in a high level language, never one with objects or garbage collection, and honestly haven't coded at all for 12 years.
This book should have been the first book I picked up when I was staging my return, as it is the first beginner level programming book to hold my interest, and one which enables the user to work with first class multimedia applications while still coding at the beginner level. Data visualization has really taken off, and Casey Reas and Ben Fry's Processing language is a beautiful abstraction on top of Java for creating rich media, generative art, and visualizations.
I've built a small coding library of 75-100 retained books from the 400+ I bought from Amazon in the past 10 months, and this is absolutely the first book I should have read - without a doubt. Processing, the language, is an absolutely wonderful platform for learning to program - and I wish I could say that I first learned to program using this book and Processing.
If you are curious about learning how to program, "Learning Processing" gives you a much more interesting set of tools to work with for learning the basics - I think this will lead to continued interest in some who might otherwise give up early.Read more ›
This is my second amazon review ever in seven years. I mention this to emphasize how much I believe in this book. I teach an introductory programming class to artists/designers at a University. Finding a good textbook has not been easy. I am very happy to finally find what I consider the "missing" book. I will definitely be adopting this book as one of the required texts for my Intro to Interactive class in the spring. I am very impressed with the content. It is very well suited for my students who are not fluent (and are sometimes quite intimidated) in programming lingo and concepts:) Other books cover the fundamentals usually in one chapter, and get into the key concepts very quickly. This book is paced better for the novice, and, as another reviewer noted, is very friendly and inviting. Job very well done!
I just received this book yesterday, and I have to say that this book is probably the friendliest "instructional" book. I say instructional, instead of programming because as a designer, I can comprehend the concepts that Shiffman talks about. It's even friendlier than some Photoshop and Flash books that I've read through.
I have both Shiffman's and Casey Reas' book (last year), and I'm starting Shiffman's book. Casey's book is for intermediates. I would even recommend this book to high school students who are interested in programming, however, most high school students are professional programmers already (look at the kids that work on Facebook).
There are three popular books that teach Processing to a reasonably advanced level: this one, Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists, by Reas and Fry, and Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art, by Greenberg. They are all aimed at beginning programmers who are interested in graphics and computer art. They are all good books but Learning Processing is the best of the three. While they are all well written, the thing that sets Learning Processing apart is its overall organization. My impression is that Greenberg and Reas and Fry write like artists who can't wait to show you the next cool thing you can do; in so doing, they get ahead of the reader's understanding. Shiffman gets to the cool stuff, too - but every step is clearly spelled out and the skills and concepts build clearly and logically. I have all three books; this is the one I would choose if I could have only one but it's good to have all three because they each have different examples and a slightly different emphasis on advanced topics.
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I am a college professor at a small California Community College. I stumbled onto processing about three years ago, just when I was designing a new 'first course' in programming. I decided at the time to go with an existing textbook which used Java as a first language. I was not happy with the results.
When I got a look at the Shiffman text, I got excited about processing again. I used other material to supplement in areas such as number systems, Von Newmann architecture, and the rest. I introduced Processing about 1/3 of the way through the class and students picked it up very quickly using the text. We went through about 11 chapters in about 8 weeks, and students developed quite a few cool interactive and graphical apps with loops, conditionals, arrays, File I/O and even a few objects! And the best part is that they enjoyed it!
I gave students a 'Course Feedback Survey' at the end where they rated aspects on a scale of 1-10 (1 = strongly disagree, 10 = totally agree). They gave the question "The textbook did a great job of explaining the material" an average of 9 out of 10.
I am adapting the course to teach it fully-online next Fall, and I'm excited about using the Shiffman text again. I was able to contact the author who provided additional support for me to work up some decent PPT slides to use for the class.
The book goes well beyond what I am using it for, and introduces quite a few topics that I have not reviewed or used (yet). It has a good index, is sprinkled with graphic diagrams, and has excellent supplements online (example code and such).
I am also expecting great things from the students that used this book in their next programming class (standard CS1 with Java). I might even use some of the more advanced examples for my CS1 class too!
Congrats Daniel on a job well done!
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