I’m thinking about writing a (possibly interactive) book for beginning programmers, using Reprocessing as the language, and I would like your comments on the following.
First, I’m a big fan of Processing as a first programming language. It’s visually oriented, which makes it much more fun for students. (“Let’s write a program to make a circle move across the screen!” beats “Let’s write a program to calculate compound interest!” every time.)
One of Processing’s selling points as an introductory language is that you can start out by writing calls to graphics functions in their IDE, which ships with the language:
ellipse(50, 50, 80, 80); rect(10, 10, 30, 20);
click the Run icon, and it Just Works; no extra setup necessary. Installing the language and the IDE is also fairly straightforward.
I think Reason would make a good introductory programming language, and I’d like to use Reprocessing as the vehicle for its graphics goodness. The problems, as I see them, are:
- Installing ReasonML is non-trivial, and there isn’t a nice IDE like Processing’s. This could be overcome by having a web-based interactive book with “leaving the web environment” as a topic towards the middle or end of the book.
- You need to know a lot of ReasonML constructs to write your first Reprocessing program. The example at https://schmavery.github.io/reprocessing/ uses labeled parameters, modules, ignored parameters (
_state), and punning (
~draw). The last two of these could be avoided by returning unit from
setup()and not doing the punning, but you get the idea.
What do you-all think?