Programming for Poets

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* Helen Tout
* Helen Tout
*Tracy Jacobs
*Tracy Jacobs
* John Allbee - Greetings! I've never done this before and it's about time.

Revision as of 00:09, 4 May 2010

This is for everyone who wants to learn how to program but has told themselves it's "too hard."

I know how easy it is to feel dumb in the face of computers -- I do it every day -- and this will be a supportive and easy going group, with emphasis on hands-on learning rather than formal lectures. People will help each other as they get up to speed. I'm especially keen to reach people who think they "can't do programming" -- because they can.

(In a previous life I (Jon) was the head instructor for a large introductory programming course: I've taught hundreds of people how to program, and won a teaching award for doing it.)

We'll be using "processing" (, a simple yet powerful graphic programming language targeted to artists and designers. Learning to program a processing "sketch" is straightforward and quickly rewarding: you can get up to speed and produce algorithmic art and interactive games in a session or two.

Though it is simple, processing is a full-featured language, not a "toy": the concepts you will learn (variables, loops, functions, arrays) are fundamental and necessary for programming in any other language.

You can run sketches right in your browser with no download or install. Try it: (click on the top left arrow to run). More information, including downloads for all computers can be found at I suggest you try some of the tutorials: you may not even need a class!

sign up

If you might be interested, please sign up below. Thursday evenings look relatively free at NB, modulo Five_Minutes_of_Fame. We'll start at 8. If you are interested but can't make it because of the time, please note it and we'll see what we can do.


If you want to be able to jump right in, download and install processing from here:

and consider reading -- or better yet working through -- a tutorial:


  • Jon Foote (facilitator)
  • Doc Pop
  • Roberta Bryan
  • Morgan Tucker
  • Elizabeth McDonald - in for Thursday 5/6
  • Suzanne McNulty
  • Laura Khalil - would love to come but can't make it until 9pm
  • Helen Tout
  • Tracy Jacobs
  • John Allbee - Greetings! I've never done this before and it's about time.
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