Codecademy – A Fun Way to Learn Programming

Learning programming through books has never been an easy task and it’s quite frustrating to learn it when you don’t tend to understand the logic. At least for a beginner it’s a heck of a job. Although having gone through several resources like, video tutorials, bookmarking online tutorials, and so on, but for some reason, you still don’t get a hang of it.

It was the same case with Zach and Ryan who were frustrated with learning how to program, and ultimately came up with an interactive way to learn programming by actually coding. They teamed up to create Codecademy, a web-based interactive programming tutorial that enables you to learn, and walks you through the basics of JavaScript.

Codecademy launched back in August 2011 and drew a whopping 250,000 visitors in its first four days and a total number of 2.1 million exercises were completed. The site teaches coding from the very basics, like declaring variables, and go as far as ‘While’ loops.

When you visit you will be prompted to complete the first lesson, which involves printing your name and finding the length (number of letters) of your name. However, as you progress, you will have to set up an account in order to save your progress and continue with the tutorials.

Codecademy - A Fun Way to Learn How to Program

The lessons are pretty straightforward and can be easily understood. It has a sidebar on the left hand of the screen, which will instruct you to perform a task. On the right, you will have a terminal where you need to enter the code and execute the same. The site interactively responds to whatever you code, be it correct or incorrect, or may prompt you to reuse something you have learned in a previous lesson, thus making you feel interested in learning and accomplishing the task.

Another interesting catch is that as you progress through the lessons, you will start to earn some points, badges and trophies. This is something which will motivate you to perform more operations and mostly without any mistakes.

Codecademy - Achievements

Go ahead, give it a try. I’m sure you’ll love it!

I just gave it a try and completed a few lessons in no time. It’s that easy –

Course Progress

Codecademy does have some pretty good investors, including Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly, SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Social+Capital Partnership, Thrive Capital, Crunch Fund, Collaborative Fund, Founder Collective, Joshua Schacter, Vivi Nevo, Naval Ravikant, and several others. Few days back, the company announced that it has managed to raise $2.5 million in funds, led by Union Square Ventures, which has allowed Codecademy to expand its operations to more countries with more manpower.

They have also launched  their  first user generated course, created by – Albert Wenger, a partner at Union Square Ventures, who is the author of “Functions in JavaScript,”.

Small Basic Allows Kids to Learn Programming

After more than two years of pre-release versions of Small Basic, Microsoft has finally released Small Basic 1.0. Microsoft Small Basic attempts to put fun into computer programming. With a friendly development environment that is very easy to master, it eases students of all ages into the world of programming.

Small Basic

Small Basic is a project that is focused  on making programming accessible and easy for beginners. It consists of three distinct pieces: the language, the programming environment, and the libraries. The Language is inspired by an early variant of BASIC but is based on the modern .NET Framework. The Environment is simple but rich in features, offering beginners several of the benefits that professional programmers have come to expect. A rich set of Libraries help beginners learn by writing compelling and interesting programs. Just like the early variants of BASIC, Small Basic is imperative and doesn’t use or expose beginners to concepts like scopes, types, object orientation, and more. It consists of just 14 keywords and there isn’t a type system.

Small Basic is quite different from Visual Basic. It is much smaller than VB and supports just a subset of what VB.NET supports. Also, Small basic is a tool for learning programming while VB.NET is a professional development tool. Small Basic is different from QBASIC as well since it is based on .NET Framework.

Small Basic

Small Basic is a programming language that is designed to make programming extremely easy, approachable and fun for beginners. Although developed for kids, even adults that have an inclination to programming will find Small Basic very helpful in taking that first step. To get started, all you need to do is download and install the Small Basic software. You can then use the Introducing Small Basic (PDF) document to help you get started with Small Basic.

Share Cheat Sheets and Programming Stuff With QuicklyCode

With the titanic amount of information on the web, it gets harder and harder to organize content so it is easily available without complex searching. Well, if you are a web developer or programmer, you don’t need to worry about that as QuicklyCode is a great resource to find all you need.

It is a community of programmers and developers to share cheat sheets, code snippets, widgets, tutorials, info graphics and even apps. Everything is categorized and can be browsed through using the tag cloud or searched using a keyword. The categories include programming languages like Fortran, C++, Python, design tools like GIMP, Photoshop, Illustrator and even simple platforms like WordPress, Facebook and Firefox.

You can download the information, rate it to provide feedback as well as read and post comments. Each cheat sheet includes information like author’s name, date of upload and a link to author’s website. If you think you have worked some info that can help other people, feel free to upload it to QuicklyCode. The collection is not huge right now but the more people start using it, the more beneficial it would get. Think about how much time it can save you if you can borrow code for something specific instead of spending hours writing  and debugging it.

Are Developers Catching up with all the Multicore Hype?

Are Developers Catching up with all the Multicore Hype

Multi-core is the way of the world nowadays. Every computer and high-end handset is being equipped with a multi-core processor with Single core processors on the verge of becoming obsolete. However,  how far has the average developer lived up to this?

IEEE Spectrum puts it in the best possible way with the words,

The semiconductor industry threw the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass when it switched from making microprocessors run faster to putting more of them on a chip doing so without any clear notion of how such devices would in general be programmed. The hope is that someone will be able to figure out how to do that, but now, the ball is still in the air.

However, the idea sounds good on paper and is not that easy to implement. A multi-core environments and multitasking programs needs us to maintain IPC (inter process communication) at large with the help of which, processes synchronize their operation. Apart from that, we also need to implement effective thread management. Threads, as we know are again slaves of the thread API we use to create these programs and then there are CPU hit and miss factors and load balancing. All this combines into a notorious little world of endless problems and possibilities and the programmer is solely responsible to make that world a better place much like the Batman of Gotham City.

There have been many ideas talking about alternative solutions like creating languages that would automatically multitask and reuse per-calculated results. These are again, full of flaws and exploits. So, what do we have here overall?

No doubt, the processors are rolling out with more cores than ever. They are going from two to four to sixteen (the AMD Bulldozer for instance). However, what have not changed are the awareness and the level of expertise amongst programmers to make effective use of these processors. Let us see how the developers live up to this in the next few years.