Resources on programming for very beginners


I am looking for resource on basic programming concepts, variables, functions, for loops and anything an absolute beginner needs to get started.

I teach Houdini at SVA and for next term I am thinking to use Processing to explain some fundamentals before going into how those are used within Houdini.

thank you

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This is my cut and paste post for those new to Processing:

One of the best tools in a programmers tool chest is knowing the resources available to you and learning to navigate and use them.

This is a very short list:

Resources < Click here to expand !

I encourage you to review the resources available here:

There may be something of interest in there for you.



Do have any preference for the Processing environment? (Java, JavaScript, Python, …)

That’s great, thank you for the quick response. looks pretty good

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Hello @ch3

Three resources for the absolute beginner I recommend:

1/ Abe Pazos’ playlist on youtube:

Starts with the most basic concepts and gradually builds, with very clear explanation.

2/ Khan Academy’s courses:

  • Intro to JS: Drawing & Animation
  • Advanced JS: Games & Visualizations
  • Advanced JS: Natural Simulations

3/ the textbook “PROCESSING: An Introduction to Programming” by Jeffrey and Larry Nyhoff

This book was written for beginners and has excellent explanations of what the code is doing under the hood.



Khan academy, has a great programming section with code from Dan Shiffman too, and it provides a live coding environment and a community that answers questions.

Hi @debxyz,

Can you elaborate on “under the hood” in the context of this book?
Brings back memories of me taking the engine on my Ford Falcon apart and “reseating the valves”.

I know I often go into source to see how the Processing “helper functions” work “under the hood”:

The map() function is a good example; in the Arduino they use integers and Processing they use floats.

I remember illustrating temperature conversion with the Arduino map() function and it did not work as expected. The reference commented on this and this was a good example for “knowing your references”. They also show the whole function for “For the mathematically inclined” in the reference.
That was actually the point of the exorcise at the time.


Hello @glv

I’ve been meaning to post about the Nyhoff book on the forum as I’m a fan of what the authors have done. At first, the book seemed deceptively simple and even repetitive at times. But, as I worked my way through it became apparent their goal to lay a solid foundation for students who have little to zero background in code of any kind is superbly executed. They provide a macro view of programming concepts and best practices and use processing as the vehicle to explain. Other books I have used appear to take the opposite tack of primarily teaching processing and overall concepts of programming follow. (***Disclaimer alert! :slight_smile: Please note, I appreciate the existence of both approaches and do not believe one is better than the other.)

Specifically “what the code is doing under the hood” re this book:
Every explanation of function covered is basically diagrammed so that the *novice coder can visualize where the math and logic happen and how the code flows from line to line.

For me, this book a hidden gem. I have yet to see any other posts about it and may write a more thorough user experience at some point.
But hopefully, in the meantime, this adds some clarity to my experience with their book as a teaching/learning resource.


*novice coder = zip, zero, nada programming; OR a bit of experience but still unsure what or why unexpected results for certain code solutions.


This is a very nice coding course for young kids - by Tariq Rashid. Totally FREE.

:boom: Highly recommended. :boom:



Note: This is the version (uses p5.js on - a website for kids). Mr. Tariq has also raw p5.js version and book format version of this course as well.


Yes, I’d love to see a more in-depth review – I haven’t gotten a chance to look at it yet.

A frustrating thing about wanting to use the Nyhoffs’ book is the textbook-market aspect: right now $62 in paperback, $59 as an ebook (!!!). The price is comparable to some other scholarly press works like Processing 2nd edition, but there don’t seem to be any cheap digital or aftermarket options at all, which can be really hard on students.

Yes, I totally agree! The price point on this is very high!!

Though, I have seen copies on amazon for less than half the list price. Quite by serendipity, I was able to snag one for under $30… But I don’t know how often this availability occurs.

Also, I just quickly checked on amazon and it looks like another option, while not optimal, is to rent. The first month is $16, and then an additional $4/mo thereafter. The downside of course is not having the book as a reference once the rental period is over. But perhaps this is not so crucial as the information in the book is so foundational one would not need to refer back after the concepts were learned(?).

I will certainly follow through on this. I have some definite opinions — largely positive, along with a couple of user experience suggestions — that I’d like to share… :slight_smile:

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