The first reason you might want to learn to program is to make some money. Either by working for an employer or by selling your own products.
Maybe you are already working in a technical environment and you need a utility to solve some problem or to make life easier by creating software to carry out a repetitive task.
Whatever the reason, you will soon discover that creating working software is just fun. The utilities you create work exactly the way you designed them. If a feature is missing you can add it straight away without having to wait for someone else to publish a “new” version. None of this compares with the joy of seeing other people using your software either for pleasure or helping them do their job better.
There are many computer and device programming languages. Your choice depends not only on the features and libraries available for your development language, but on the type of application that you want to develop and the platform that you want to run it on.
Programming code may be in the form of scripts which are read by a compiler when the user runs them. This is most suitable for internet applications where the owner of a web server or the user of the application does not wish to give the application developer full control of the device that it is running on. Script based applications have a disadvantage that using the compiler at run-time slows down the application.
Applications which are developed where the code is compiled by the developer into a stand alone executable file offer the fastest possible running applications and give the developer full access to the hardware that the application is running on.
The most common programming language for compiled applications is C++ however Pascal offers much more human readable code and much better immunity from software crashes.
Programming is continuous learning curve but you can get results quickly with aa few basics. We will primarily use Lazarus although some Delphi projects are included. The beginner will probably wish to work through my projects in the order that I publish them. If you have some coding experience then pick a project that interests you and see if you can improve it. Please contact me and submit improved versions or new projects to make this web site better.
You need to have Lazarus or Delphi
Delphi is available for download here.
You can download the latest Lazarus development version from here or you might prefer an older, tested version from here.
I like to create a folder with sub-folders for the code
of all my projects to keep it all together for easy backup.
On a Mac or Linux this will be in your home folder. On Windows I like to keep the folder in the root of my “C:” drive however a folder in “My Documents” is just fine.
If you work as a programmer (developer) for a software house or contribute to an open source project, you must conform to the “house style”.
The novice is strongly urged to learn and comply with accepted way of formatting code to make it easier to read and maintain by other developers. Unless you have a good reason to use another style then this one as used in Delphi is strongly recommended.
Now is the time to start with one of my projects. The “Family Tree” project is a good place to start as it shows you how to plan, create and design a new project; get familiar with the Pascal language syntax and pick up some useful tips on the way.
My projects should be enough to get you started and to be able to create your own applications.
For those who also like to have a printed or on-line reference book there is a good one here written by some of the creators of Lazarus.
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