My History of Coding and Computers

August 02, 2008

Apparently one of the people Aaron works with called him out on his programming and computer use history and he posted his response on his blog. In that blog, he took the liberty of calling out a few of his friends, myself included. I put off responding because my computer crapped out on me again. Now that I'm back up and running, here is my response. Enjoy.

How old were you when you started programming?

Technically, we started writing BASIC on Apple some Apple IIe's (if memory serves me right anyway) in kindergarten. It was all very simple and I don't really consider it programming, but that would be the answer to the question. In grade school I started tinkering with QBASIC a little, making some simple calculation programs and stupid little things. I would consider this a more appropriate answer to the question since the kindergarten experience was more of less "copy what's on this piece of paper and see what it does".

What was your first language?

As stated in the last question, it was BASIC. I didn't actually play with anything besides BASIC until I was in high school and I took a class in C. Truth be told, I was more curious how computers worked than how to make them do what I wanted. I'm not really an avid programmer and I consider myself more of a scripter than a programmer. Still, I get paid to write HTML, PHP and Javascript all day long, so I guess I am a professional programmer. But I digress....

What was the first program you wrote?

Aside from some really simple QBASIC stuff (mostly to speed up math homework in grade and middle school), I didn't write a "real" program until the C class in high school. I did some things in a Hypercard class I took, but let's be honest, Hypercard doesn't really write "real programs." Anyway, our final project in the C class was breakout which was actually a pretty fun project. Learning how to do animation, collision detection and I/O through the arrow keys was pretty fun.

The requirements were as basic as you could expect, but you got extra credit for adding your own touches. I remembered playing versions of breakout that would move the ball at different speeds and angles based on where on the paddle you hit it and if the paddle was moving, so I added that to it. Overall though, it was pretty basic, but also a lot of fun. For whatever reason though, I didn't really care to write in C.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

Let's see if I can do this in order of when I learned them:

BASIC / QBASIC, C, C++, HTML, Access, Visual Basic, PHP, MySQL, CSS, Javascript, bash, Assembly (68HC11), VHDL, Python, Perl. Some I learned while I was in school, the scripting languages I learned pretty much all on my own and are really the only languages I care to use. I'm still learning Python and Perl.

What was your first professional programming gig?

Actually, the job I have now with Select Italy is the first programming gig I've had. You could call the freelancing I did before that job my first programming gig I guess, but it didn't make me a ton of money and I wasn't drawing a paycheck from it per se.

If you knew then what you know now, would have started programming?

I don't think I would have changed much. I probably would have spent some more time learning programming principles but I'm pretty happy with the languages I know.

If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new dh4>what would it be?

Even more important though, "release early, release often" is a good motto to live by. You'll never get things right the first time through. One of my co-workers said just yesterday "there's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over" and I think it sums up that mentality even better. I'm still working on taking that advice myself though.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had programming?

Ever since I learned the MooTools library, it's the only thing I've been wanting to look at. I think it's really cool to take something that was "finished", spend a couple minutes adding some flair to it and seeing just how much cooler it looks when you are done.

Who am I calling out?

There are a lot of people I'd like to call out, but none I know that maintain a blog. Since Jay still hasn't followed up on Aaron's calling him out, I might as well call him out myself.

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