Programming is Fun Again with Processing

Have you heard about Processing? I was introduced to it indirectly through the Arduino microcontroller board I picked up a few months ago, which uses a variant of Processing for its development environment. Processing is essentially a Java-like language oriented primarily toward programming in a visual context: i.e. making graphics. It might also be the most fun I’ve had programming anything since I wrote a Mandlebrot set generator in CBM Basic for my Commodore 64. The immediacy of seeing something happen graphically as you code is like getting a cookie every time you hit “compile”.

Having a few days off over the holidays means I’m able to spend time playing with code a little, so I wrote what the Processing folks call a “sketch”. Here is the result (you’ll need a Java plugin):

No Java Plug-in screenshot

“Tendrils” code.

Fun stuff! And I haven’t even touched the 3D portions of the API, which look very tempting.

Processing also has a lively community, including a Flickr group which has a lot of beautiful Processing-generated images. The brilliant John Resig of jQuery fame has even ported the language and large portions of the API to Javascript, using the canvas element available in modern web browsers.

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