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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 1st November, 2009, 06:48 PM
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Learning to Program - Where to Start

So I know a TON about hardware, but almost nothing about programming and software. I'd like to balance these out for many reasons. I'm pursuing a physics degree and there seems to be a huge push right now to model complex physics using computer simulations. I'd like to start by learning Java. What's the best way to go about this?

Edit: I found this, seems to be a pretty good place to start.
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Old 2nd November, 2009, 07:02 PM
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Wellll..... there's the sticky at the top of this section: Starting points for all programmers!

If I ever get the time to learn to program "properly" (as opposed to using IEC-1131 standard programming tools), I'd start with Python, rather than Java. But that's just me.
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Old 2nd November, 2009, 07:42 PM
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Books are best for learning, I find. They're generally done to a higher standard than websites.

Websites are useful for quick reference.
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Old 4th November, 2009, 02:29 AM
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Rather depends on the book and the website, IMO, though in general I agree. I probably own 20 different electronics books, primarily because something that I was a little foggy on in one book was explained better in another one, while both books failed to properly explain (at least, in a way I could grasp) another item.

The same with programming.

However, web sites are a lot cheaper to access, and much quicker too.

I've found, though, that there's no substitute for doing. Obviously, you have to read some to get a clue how things work, but at some point, you've got to write and debug your own software before you really get a feel for how things work.

I'd probably follow Kaitain's advice and start with Python these days (even though I'm not a great big fan of Python). Python's syntax lends itself to learning programming without having to deal with a lot of arcane stuff (Perl has got to be among the worst languages I've seen for obscure, hard to read, and just plane arcane syntax).
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Old 4th November, 2009, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaitain View Post
Wellll..... there's the sticky at the top of this section: Starting points for all programmers!

If I ever get the time to learn to program "properly" (as opposed to using IEC-1131 standard programming tools), I'd start with Python, rather than Java. But that's just me.
Totally agree with this btw. Python burns many good habits into your brain, is an easy language, powerfully expressive, cross platform, and quite widely used.
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Old 5th November, 2009, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaitain View Post
If I ever get the time to learn to program "properly" (as opposed to using IEC-1131 standard programming tools)...
Doing a lot of PLC work, are we? AB controllers, I'm guessing?
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Old 5th November, 2009, 01:35 PM
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Maybe we should add a section for helping those who deal with ladder logic?
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Old 5th November, 2009, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonwalters View Post
So I know a TON about hardware, but almost nothing about programming and software.

.
So like your only one up on me!? ":O}
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Old 5th November, 2009, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Áedán View Post
Maybe we should add a section for helping those who deal with ladder logic?
You mean like 'Kiddie Korner', or 'Toys for Tots'?

Actually, I'm being a bit unfair. I don't have a lot of experience with ladder logic, but my impression of it is that it actually does what it is designed for quite well.
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Old 6th November, 2009, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmo View Post
You mean like 'Kiddie Korner', or 'Toys for Tots'?

Actually, I'm being a bit unfair. I don't have a lot of experience with ladder logic, but my impression of it is that it actually does what it is designed for quite well.
Damn Dude, That was cold!! LOL
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Old 7th November, 2009, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmo View Post
Doing a lot of PLC work, are we? AB controllers, I'm guessing?
Less PLC, but plenty of ESD and DCS.

Triconex controllers for ESD and Honeywell Experian PKS for DCS. The few PLCs on this site are all Siemens S7 (though I prefer AB's controllers).

Most of them are either programmed through function block view or structured text.

Quote:
Actually, I'm being a bit unfair. I don't have a lot of experience with ladder logic, but my impression of it is that it actually does what it is designed for quite well.
Ladder logic is a programming method for non-programmers designed to re-implement relay logic on these new-fangled electronic controller things. Which surprised a few old fossils still working, who'd only just started to trust relay logic after discovering they could no longer buy pneumatic controllers...

It's also responsible for the high incidence of mental illness among control systems engineers...
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