09 November 2010 ~ 0 Comments

What is Processing?

Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to create images, animations, and interactions. Initially developed to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context, Processing also has evolved into a tool for generating finished professional work. Today, there are tens of thousands of students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists who use Processing for learning, prototyping, and production. (source processing.org)

  • Free to download and open source
  • Interactive programs using 2D, 3D or PDF output
  • OpenGL integration for accelerated 3D
  • For GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows
  • Projects run online or as double-clickable applications
  • Over 100 libraries extend the software into sound, video, computer vision, and more…

NOTE: One common point of confusion for beginners is what “Processing” refers to. “Processing” is both the name of the language you program in and the program (IDE) you type that code into.

Getting set up

First go to processing.org and download a copy of Processing. You can download it with or without Java bundled in so if you don’t know if you have Java installed download the “with Java” version. If you are using one of the campus machines, choose ‘Without Java’, because they should all have Java installed already.

If you are on one of the machines in the 117 lab, please extract the contents of this ZIP file to the Program Files folder, so everyone can access it. Otherwise, just extract it to wherever you want.

Once extracted, just open processing.exe inside that folder to open the IDE. You might want to create a shortcut to that program on your Desktop to make it easier in the future.

Read more starting on page 54 of Programming Interactivity

Basic overview of the Processing IDE

  • Play/Stop – use these buttons to start and stop your sketch.
    You can also hit Ctrl + R to run your sketch (Ctrl + Shift + R for fullscreen mode). Hit Esc to stop your program
  • Tabs – you can manage multiple class files at once in Processing if you want to. Use the arrow on the far right to make new tabs.
  • Code Input – type all of your Processing code here
  • Console – Processing uses this area to display any error messages or anything that you print using print() or println()

What can you do with Processing?

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