The best programming language for Creative Coding in 2022

Published by on Tuesday November 23, 2021

Last modified on November 8th, 2022 at 22:46


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Yesterday I got a message from a very nice person named Julia who is interested in my courses, but is not quite sure which programming language to learn. Like many of my students, she is afraid to make a false decision and wrong turn, so she asked me for my advice. Since this question is quite crucial, I am publishing a detailed answer today in the form of this blog post.

It’s not about the technology. It is only a vehicle. It’s about learning to think, and that happens in your head, not in the computer.

Hey Julia,

You decided to learn Creative Coding, or programming, which I am very happy about! You ask me about which programming language I think you should start with. This is exactly the question that reaches me very often, and in fact it is one of the biggest obstacles to getting started in programming. It is unfortunately the reason why many people resign very quickly.

I think I can take some of the fear away from you, because if you plan to learn programming, the language is less important than people think. It is more about recognizing patterns through programming. The vast majority of programming languages are based on the same basic principles. These include variables, functions, conditional statements and loops. The better you understand these fundamental concepts, the faster you will be able to learn any other programming language.

Now, you can still narrow down your choices since you are interested in creative work with programming. As you probably know, I myself primarily use Processing and p5.js for my teaching. I have very good reasons for that: From my point of view, Processing, together with its large global community and excellent documentation, provides a low-threshold entry into the world of coding for creative people like you. In this respect, p5.js and Processing are unbeatable. Furthermore, an infinite number of different projects can be realized with both languages. The possibilities are endless. Should you still reach the limits at some point, you will be able to switch to other technologies very flexibly with your skills.

In short: It’s not about the technology. It is only a vehicle. It’s about learning to think, and that happens in your head, not in the computer.

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