is an update to the freely available programming environment – (free as in free beer: tasty, fresh, makes your brain spin). This update does not have many new features, but a lot of optimization / bug-fixing under the hood. The greatest thing about Processing is that it creates an environment where it is so much fun again to just code stuff – it’s amazing what it let’s you do after just a few hours of tinkering with it and a few lines of code. And it’s all java underneath, but keeps the depths hidden for the newbies while offering plenty more for the pros to dive into. Officially : “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.”
No hype, that pretty much nails it. Of course, I myself am using it for visualisation of proteins and related data. But it’s more than just pretty pictures – the possibilities extend into the “real” world (check out arduino, 3D printing etc.). For example, the fund-raising T-shirts feature an organic structure of an early sketch of the Seed Lamps at n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com. Beyound lamps, jewelry etc. the guys at nervous system created some nice processing applets (3d subdivision surfaces, particle systems, diffusion-limited aggregation) using reaction-diffusion simulations and rendered them using sunflow.
There are quite a few videos of processing-based visulaisations (usually including code) out there demonstrating what can be done with it – think flash for java, just waaay better. Watch this space for more to come! I caught the bug about half a year ago – to me it’s probably one of the best things that happened to promote computer science in a while! If you wanted to learn programming anyway but thought that java was too much object-oriented overhead, C(#/++/..) too scary and platorm-dependent and SCALA still to esoteric – this is it! Just what turtle-graphics was for Pascal (on the MacII) , this might do the same for java just 25years later.