There is nothing more exciting then producing your own program for the first time on a computer. And the computer you are working on right now is the only tool you need to begin writing the source code that will make up a program. Bookmark this page, because Teachtopia gives you all the tools to get going and tells you how to do it without buying commercial compilers and interpreters for your efforts.
Beginning (Entry Level) Programming)
Scratch. Without doubt Scratch from MIT is our favorite entry level programming language.
Basic Language. Although called Basic, it is possible to create complex Windows applications, programs, and even games. There are many BASIC flavors out there. A good introduction to basic is JustBASIC for the Windows platform. For the Macintosh, I recommend Chipmunk Basic. For Linux/Unix users, I recommend YABASIC (Yet Another Basic)
Logo. Designed for children at the MIT AI (Artificial Intelligence) laboratory, it is a great introductory program for computers. The best option is Berkeley Logo.
It is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows.
Click Programming. Once dominated by Apple's no longer supported Hypercard technology there is still a excellent commercial application for beginning programmers known as Hyperstudio. Hyperstudio is a way to create interactive presentation and choose your own adventure type games.
HTML. The source code behind Webpages is HTML. There are three options for writing an internet page using HTML. You could use a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get Editor). One very popular WYSIWYG editor now being used by thousands is the free Open Source editor called NVU You could use an editor that helps you not have to retype repetitive motions Or you could simply type in the correct source code into to any text editor such as Wordpad in Windows.
General Programming Languages
C and C++ are the predominate programming languages. I recommend you start with C and move on to C++ after having a good C foundation. My first true understanding of the C Language came from reading C For Dummies Volumes 1 and 2 and then I moved on to C+ for Dummies.
JAVA is the language of all those fun applets that open up on webpages so you could play games. A quick visit to Sun (The Developer of Java) Java Development Page will get you started.
Python is a relatively new language emerging from the Open Source World. A good starting point is a visit to Python.org where you could download Python for your OS platform as well as read various tutorials.
Perl is a very versatile and well supported computer language. There are two core websites Perl.org and Perl.com that give plenty of information to begin writing your own web applications using Perl.
Specialized Game Engines
Teachtopia is well aware that there are young adults and the young at heart that want to use their newly acquired skills to create games. There are many choices, but if you want to see a game creation without too much programming needed, I recommend the products at Clickteam.com. They have game creation software for under 30 USD and even have free educational use software.