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Hi, I’m Nick Montfort and am very glad the organizers have invited a discussion of my recent book, Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities, second edition. The Critical Code Studies Working Group helped me write the first edition of this book, which I’ve now reorganized, updated, and expanded. This edition is open access and freely available in three digital formats.
Programming can be used to explore what computing can do, as millions learned when writing BASIC programs in the home computer era, in the 1970s and 80s. In this book, I focus on how programming can be used as a humanistic method of inquiry and for creative computing.
The book is for people without any programming experience. So, if you’re interested in learning to program, you are really the focus of this week. I invite you to make use of the book using the four methods of learning that I outline in 1.10.
Many of you do know how to program. I’ll ask you to help our new programmers begin to understand not only the mechanics of programming but also how to approach computing and code critically.
I encourage you new programmers to put your copy of Exploratory Programming alongside your computer — you can do that even if you’re using a digital format, if you put the digital text on a phone or tablet. This way you will be compelled to type in the code rather than copying and pasting, and you’ll get a better feel for programming from scratch.
Chapter 1 is the only part of the book meant to be read like a standard textbook, so please read it, and then do the installation and setup in Chapter 2. We can then move on — and I hope that many new programmers will, with effort, be able to get all the way through Chapter 7, which includes some critical discussion of typical introductory programming exercises.