How to get started programming on a Mac

I used to write BASIC code on my good old Commodore 64, but the Macintosh has been a bit impenetrable in terms of where to get started with programming.

I was recommended this book and am using it to work through with my son. It teaches Python, a simple language, using your mac. It’s a beauty.

You can buy it here from Amazon .


6 responses to “How to get started programming on a Mac”

  1. Paul

    I don’t understand properly the instructions to install python and the associated stuff… especially the python card.

    I have a PythonCard-0.8.2 directory on my desktop.
    But I don’t understand these instructions…

    “Open the Terminal application and do a cd to that directory and then run the script using the 2.5.1 Python you just installed. The sudo command will prompt you for your password.

    [mymachine:~] bob% cd ~/Desktop/PythonCard-0.8.2
    [mymachine:~/Desktop/PythonCard-0.8.2] bob% sudo python install

    By default, the PythonCard framework will be installed into /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/lib/python2.5/site-packages/PythonCard/. You’ll probably want to make an alias to this directory to keep on your desktop or home folder to make it easier to get to the PythonCard tools and samples.”

    Any help welcome!

    1. I’ll post you a reply when I get up to that bit.

  2. wayne

    You don’t need to do all that to get started with the book – you just need to install Python.

    1. Download and install Python 2.6.2 from here:

    2. A new folder will be in your apps folder called Python 2.6 and in it will be the IDLE app which you can run.

    Snow Leopard actually has Python built into it, but it doesn’t work. If you go to the terminal and type in python -m idlelib.idle it will open the Python Shell. You can type python commands, but if you select New Window (where you would then type a python program into) the window is frozen and you can’t type into it. Apparently the Python version (2.6.1) that comes built in with Snow Leopard has a bug in it so this is why you need to you need to upgrade to Python 2.6.2

    As a bonus, when you install Python yourself you get the application folder too so you don’t need to go into the terminal window to start it each time.

    I think all that pythoncard etc is only needed for later chapters, so I havn’t installed it yet.

  3. Mike P

    Python is actually a cross platform language, and I’ve even had games written in Python on Windows, although they did require a few extra python libraries. I can’t remember what they were now as it’s been a while, but if I come across them again I’ll let you know.

  4. Wayne

    Yes, the book can be used on a Mac or PC. In fact it’s probably a bit more PC oriented than Mac, but it’s still good.

  5. Yea python is definitely the way to start , its user-ability and interfacing is just plain awesome

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