Gentle Introductions (to Programming)

Here are two applications to help learn the basics of programming:

  • (aka, Alice) teaches computer programming by letting you “program” things in an animated virtual world.
  • WizBang is a visual programming tool that lets the learner drop and connect symbols.

Both are free to use. Wikipedia keeps a more exhaustive list of visual programming tools, but these two caught my eye: Alice for its entertainment value, and WizBang for its simplicity.

(A note of caution: visual programming is great for learning and relatively simple tasks, but I’ve witnessed visual programming tools becoming an unbearable burden to serious software efforts.)