In the afternoon Tom V and I worked together (Tom’s Mac did not have the updates to handle OF). We kept it simple, manipulating images, playing with fonts and effects such as rotation, grabbing simple pixel data and playing with it. Doing these basic exercises helps to get to know the program.
As a relatively novice programmer (ie with some previous background in Processing) I found OF had an easy to use interface and structure. For example, as everything sits within two folders ‘apps’ (applications) and ‘lib’ (libraries), the structure is easy to follow and you can get your head around where the information for each project sits. This is a real help, when starting out programming, plus simply labeled navigation bars such as ‘build and go’ all assisted getting into the flow. As a group, we’d all different levels of expertise in programming (most had done some) but there was three or four who worked more at the hardware level or in collaboration with programmers and had little previous experience of line-by-line coding. Some also used other programs (mainly MaxMSP), which they felt still served there needs well. While others had reached their limits and needed to extend their knowledge and OF provide the next-step and means.
The good thing was that no matter what level you we’re at there was something to be learnt, for example, how to play with data at this level and how to be able to use OF. Also Zach’s approach to teaching and his clarity in conceptually explaining how programming works, personally made different parts of the jigsaw fit together in my mind.
I guess, if anyone is thinking of using OF, it is good to know the basics of C++, particularly how to read the language. Once you start to know how to read it you can slowly begin to write. I’m at this point, which is a good feeling but you need to keep going with it, otherwise you loose your fluency and understanding – it’s no different than learning any language you gotta keep practicing. So basically to use OF, it’s a good idea to get familiar with C++. Also in comparison for example to Processing, which is at a more advanced developmental stage (i.e. around since 2005, more users using it, well developed community forum and online help section), OF is still an infant. There is a small community already playing with it but the project is still in development and not yet publicly launched. So for those expecting to pick up and run with it – like any programming language you need to take small steps, before you can run head long into creating sophiciated pieces – it all takes time !