Critical Code


An important part of software development is setting up your environment with the correct software versions. As this is the first week and we’re all working on different computers, creating a similar environment will allow us to collaborate and share ideas and reduce confusion. There are a few things that we’ll need to get set up before we dive into developing our first projects.

  1. A text editor
  2. A fresh python install
  3. A working directory for our projects
  4. A GitHub account and proper git install
  5. The P5 libraries

A Text Editor

A text editor for coding is a lot like Microsoft Word for writing papers. It allows us to write cleanly formatted code and provides us with additional tools to develop our projects. In this class, I’ll let you use whatever text editor you feel most comfortable with. Please keep in mind that your text editor is the main way you’ll interact with your code and picking a suitable one is important. Here is a list of popular text editors from least to most advanced:

Download one of the text editors listed above (I’ll be using Visual Code for the remainder of the course).

A Fresh Python Install

While we will not be using python until later in the course, we will need “python simple server” to launch our P5.js code. Later in the semester we’ll also learn a little bit of python for data collection and analysis, and for those of you interested in developing full stack web applications (not a requirement).

Working Directory for our Projects

Getting use to using the terminal is an extremely important skill for developers. The terminal is like your computer, but without a visual interface. It allows you to quickly navigate your computer, make directories and files, and launch applications. On a Mac, your terminal is located in Applications –> Utilities–>

A Github Account

Github is a place to store and keep track of code and is an important tool for anyone developing projects. It allows developers to keep track of versions of their work, create new versions (branches) to try out new ideas, and share code among a team. It’s also a social network to connect with other developers and collaborate on projects. Github is a great place to find new projects and repositories and share yours with the world.

Download the P5.js libraries

Well start this semester by learning p5js. As such we’ll need a copy of the libraries locally on our computer.