Initially envisaged to teach computer programming fundamentals within a visual context, Processing is a free, open source language based on Java, designed to be easy to use and to provide near instant gratification to the beginner. Processing 2.0 has now been released together with a revamped website.
Created in 2001 by Ben Fry and Casey Reas, Processing has an unusual mission statement:
Processing seeks to ruin the careers of talented designers by tempting them away from their usual tools and into the world of programming and computation. Similarly, the project is designed to turn engineers and computer scientists to less gainful employment as artists and designers.
Processing's simplified syntax and graphics model is intended to allow "creative" non-programmers to build interactive, graphical programs, or "sketches" as they are called in Processing, quickly with a supporting simplified IDE.
Digital Natives Processing art at its best.
The new version of the language has been in development since mid-2011. It features faster graphics, new infrastructure for working with data, and enhanced video playback and capture. It also expands the potential of the programming environment. faster graphics with its P2D and P3D renderers now built using OpenGL allowing programs to utilize custom GLSL shaders. It also has new infrastructure for working with data, and enhanced video playback and capture.
Processing Version 2.0 introduces OpenGL rendering to the platform, replacing the older software-based P2D and P3D renderers with new OpenGL-accelerated P2D and P3D renderers. A new OpenGL library, based on work done on its Android has also been incorporated and OpenGL is now part of the core of Processing.
Its old Movie Maker class has been replaced by a Movie Maker tool for turning frames into video and the GSVideo library, which uses Gstreamer on Linux and also works on Windows and Mac OS X, has replaced its former Video library one which relied on QuickTime for Java. There is also a new XML class for handling downloaded XML files and a new Table class for handing comma- or tab-delimited files.
Processing is not only a programming language and development environment it is also a community and the revamped website has an exhibition of projects. There are also examples for user to explore the basics of programming with Processing and tutorials covering beginner, intermediate and advanced topics, including Getting Started, based on the book of the same name by Casey Reas and Ben Fry.
Processing seems to be gaining increasing interest with processing.js bringing it to the web and even Microsoft is supporting it as a way of creating WinRT apps. It deserves a careful look.