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Visualizing Data by Ben Fry

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Chapter 2. Getting Started with Processing

The Processing project began in the spring of 2001 and was first used at a workshop in Japan that August. Originally built as a domain-specific extension to Java targeted at artists and designers, Processing has evolved into a full-blown design and prototyping tool used for large-scale installation work, motion graphics, and complex data visualization. Processing is a simple programming environment that was created to make it easier to develop visually oriented applications with an emphasis on animation and provide users with instant feedback through interaction. As its capabilities have expanded over the past six years, Processing has come to be used for more advanced production-level work in addition to its sketching role.

Processing is based on Java, but because program elements in Processing are fairly simple, you can learn to use it from this book even if you don't know any Java. If you're familiar with Java, it's best to forget that Processing has anything to do with it for a while, at least until you get the hang of how the API works. We'll cover how to integrate Java and Processing toward the end of the book.

The latest version of Processing can be downloaded at:

http://processing.org/download

An important goal for the project was to make this type of programming accessible to a wider audience. For this reason, Processing is free to download, free to use, and open source. But projects developed using the Processing environment and core ...

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