Programing on the Mac
I've done a bit of programing on a windows machine before using VisualBasic so I know a little bit about the basics writing a short program.
At the moment I'm in uni studying structural engineering. I'm getting countless exercises and questions on bean theory, that all follow the same algorithm to work out the answer. As this is getting a bit tedious I though that I could write a program to do all the long sums for me whilst I just enter the numbers in as they appear on the page.
I know nothing about programming on the mac so can some one tell me the name of a good program to get writing on?
I'm looking for something that I can input dimensions and beam properties into and then it will work out the long winded analysis for me. I'm also looking for a good program that I can construct a visual 3D representation with 2D graphs of the beam profile. That might be a bit further down the line but that's where I want to take it.
Essentially, I'm trying to write a VERY SIMPLIFIED version of autodesk inventor for my mac. And, although I'm not trying to take down autodesk I'm just trying to make my life that little bit easier.
Any input at all welcome!
IMO I see two choices, one is Real Basic and the other is C++ or Progresive C using XCode.
Since you've used VB in the past Real Basic may be the easiest route for you. I believe the 2D and 3D graphics would be easier with Real Basic then with the various C languages.
I could be wrong here, but with the C languages you'll have to use OpenGL for as your 3D library to draw your images. This process can have a small bit of a learning curve to it. Real Basic on the other hand should make this process simpler.
I don't know anything about beam theory (or do you mean bean theory :) ) but if the algorithm simply gives a numerical output, that's probably something easy to do in C or C++. You can write a simple C program using gcc and any text editor. For the visual output...well that's a bit trickier, obviously. OpenGL is certainly one way...but what kind of output does it entail? Is there something you can point us to that shows the kind of graphics you'll need?
Being completely new to programming, one thing I'm learning now is the fact that how effective and efficient your algorithm is... thats how efficient your program will be (no matter what language you use).
According to what I read recently on the net, a good start is to write up an algorithm. Work at it until you know its proper and efficient and gives you the desired result. Then re-write the algorithm's instruction in the language of choice.
Well that's my opinion. :D
I can't imagine the algorithms would give you problems in any language. The code would look pretty much the same. The small differences of the particular language should be easy to adjust to.
Count this as an opportunity to learn Cocoa and Objective-C. Building an interface to input the numbers should be easy via Interface Builder. Connecting that to the execution code in Objective-C shoud be easy too. From there you could jump to the graphics output.
I wonder if some of the open source plotting programs would be useful given your output dataset. Perhaps they are more geared towords simple graphing.
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