Once you’ve got your Raspberry Pi built enough to run there are still some things necessary before you can program on it. There is an opinion that the command line is still the best interface for the Raspberry Pi, especially for programming, but I’m committed to making it easy enough for a child to use so I’m not going to go that route. And in fact you don’t have to.
First of all, the screen recommended in the last set up guide is far from usable for programming. You are going to need to invest in something you can hook up to the pi through HDMI. I found a cheap monitor at a second hand store and a HDMI to DVI cable and used that. Unfortunatly buying a HDMI monitor can be the most expensive part of getting your Pi ready.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is free yourself somewhat from the command prompt by installing Synaptic Package Manager. From the command prompt type:
sudo apt-get install synaptic
Once you finish that every time you read some instruction telling you to install something with apt-get, instead you can use synaptic from your graphical desktop instead.
Next your going to want to configure your Raspberry Pi to go to the graphical desktop every time so run
to bring up the configuration tool and under “boot_behavior” select “Yes” to start in the desktop every time. From now on your interaction with the command line will be minimal. As it should be. (Take that all you command-line lovers.)
Next, while it’s true that from the command line you already have everything you need to program, I like a good IDE, and there are several to choose from. My favorite is Geany, and fortunately it can be installed from Synaptic Package Manager no program. Just search for the name and run it. Then you’ll have a great UI for C, C++, Python, Java, or just about anything that is set to run. It’s simple yet robust and just works. I’ve tried it with werewolves and wanderer and a couple other games that don’t need external libraries. Eventually I’ll figure out making those work too and hopefully I’ll make tutorials. (Hey, I’m still learning this stuff too.)
With Geany installed you’re ready to program, so go to.