Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists, 2d Ed.
TL;DR: Reas & Fry 1st edition told the reader about what Processing can do and encouraging reader to try it & learn from their experiments. 2d edition introduces readers to Processing in a user-friendly way – the book has become a ‘teacher’.
1) The second edition reads like a college textbook. Reas & Fry have defined their audience, and are clearly writing for it.
Concepts are brought to an intelligent, creative, new-to-coding reader with holistic detail. The denser text gives beginners a better sense of ‘net’ as they experiment (the text can catch them). Experienced coders will find rewards of nuanced language discussing processes in the richer text.
This allows faster learning through bookwork with less ‘running into walls’ experimenting. This point may represent a culture shift. Teaching concepts and ideas with a stronger ‘narrative’ can create a text-based authority of ‘shoulds’* vs. the user’s earned authority of experiential learning.
2) Content is presented with a ‘narrative through line’ – it is clearly organized in ‘arcs’ of chapters that loosely link and build. This differs from 1st ed, which felt more like “ok here’s some of this, and some of that, go try it out & see what you get!”.
3) Large communities of people have been working with Processing. Certain working arcs have developed; people tend to code in particular directions. Perhaps this influenced the interlinking of concepts inside the book. Reas & Fry provide jumping off points with page numbers to other parts of the text – – as if they put internal links in the book.
The 2d edition is, in that respect, more holographic and unified as a text. The 1st edition now feels like an extension of the online reference, a big index or dictionary of terms and functions that I use in response to my own curiosity or problem-solving. The 2d edition is narratively cohesive in multiple ways, delivering the ‘whole user approach’ to a beginning creative coder very well.
4) content differences:
3D has shifted from appendix to ‘main content’; rearrangement of content and ‘synthesis’ chapters brings a more easily-digestible ‘narrative’ to content; new artists & artwork.
Vertex & Array both got a lot of ‘explain’ love; so did Function – concepts that I’ve seen beginners get stuck on. Also, all of the discussions of ‘how to code well’ have become comprehensive.
Sound seems to have disappeared. I think PureData has won sound. Most of that is done via external libraries but there isn’t even an entry for ‘sound’ in the Index or in Topics.
Certain details of Processing’s functionality have disappeared – i.e. the discussion of image manipulations that mirror photoshop blend modes. The image processing section of the 2d edition’s text is concerned with functionality unique to Processing.
Additionally, image processing instruction arrives much later in the text (p. 529) so the ‘beginning reader’s’ comprehension of what’s happening is going to be very different than if the beginning reader is perusing the 1st edition and looking at images on p. 95, where they introduced ‘how to manage data files w/processing sketches’ discussion in a little pile-on.
*authority of ‘shoulds’ : the obsession with ‘doing it right’ becoming a block for creativity & discussion of concepts driving the work
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Author’s note: I spent 5 years working as a computer trainer [hardware/software] so, parsing the texts used to teach ppl how to use software/hardware is kindof my thing.