This is the PA programming thread, home to programmers everywhere. Here we talk about cats, ponies, synergised high-efficiency software cloud platforms, and occasionally programming.
PADev.net is a project started up by this thread to support PA developers. A discussion about shared hosting turns into an idea to have hosting and a community to support those working on hobby programs and web services and what not.
Some things require a dedicated VPS but the bar of entry isn't that low. The cost is not extravagant but the know-how required to manage one is daunting for many. PAdev.net provides a share of hosting and support, a $5 monthly fee nets you a shell account on the hub server and the expertise of your peers.
Community members looking to help out can request an account for the website, where all members can create and maintain guides and share project updates. There is no cost to have a community account, just contact an administrator. Also available are [email protected] email accounts or forwarders.
Python - One of the most popular scripting languages around, Python is the go-to language for...just about everything, actually. Its high scalability and widespread support through third-party libraries make it useful for many applications, from simple five-minute jobs to complex Web servers. Python can also be embedded or bound into lower-level languages such as C, letting you write performance-critical code as well as providing access to libraries written for those languages.
Ruby - Another popular scripting language, Ruby is best known as the basis for Ruby on Rails, a framework for Web development that competes with its Python equivalent, Django. While not quite as famous as the juggernaut that is Python, Ruby is nonetheless prolific - modern versions of RPG Maker use it as their scripting language, for instance. And, of course, it can be embedded into other applications, much like Python.
Lua - Yet another scripting language. Lua is built on two principles: simplicity and minimalism. Designed with embedding in mind, Lua's overhead is tiny (it can be counted in hundreds of kilobytes at most) and the language itself only provides a handful of constructs...until you master the black arts of tables and metatables. Those who have done so claim to have seen the face of God; these claims are as yet unsubstantiated. What we do know, however is that in recent years Lua has garnered much attention thanks to LuaJIT, a project that provides not only a just-in-time compiler for Lua (granting a massive speed boost - almost C-like performance, in fact), but also an FFI (foreign function interface) library, allowing Lua scripts to directly call C functions without the hassle of writing boilerplate C bindings.
C and C++ - The Ones Who Came Before. C and C++ are old, clunky, archaic...and the most popular languages in existence. C was conceived in an era when memory was limited and programs were generally written in non-portable assembly languages. The underlying concept (which persists to this day) was that a compiler would take C code, turn it into assembly, and then turn that into an executable or library. Thus, programmers now only had to port most of the codebase instead of all of it! (the situation has improved considerably since then, of course - these days, only the really low-level stuff has a tough time being cross-platform). C++ came some time later, and shook things up significantly with the concepts of classes and generics. Modern C++ also includes the Standard Template Library, or STL, which provides all sorts of useful functionality to make life almost painless. These days most people will learn something simpler like Python before these guys, but make no mistake - everything from your operating system to your favourite video games to your microwave can trace its roots back to one of the two.
C# - The poster boy for Microsoft's .NET Framework, C# is a JIT-compiled language modelled after C++, but without any of the associated pain. Though initially developed as a robust alternative for Windows development, Microsoft makes the specifications available at no cost, which has led to other implementations popping up - the most well-known being the cross-platform Mono. The main draw of C# is its ease of use: with a ridiculous number of APIs available by default and the ability to call into native code, you'll have a tough time finding something higher-level that you can't do in C#. The fact that Visual Studio, one of the best IDEs around, also supports C#, is just icing on the cake.
Android - Directly responsible for bringing this OP into the 21st century, Android is a pseudo-operating system framework which runs on top of Linux. Android is primarily written in Java, though it also combines elements of C, C++ and sometimes even Python, and is designed for mobile devices. The Android application framework represents an almost entirely event-driven paradigm written primarily in Java which heavily utilises usage of background services, model-view-controller, and sub-classing as a method of changing behaviour of standard pieces. Also, it runs on your phone!