An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language
Practicalities of Using the Wolfram Language
The best way to learn the Wolfram Language is to use it. Wolfram Programming Lab is specifically set up for easy access in learning the language, though you can also use other interactive Wolfram Language environments.
Do I need to know programming to read this book?
Absolutely not. This book is a self-contained introduction to programming.
Experience suggests that anything above about age 11 is appropriate. Ive tried to choose examples that will be relevant and engaging to all age groups, very much including adults.
Nothing beyond basic arithmetic. This is a book about programming in the Wolfram Language, not about math.
Do I need to use a computer while reading this book?
It runs natively on desktop computers: Mac, Windows, Linux (including Raspberry Pi). It also runs in the cloud through a web browser, and on mobile devices.
Do I have to read this book sequentially?
It will be a lot better that way. Ive constructed the book so it progressively builds up a broader and broader base of concepts. If you jump around, youll probably need to backtrack a lot.
Because the Wolfram Language is a different and higher-level kind of language, that automates away many of the details that programming books about other languages concentrate on.
Is the Wolfram Language an educational language?
Its certainly used for education (and Mathematica is ubiquitous at universities). But its also very widely used in industry. Its good for education because its powerful and easy to learn.
Will learning the Wolfram Language help in learning other languages?
Definitely. Knowing the Wolfram Language youll understand higher-level concepts, which youll then see played out in lower-level ways in other languages.
The Wolfram Language seems too easy; is it really programming?
Definitely. And because it automates away the drudgery you might associate with programming, youll be able to go much further, and understand much more.
Can sections of the book be omitted for a course?
The book is written to provide a sequential presentation of material, so the content may require some patching if sections in the middle are dropped.
Anything 11.1 and above. Note that even some fairly simple examples (e.g. Table[x, 5]) wont work in versions earlier than 10.3. If youre running the Wolfram Language in the Wolfram Cloud youll always be using the latest version, but if youre running on a desktop system you may explicitly have to upgrade.
Is the code in the book production grade?
 
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