Q&A

Q&A for Students

Q&A for Educators

How does the Wolfram Language compare to Scratch?

Unlike Scratch, the Wolfram Language is a real-world programming language, which can be used to create real (and often very sophisticated) programs. Scratch works a bit like putting together blocks; the Wolfram Language is based more on typing in programs.

How does the Wolfram Language compare to Java, C++, or Python?

It's a much higher-level language, which means that in the Wolfram Language, the code to do something is typically a lot simpler and shorter. It's also a knowledge-based language, which means that it has lots of knowledge about algorithms and about the world already built in—so it's easy to create much more sophisticated programs.

Can I make pictures with the Wolfram Language?

Absolutely. It's very good at that. 2D, 3D, animated—you name it.

Can I create a website with the Wolfram Language?

Yes! It's very easy, in fact. Many Explorations show you how to create websites ranging from simple to complex. Or you can make your own website that runs pretty much any Wolfram Language code you want.

Can I write an app with the Wolfram Language?

Yes. And as long as you keep the interface in your app fairly simple, it's extremely easy to take any code you've written and use it to produce an iOS or Android app that you can access from the Wolfram Cloud app.

Can I make music with the Wolfram Language?

Yes, music generation works on both the cloud and desktop interface to Wolfram Programming Lab.

Can I create a game with the Wolfram Language?

Yes. It's best for algorithmic or strategy-based games, like Tetris or Sudoku. You can also use it to make 2D and 3D objects for games. If you want to make a full professional-style virtual worlds game, though, it'll be easiest if you get, for example, the Wolfram Engine for Unity3D.

What's the relation between the Wolfram Language and Wolfram|Alpha?

Wolfram|Alpha is written in the Wolfram Language. The Wolfram Language also uses knowledge and data from Wolfram|Alpha. And both were created by scientist and entrepreneur Stephen Wolfram.

Practicalities

Can I try Wolfram Programming Lab for free?

Yes! You can both edit existing Explorations on the web and create small programs of your own.

Do I need an internet connection to run Wolfram Programming Lab?

To run the web version, yes. For the desktop version, you don't need an internet connection except when you're making use of data or natural language understanding.

What kind of computer do I need to run Wolfram Programming Lab?

For the web version, you just need to be able to run a web browser. For the desktop version, any Windows, Mac, or Linux machine with at least a gigabyte of RAM should work.

Can I use Wolfram Programming Lab on my phone or iPad?

You can use the web version right now. In the future, you'll be able to get a native version.

School

Can I use Wolfram Programming Lab for a science fair project?

Absolutely! It's great for that. You'll be using the same tool as top scientists.

How will Wolfram Programming Lab help me when I go to college?

The most popular software for math and technical courses at colleges is Mathematica—which uses the Wolfram Language. (In fact, historically, the Wolfram Language evolved from Mathematica.)

Can I use the Wolfram Language for AP Computer Science?

Not for the exam. But you can definitely use the Wolfram Language to help you understand the computer science concepts—and it's great at making those extremely clear.

What if I want to start a company with code I've developed?

Wolfram Programming Lab is intended for learning. But you can take your code and immediately use it in the Wolfram Development Platform—and potentially get millions of people using it there.

Can I use Wolfram Programming Lab for robotics?

You can write programs to simulate robots directly in Wolfram Programming Lab. If you have a desktop version, you can also connect to external devices. And you can also take your code and run it on a Raspberry Pi in an autonomous robot.

How do I learn more about the Wolfram Language?

Wolfram Programming Lab offers a wide variety of Explorations to familiarize yourself with the Wolfram Language. If you want a more structured approached to learning the Wolfram Language, check out An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language.

Community

How can I find other Wolfram Programming Lab users?

Go to Wolfram Community.

Can I publish my Wolfram Language programs?

You can publish them immediately on Wolfram Community. Soon there'll be another channel to publish them as well.

Are there camps that use Wolfram Programming Lab?

Yes! The Wolfram High School Summer Camp is a two-week camp where enthusiastic high-school students can create interesting projects from a wide range of topics. It runs every summer.

Can I get a job using the Wolfram Language?

There are going to be lots of opportunities for proficient Wolfram Language programmers. Check out our Jobs Market.

Others

Where is the Wolfram Language used in the world at large?

All over the place. It's used at all of the world's top universities and companies. It's used by lots of top scientists, engineers, and programmers in every industry. And it's also used by lots of students at schools and colleges everywhere.

How is the Wolfram Language used in the real world?

The Wolfram Language has been used by the world's top scientists and engineers since its inception over 25 years ago. Since then it has been adopted by professionals in nearly every field and embraced by students and educators across the globe. To get a sense of how the Wolfram Language is used by top companies, check out our customer stories. You can also check out how educators from diverse backgrounds are using the Wolfram Language in their classrooms.

This seems too easy; is it real programming?

Yes! Though there's a lot of automation built right into the language—to make it easy for programmers. Right now this is a somewhat new concept. But soon it's likely to be how most top programmers work. And it's definitely programming—with a lot of power packed into each line of code you write.

Is learning to program like learning math?

Yes, in the sense that you have to be precise. But no in the sense that in programming you're mostly making a composition—like you would in English writing. The difference, though, is that what you write has to be understood by a computer, not another person.

What should I do if my program doesn't work?

Divide and conquer! Break out each part of your program and test what it does. Then build the parts back up again. A great thing about the Wolfram Language is that any fragment of code can be run and tested separately.