The Processing environment is written in Java. Programs written in Processing
are also translated to Java and then run as Java programs. Programs written
in Java and Processing will usually run faster than programs based on
scripting languages like ActionScript and Lingo, which is important for
many graphics applications.
Large distinctions between Processing and Java are the Processing graphics
library and a simplified programming style that doesn't require users
to understand more advanced concepts like classes, objects, or animation
and double-buffering (while still making them accessible for advanced
users). Such technical details must be specifically programmed in Java,
but are integrated into Processing, making programs shorter and easier
ActionScript is the language written for Macromedia's Flash software.
Flash was originally created as web animation software and ActionScript
and Processing is built on Java, so there are many similarities between
these two languages.
Lingo is the language written for Macromedia's Director software.
Director was the dominant environment for designers and artists making CD-ROM
projects, but has declining in popularity during the web era due to the
success of Flash. It is still one of the most commonly used environments
and it has excellent libraries of code for extending its functionality.
Python is considered to be an excellent teaching language
because of its clear syntax and structure. Python is typically used for
non-graphic applications. It doesn't have a native graphics library, but
graphics applications may be created by using graphics toolkits, some
of which are cross-platform.
Design By Numbers (DBN) was developed for teaching general programming
concepts to artists and designers with no prior programming experience.
DBN is an extremely minimal language and environment, thus making it easy
to learn but limited in its potential for creating advanced applications.