code development NMandelbrot programming

The Mandelbrot Set

Animated Mandelbrot Set
Animated Mandelbrot Set

I think every pragmatic programmer or aspiring code guru needs a core programming challenge that they return to whenever they want to try something new, like signature tune a guitarist will play on every new guitar to see how it fits their style.

My favourite pattern is The Mandelbrot Set because it’s a nice way to check the main features of any language : looping, branching, and creating complex structures, as well as adding a graphical level to start looking at the surrounding libraries. It’s also a neat optimisation problem, and each language I’ve used lends itself to slightly different optimisations.

I’ve gone through a few versions, from Basic, to a couple of versions of C++, Python and Javascript, discovering double-buffering when I got my hands on the SDL for gcc, and list comprehensions to do full-screen iterations in Python, and there’s always a new way to calculate and generate the output.

So what’s your workbench? Do you build a unit-testing framework? Or a shopping cart app? Or do you turn every language into a LOLCode parser?


3 replies on “The Mandelbrot Set”

[…] Given my preference for the Mandelbrot set as a prototype in client-side languages, I wondered how I could develop a Mandelbrot solution that used the server as little as possible, so I hit upon the idea of creating a zero-install grid computing solution, similar to SETI@Home, where every browser that logged on would be computing a small piece of the whole, and the job of the server would be to coordinate the clients, and maintain the shared state of the current progress. […]


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