The goal for this task is to be ready to do the hands-on work in class, and to be set up to do. You’ll be doing the following:

  • Github: getting set up with a Github account and software
  • Paper: installing Paper.js, a Javascript graphics library
  • jQuery: installing jQuery, a Javascript utility library

If you have problems with any of these steps, Google first, then ask on Slack (also see How to ask questions).


You’ll get credit for following these instructions and being prepared in class. You’ll lose credit for not being ready to be hands-on in class.


Set up a new repository for this assignment. You’ll turn it in by giving me the link to this repository. I’d suggest starting to use this repository right away while you work on this assignment.

Note: Because everything on Github is by default publically-visible, you must be extra-careful about giving attribution to code you didn’t write yourself. If in doubt, double-check the syllabus for the attribution and plagiarism policies.


I recommend using Paper.js for visualization. It’s a well-thought-out Javascript graphics library that has a lot of good documentation and examples. It has a special Javascript extension language called Paperscript which makes using it easier. In order to take advantage of it, download it and install it from the site above, and include it in your HTML file directly via (e.g.) <script src="paperjs-v0.9.23/dist/paper-full.js"></script>. Read and work through the Paper.js tutorials so you understand how to use it (note you can use the Paper.js sketch tool to easily experiment in your browser). It is a good idea to start playing with it right away.


  • If you find that your graphics aren’t showing up right away, try calling view.draw() to force an update.
  • Chrome often has better performance. However, to use Paperscript in an external file, Paper has to load the Paperscript file and process it. This means it’s using Javascript to open local files, which Chrome prohibits. To get around this problem, start Chrome using the --allow-file-access-from-files argument. If you’re on a Mac, open a Terminal and run /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome --allow-file-access-from-files &; then you can close the Terminal window.


jQuery is a handy Javascript library that does lots of useful stuff. Download a copy from the jQuery website (get the “compressed, production jQuery”) and include it in your HTML file with something like <script src="jquery-3.1.0.min.js"></script>. You can then use the global jQuery variable $.

Other libraries

Feel free to use other libraries. If you have a favorite other than Paper, you’re welcome to use it as long as you can complete the assignment as requested.


If you’re unfamiliar with it, you might want to start with my Introduction to Javascript page, and continue with some of the resources listed on the front page.