Let's Make Robots!

Complete noob here


I just came across this website today and it looks like a vibrant community.  I'm interested in learning robotics as a hobby and have no idea where to start.  I'm a pretty good programmer, but I come from the web world - programming web and middleware in the enterprise - Java is my most proficient language. Although the languages may not be applicable in robotics, I'm hoping my experience in programming will give me a head start.  I have some experience with electronics from college, but that’s about it.  

Anyway, I probably don't know enough to ask direct questions so I'm asking for some direction.  Are there questions I need to ask myself before starting? Do I jump right in with the many start kits I'm seeing online?  

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance! 


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I use PHP too, though I know more web-based languages like HTMl and CSS and JavaScript and all that beautiful stuff-and C++, which is why I chose Arduino.


I lean towards Arduino because though it's "more difficult" to use (so some people claim), it's "more powerful" and makes "more better robots". I havn't heard of the BOE-BOT kit, but I'll look it up.

Nice,  yea PHP is great!  I know CSS and Javascript as well, but my strengths aren't GUI development, though I get by. 

 The BOE-BOT uses Parralax's pBASIC. I also found a Java-based microcontroller kit (http://www.ridgesoft.com/intellibrainbot/intellibrainbot.htm), but the price is too high compared to these other options.  

As TheGrue mentioned, one thing I like about the BOE-BOT kit is the integrated breadboard.  I'm going to make some sort of decision this week and jump right in - i'm getting impatient and just wanna play.  LOL