If you haven’t seen it yet, The History of Sampling by Jesse Kriss lets you interactively navigate the links between sampled songs and samplers. Jesse’s site pulls data from the-breaks, a huge collection of sampling rap music.

The real story, though, is how this site, and many other nifty new sites making rounds on the blogosphere, were built: they use Processing, a completely open-source development environment (Mac/Windows/Linux). Processing should interest CDM readers for several reasons: it’s at home on the Web (there’s even a Google interface!), it’s comfortable with multimedia and graphics, it works with Java, and (perhaps most importantly) it’s designed to be easy-to-learn for those new to programming.

Processing is moving along fast: beta 90 was released today, following the first public beta release April 20. New learning materials are being added regularly for those ready to try it. It’s even been used in a Papa Roach video (check the exhibition page). And don’t forget Chris O’Shea’s Sonicforms, the open-source repository for alternative/tabletop musical interfaces, which uses Processing for part of its software interface, along with Pure Data — another free tool for interactivity.

None of these tools may be for total newbies, but they’re free and can be a great way of entering the world of programming. Readers working on this, let me know, and we’ll keep track of your projects and progress (and exchange tips). If nothing else, some readers will certainly enjoy seeing what you’re doing!