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+ - Learning Programming in a Post-BASIC World-> 5

Submitted by ErichTheRed
ErichTheRed (39327) writes "This Computerworld piece actually got me thinking — it basically says that there are few good "starter languages" to get students interested in programming. I remember hacking away at BASIC incessantly when I was a kid, and it taught me a lot about logic and computers in general. Has the level of abstraction in computer systems reached a point where beginners can't just code something quick without a huge amount of back-story? I find this to be the case now; scripting languages are good, but limited in what you can do...and GUI creation requires students to be familiar with a lot of concepts (event handling, etc.) that aren't intuitive for beginners. What would you show a beginner first — JavaScript? Python? How do you get the instant gratification we oldies got when sitting down in front of the early-80s home computers?"
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Learning Programming in a Post-BASIC World

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  • Seems like there is no single best programming language anymore For instance, for web application development, I would strongly suggest the recently released Opa http://opalang.org./ [opalang.org.] Only the web, but does it better and only one technology to learn to make an app.
  • I might be wrong, but nowadays I don't think the programming language is that important as it used to be. Sure, each one has it's features, power and advantages/disadvantages, but one should be familiar with the concepts: oop, pointers/references, data structures, algorithms, protocols etc depending on the field in which he/she wants to specialize. I say this, because the programming language is quite easy to learn since all the concepts are to be implemented the same (e.g. QuickSort - same idea, different
  • Studies show [nytimes.com] that if consumers have too many choices, they're less likely to take action than if they had fewer options. This may be the issue with beginning programming. When BASIC was one of the only languages available by default to most beginners, that's what they dabbled in. I think there are plenty of fine options available today (can't see how today's scripting languages are so much more limited in what they can do than BASIC was) -- so many, in fact, that kids are less likely to start experimenting
  • My immeadiate reaction to this article was Python. However there is a fun language out there that gives a lot of bang for your typing called "Processing" it's targeted at artists and rank amateurs. It won't get you a cool prgramming job, (maybe I'm wrong), but it will get you programming with a small language and easy to learn libraries. Lots of examples are included in the compiler download. http://processing.org/ [processing.org]

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.

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