Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments
NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

use Perl Log In

Log In

[ Create a new account ]

Shlomi Fish (918)

Shlomi Fish
  shlomif@iglu.org.il
http://www.shlomifish.org/
AOL IM: ShlomiFish (Add Buddy, Send Message)
Yahoo! ID: shlomif2 (Add User, Send Message)
Jabber: ShlomiFish@jabber.org

I'm a hacker of Perl, C, Shell, and occasionally other languages. Perl is my favourite language by far. I'm a member of the Israeli Perl Mongers, and contribute to and advocate open-source technologies. Technorati Profile [technorati.com]

Journal of Shlomi Fish (918)

Saturday April 21, 2007
06:03 AM

What is the Best Introductory Language?

[ #33058 ]

I wrote a new essay about what I believe is the best language for beginning . As not unusual, the final conclusion is not as important as the insights along the way. There are still some parts of it that I now find sub-optimal (especially the description on Perl), but I prefered to Release Early and Often.

Also see the Coverage on the web, with some comments by other people.

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
 Full
 Abbreviated
 Hidden
More | Login | Reply
Loading... please wait.
  • After skimming through your essay, I came to the conclusion that BASIC is still a good introductory language, particularly considering the principles used for its design(from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]):

    "The eight design principles of BASIC were:
    Be easy for beginners to use.
    Be a general-purpose programming language.
    Allow advanced features to be added for experts (while keeping the language simple for beginners).
    Be interactive.
    Provide clear and friendly error messages.
    Respond quickly for small programs.
    Not require
    • I mostly agree with your post here. As for BASIC - while I have studied it back in 1987, I believe it's no longer adequate for today's world, where the state of the art and the demands from a clueful programmer are much greater today. I'm not saying it's such a bad language to start from, just that you might as well do yourself a favour and start learning Perl.

      As you know there are many kids out there who start by learning HTML, and then gradually learn either JavaScript or PHP. Or alternatively learn

    • Now, I freely confess that I haven't looked at any modern BASICs, but my own experience of using them leads me to think that they are not suitable for use as pedagogical tools these days. It was far too easy to write spaghetti and crucially, it lacked lots of important concepts like user-defined functions and scoping.

      I do agree that C is too low-level to get started with, although I disagree that people should start with a high level of abstraction and work their way down. I say start with Javascript, w

      • Now, I freely confess that I haven't looked at any modern BASICs, but my own experience of using them leads me to think that they are not suitable for use as pedagogical tools these days. It was far too easy to write spaghetti and crucially, it lacked lots of important concepts like user-defined functions and scoping.

        Well, some modern BASICs may be better than the old XT ROM BASIC or GW-BASIC or the BASICs that preceded it. It was indeed too easy to write such goto-infested code there, but when I learned it, I was taught to think in terms of conditionals and loops, while still using GOTOs.

        I no longer recommend starting with BASIC, because it no longer supports most modern paradigms which Perl 5 and other modern languages do. In my day and age, any BASIC, DOS and Assembler programmer was considered a hacker. Nowad