page where you can read and comment on
books being written (it should be called beta
chapters as I don't see more than one chapter
from any book in there).
This is kind of asking for help a la open
source but not given back a la open source,
but ignoring that, I think, neat, I can
comment on the work of other first-time authors
and maybe help them out a bit even though
I'm not the most encouraging person around.
The second one I looked at (discussion of
the first is for another article) is
apparently an introductory book on Python.
I've tried to learn Python before, but ORA's
book is a real sleeper.
And it's huge.
Well, this one, from Beginning Python
gives a pretty standard
tour of language syntax
(I wish the "hacking" connection were more
real rather than just figurative).
If you've read a dozen language books you've
read a dozen tours of syntax.
This got me thinking about how to write
for novices (which I haven't done yet).
PHP (gag, gag) books show newbies how to do a heck of a lot just using built-in functions.
This makes sence as PHP doesn't offer a lot
A task oriented ("how to do X") book (rather
than a boring reference manual) won't stumple
across syntax that often - it just isn't
part of what's needed to get things done.
So I'm playing with the idea of a Python/Java/Ruby/Pike/Perl/whatever book that
takes a similar approach and procrastinates teaching how to program in favor of leveraging
the existing infrstraucture of a language, namely the API, modules, frameworks, etc.
I'd be interesting to see a class room full of high school kids writing programs just
gluing things together with only an inkling of the syntax of the language.
And this is ripe for exercizes too - I could pick out a catalog of interesting modules -
3D graphics, AI, hardware control, net information services, and so on, and ask what would happen if X were glued to Y.
Isn't this kind of the Squeak approach anyway - don't worry about syntax, just have fund sending messages around and watching things happen?
I wish I knew Squeak well enough to propose a Squeak book...