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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

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  • 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 an understanding of computer hardware.
    Shield the user from the operating system."

    The key principles from my point of view are that the user need not have an understanding of computer hardware(and I believe they meant low level-as in how a microprocessor functions) and that it shields the user from the operating system. I think that Perl meets all of the principles listed above and so would agree with you that Perl is the best language to use as an introductory language.

    C or C++ should never be used as an introductory language. A person new to computers should move from a high level of abstraction from the hardware downward.
    • 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