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Whats a good programming language to start on?

Discussion in 'Scripting & Programming' started by michael78, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    I was looking into doing a Visual Basic course to get some experience in programming to help with my career as it's a part of my job that I can't do and want an easy programming language so that I can develop tools and apps that maybe useful in my job. Is VB a good one to learn or am I looking in the wrong direction?


    Cheers in Advance

    Michael
     
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  2. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Rather depends on where you want to go with it.

    VB isn't that simple any longer, and 'traditional' programmers tend to not consider it a 'good' language.

    However, you can often get an amazing amount done with scripting languages. I tend to use Perl, simply because I've been using it for ages.

    IMHO there are no 'easy' programming languages, although some are *far* more complicated than others (C++ anybody? :biggrin ). But having said that - beginners can get useful things done in VB and Perl without too much of a learning curve.

    Harry.
     
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  3. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Harry, can you basically write the same types of apps in different languages such as Perl, Ruby on Rail, VB etc. The best way I can put it you can say the same sentence in English, German and French but it means the same (hope that makes sense to you) :blink .
     
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  4. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Yes - up to a point. Some languages have no GUI, so you won't get pretty screens from them. But for a lot of utils and applets that you might want to build, a GUI isn't a lot of use!

    Different languages have different strengths. C is a very tight and fast language. Perl is a semi-interpreted and sloppy language (and slower than C). But if you need to take a big CSV file and convert the data in it in complex ways Perl knocks the spots off C in ease of building the app.

    Harry.
     
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  5. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I would say theres no good programming language just because it annoys me but VB will do you or C++.

    Maybe you can develop a programming language which uses normal words instead stdio.h n stuff like that:D
     
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  6. Lee

    Lee Nibble Poster

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    I learnt programming from scratch and knew very little about it at first. I learnt Pascal first, just to understand the concepts. Once I had successfully finished my first suite of programs I started with C programming. I think the 'grounding' I gained in learning Pascal was very useful (for me anyways) before learning object oriented programming.
    Pascal is pretty near redundant but very easy to learn, if you can't learn it forget about programming.

    Learing about pseudo code would be very useful, for any language.
     
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  7. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    This is (sorry) a classic mistake. Normal English words are not as well defined as you might think! Hence special words and meanings of words in programming languages.

    SQL is often touted as being standard english, with words like 'select', 'with', 'having' etc. Now look at this SQL command:
    Code:
    select hr as "Time Slot", to_char(avg(ans), 'FM999990.0')as "Answered", to_char(
    avg(inef), 'FM999990.0') as "Ineffective" from (select to_char(starttime, 'HH24:
    00 to HH24:59') as hr, starttime::date as "Date", sum((case when inef_flag then
    0 else 1 end)) as ans, sum((case when inef_flag then 1 else 0 end)) as inef  fro
    m stb.stb_cdrs where starttime::date between '2007-01-01' and '2007-06-11' group
     by hr, "Date") as a group by hr;
    That's English? (And that's a short one) :biggrin

    Edit: If anyone wants to know - burried in there is the SQL equivalent of a Pivot Table.


    Harry.
     
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  8. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Cheers guys you've really helped. I think I'm still going to do this VB course and see how it goes...:D
     
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  9. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    Good call. Stick with VB as it is not only a fairly easy language, it is also relevant to your industry.
     
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  10. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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  11. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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  12. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    I use VB.Net express at home here. Its quite good for learning the system. The VS 2005 software is quite good with a whole heap of features designed to help you program (intellisense being the main one, but other features like alerting you to variables you have dimmed but not used, and alerting you if a variable is being used in a place where it might not have been set in the preceeding available code paths).
     
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  13. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    :eek:

    Intellisense for Visual Studio is not as reliable and featurefull as you might think. For my home projects I'm considering purchasing Visual Assist to manage larger projects and fulfill what Intellisense lacks.

    What about the inline debugger? Doesn't that impress you more than Intellisense?
     
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  14. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    yeah thats quite impressive too. I was reading about how it all works the other day.

    Apparently it parses each line/block of code as you write it, and identifies errors, etc. Quite handy I have to say, since it allows you to see error (or most of them) before running the app. As a benefit of parsing the lines, you get the debugger, and you also (apparently - i've never done vb6 programming so cant tally a difference) get faster build times when you are building the app, since all the code has already been parsed, it can just move onto the next stage. pretty funky actually.

    VS Express is missing certain things that the professional versions have (obviously), like installers - you cant add them to the project as they dont exist in the installation; and you cant create services (well, not by default, but you CAN get someone to create a new service project, then export it as a template, which you can then import into VSexpress for use).

    Another thing I really like (at least for VS Pro), is that it allows you to have mixed languages within a project. For instance, you can have a set of forms in VB.Net, and another set in c#. This is quite useful in businesses, since it means that you can have two developers, who write in different languages, working on the same project. The only limitation with this is that any single class/form has to be in a single language - How they talk to each other between forms/classes is standardised through the framework.

    I think you can have this same functionality in the express editions (although you have to install the vb.net express and the c# express apps. I believe you will also need to switch between the apps in order to view the relevant code (ie you can only view the vb.net forms in the vb.net application and vice versa). This is quite good if you want to also learn some c# too, although I wouldnt suggest doing this until you have a fairly good grasp of vb.net first (or whatever language you choose to start with)
     
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  15. zimbo
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    Call me old fashion or not what but im suprised no-one has said Pascal - ok very old but simple to learn and then move onto VB. But i supposed VB isnt that hard.
     
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  16. Fluid

    Fluid Byte Poster

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    no ones mentioned C#, Java or Assembly...
     
  17. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Lol, some very funny comments there ! :biggrin

    Thats C, C++ uses <stdio> !

    Never really bought this as a real benefit, assembly/COM interop was always gonna be possible. I wouldn't encourage a team to create a load of spagetti each half can't understand, should try to stick to one language. And COBOL .Net ? Not sure what to make on that one !

    Visual assist been around since the C++ days, was pretty good then. Not really needed now. They've copied the Smalltalk code database concept, once you have this intellisense and interactive debugging becomes trivial compared to previous languages.

    I'd reccomend VB or C# if you are a microsoft shop, its good for automating Excel/Word/Access, be surprised what you can get done. Of course like anything to be really productive you will need to learn more and specialise, but it doesn't sound like thats your aim!

    Javas good, practically everything in .Net is nicked from Java or a Java based project. Of course Java nicked half the stuff from Smalltalk...

    C,C++,Assembler - System level languages not really suitable for your purposes.

    Scripting languages, well yes this is traditionally the domain of the admin, batch/shell scripts, perl, etc. Command line based scripting languages, might be worth a look depending on what you want. Theres also loads of newer scripting languages targeted at different areas, ruby etc, personally I'm not a fan of scripting languages, call me a snob if you like !

    Well if you think SQL's bad I started with COBOL then Ada as well as SQL and FORTRAN ! At least i didn't have to do Algol I guess ! :oops:

    Pascals pretty close to most peoples pseudo code, alot of people used to swear by Delphi which is basically Object Pascal, kinda never got market share though.

    Well maybe the comparison is valid, if you don't just count germanic languages and throw in russian, mongolian, japanese, arabic etc.

    Some languages are much better at some things than others, thats one reason why they exist, its the idea of the domain specific language. Other languages try to be all things to all people.
     
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  18. zxspectrum

    zxspectrum Gigabyte Poster Premium Member

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    Well even i can help here sort of anyway.

    We used vb to make games and at first i really found it hard, i had a lot of input from this forum from Fergal, hes so clued up on vb that may be a good starting point.

    The books that i got into as well which i thought were the Sams teach yourself Visual basic, i found them easy to understand rather than the michael halverson collection.

    Ed
     
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  19. Crito

    Crito Banned

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    Ruby on Rails is clean and simple. It's what I've been using lately.

    But FWIW, SQL Server 2005 has a pivot command now. Of course, if you want your database to look like a spreadsheet, maybe you should just use Excel and save everyone the trouble. Excel 2007 will even let you connect to an SSAS cube and do all the drill down and roll up stuff the execs like to play with.
     
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  20. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    I like VB.NET myself and it is very relevant in my job, i found Learn Visual Studio.NET to be very usefull, with loads of videos covering VB, C#, and ASP.NET. They are the same people that done the Microsoft's Beginner Developer Videos as mentioned by trip
     
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