Whats a good programming language to start on?

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

  1. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    I'm sure you meant <cstdio> mate. ;)

    Anyway, about the comments so far. I've come to realise after seeing so many threads on so many programming forums (including those that I moderate and have moderated) that the best way to get started is to not seek out a particular language, it's to just do your own investigations and get started learning. It is true that languages like C++ and Assembler are not the best choices for for the beginner, but I have come across the odd person who did start off with these languages and turned out to be quite a good programmer, although making life very tough for themselves along the way.

    If you are serious about programming and feel that you will see it through, I do suggest that you get hold of the Visual Studio IDEs for VB, C# and C++ and go though their tutorials, focussing on the language that you are most comfy with.

    About scripting languages, it is a grave mistake to ignore them since they are very much growing in popularity! With my work in the games industry I had been instructed to learn Python as quickly as possible - I litterally had two weeks to get up-to-speed, and luckily I have! Why are scripting languages so attractive? Because they function at a very high level. As an example let's look at Regular Expressions. In later versions of Python and Perl the contain modules that are commonly known as 'RE parsers' that prevent you, the programmer, having the headache of writing RE parsers for yourself. Now, maybe you will never have to use regexes at work as I often do, but it serves as a suitable example of the power of scripting languages in facilitating many arduous programming tasks in addition to being surprisingly easy to learn.

    That's my two pennies sterling. :)
     
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  2. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    I agree with mathematix here.

    Just one point - REs have been in Perl since the very begining! :biggrin

    Harry.
     
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  3. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    I stand corrected. :biggrin
     
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  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

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    My bad, been doing Java almost exclusively for 4 years, my C++ is starting to suck ! :oops:

    Yep scripting languages have their place, just not my bag ;) They are especially suitable for environments with rapid change, where less formal approaches are required. PHP and Ruby being two web scripting languages that prove this. Then theres perl and python, largely for utilities or build scripts etc. Microsoft even had a go with VBScript but think they gave up and went with a funky flavour of javascript? Java people jumped on bandwagon with Groovy, Jython, the list is endless...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scripting_language

    (For thoose interested I have used various scripting languages, cmd, bash, JavaScript, Lingo, JSP, AWK/sed, Smalltalk...)

    Like I said about the natural/human language analogy, theres various categories of language, procedural, functional, object orientated, constraint programming...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programming_paradigm

    Regular expression libraries are widely available for nearly all languages now. C/C++ programmers for a long time had a 'not invented here' kinda attitude, your were expected to write your own lexers and parsers!

    yacc and lex were generally reccomended and lex used regular expressions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lex_programming_tool

    Anyone with a degree education will know that this touches on some fundamental areas about computation, Automata, Finite State Machines and Turing Machines.

    For those studying the A+ you could do alot worse than read up on Alan Turing and John Von Neumann.
     
  5. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    A word of warning about Wikipedia, it should not be taken as chapter and verse regarding programming theory and application. The information there is too condensed to make any real sense, and as such lacks a lot of theory. It should only be taken as touching the tip of the iceberg.

    To be more hands-on I would suggest sites like The Code Project and the official sites for respective languages like that for Python, Perl and a recognised authority on C++ like Bjarne stroustrup. Simple Google searches with turn up a number of hits for reliable sources.

    When learning to code, quality information is the difference between a smooth and a [very] bumpy ride! :D
     
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  6. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

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    Agreed, I think everyone realises its a wiki ! :biggrin

    No ones going to try to learn a langauge from a wiki I would hope.
    Bjarnes working on C++ 0x, makes you realise why they invented Java/C# !


    The point I was making was that a little history/theory about computer architecture and computation is well worth knowing !

    Von Neumann effectively invented the Von Neumann or SISD architecture.
     

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