Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 11th Apr 2007 16:35 UTC, submitted by ShlomiFish
General Development "What makes programming languages are suitable or unsuitable as introductory languages? Which languages are better learnt first and at which order? And why what the masses think is the most suitable introductory programming language is not in fact that. This paper examines several approaches to which programming language is the best, and afterwards gives several useful relations for which languages should come first. Finally it gives a final verdict, defends it and then gives some other good food for thought."
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my € 0.02
by Morin on Thu 12th Apr 2007 19:43 UTC
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The language by which I learned programming, and by which I would like to learn it again if that was somehow possible, was one of the simplest and weakest languages: C64 basic. You only had global variables, you had line numbers, you had goto, you had gosub,... Okay, the only thing I would leave out are the line numbers and similar syntactical restrictions like two-letter variable names. And you wouldn't hear about the high-power things like OO or closures.

Why? Because you can explain to a newbie in 10 minutes how the language works and have him start programming. At that time I would never understand what procedures are about, but understanding what gosub *does* was simple. If you told me at that time about functional programming, you would've killed me. Don't underestimate the complexity of what we accept as normal now! Even local variables are a complicated thing.

The second big advantage of that approach is that you can move on to more powerful languages later. My route was c64-basic, gw-basic, q-basic, C, C++, Java, and then came the exotic stuff. With each of these steps I was confronted with a range of differences, new features (e.g. real procedures, or later virtual methods), or features left out (like goto). But now I had already made the experience what life is like otherwise, and then you understand how these features make life easier.

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