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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What not to learn
by rayiner on Wed 11th Apr 2007 23:16 UTC
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I learned programming by learning C++ (well, the C part of C++), and I still regret it. Learning C is all about learning the "C virtual machine"*, and it really boxes your thinking down the road. I like what some universities do (MIT for one), which is to start with a functional language Scheme or ML. Ultimately, this starts you off at a more fundamental level, because after all the C model is just one out of many possible ones for hardware, while symbolic computation is just math, which is universal.

On the other hand, I don't subscribe to the notion that some people have that youo can learn all you need to know about programming from just one language. The difference between math and programming is that the latter depends very heavily on good taste, and there is no way to learn good taste other than through by reading a lot of very different code. It's a lot like writing, actually. You can learn to write correct English by reading a grammar manual, but the only way to learn to write good English is by reading a lot of books.

*) The idea that every computer in the world is just a really fast PDP-11 with a lot of memory...

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