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Alex Pavluck 12-05-2006 02:14 PM

Learner question
 
I program in SAS for my job. I am interested in programming and I
picked up Python for a hobby. However, my friend just finished a CS
course on C and he thinks that I should switch to C because it is "the
best" learning language. Any thoughts?

Thanks,


Richard Bos 12-05-2006 03:04 PM

Re: Learner question
 
"Alex Pavluck" <apavluck@gmail.com> wrote:

> I program in SAS for my job. I am interested in programming and I
> picked up Python for a hobby. However, my friend just finished a CS
> course on C and he thinks that I should switch to C because it is "the
> best" learning language. Any thoughts?


He's a nutcase. C is one of the best programming languages, but a bad
learning language. It's too flexible; it will not teach you good style
and restraint. I suggest something like Pascal. While you are still
learning you need to be taught good programming practices, and a B&D
language like Pascal will help you with that. C won't. (OTOH, IMO C is
much, much better than Pascal for someone who has already learned how to
program legibly, maintainably and reliably.)

Richard

CBFalconer 12-05-2006 03:10 PM

Re: Learner question
 
Alex Pavluck wrote:
>
> I program in SAS for my job. I am interested in programming and I
> picked up Python for a hobby. However, my friend just finished a
> CS course on C and he thinks that I should switch to C because it
> is "the best" learning language. Any thoughts?


Far and away the best learning language is Pascal.

--
Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net)
Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
<http://cbfalconer.home.att.net>



Chris Dollin 12-05-2006 03:58 PM

Re: Learner question
 
Alex Pavluck wrote:

> I program in SAS for my job. I am interested in programming and I
> picked up Python for a hobby. However, my friend just finished a CS
> course on C and he thinks that I should switch to C because it is "the
> best" learning language. Any thoughts?


He's bonkers.

C's a jolly good close-to-the-metal high[ish]-level language, but it
has too many sharp edges and opportunities for wilful obfuscation
to be '"the best" learning language'.

It depends lots on what you want to learn /for/. Python is a reasonable
language to get started on. Java is another decent candidate. My
favourite languages are all too obscure for me to honestly recommend
them to you. (They're not all /obscure/, just TOFMTHRTTY.)

--
Chris "Perikles triumphant" Dollin
"People are part of the design. It's dangerous to forget that." /Star Cops/


Charlton Wilbur 12-05-2006 09:37 PM

Re: Learner question
 
>>>>> "RB" == Richard Bos <rlb@hoekstra-uitgeverij.nl> writes:

RB> "Alex Pavluck" <apavluck@gmail.com> wrote:
>> I program in SAS for my job. I am interested in programming
>> and I picked up Python for a hobby. However, my friend just
>> finished a CS course on C and he thinks that I should switch to
>> C because it is "the best" learning language. Any thoughts?


RB> He's a nutcase. C is one of the best programming languages,
RB> but a bad learning language. It's too flexible; it will not
RB> teach you good style and restraint.

C was my third programming language. It's the one that really taught
me how to program, and how to program defensively.

RB> While you are still learning you need to be taught
RB> good programming practices, and a B&D language like Pascal
RB> will help you with that. C won't.

But Pascal won't really help you with that either; all you'll learn is
that you must do this or that to make the compiler happy, and then
when you get to C, you won't have the compiler complaining. Pascal
will impose good programming practices on you, but you won't
understand why they're good programming practices.

On the other hand, I wrote excessively neat (some might say
anal-retentive) C when I first learned, because if it wasn't clean, I
didn't stand a chance of debugging it.

Charlton


--
Charlton Wilbur
cwilbur@chromatico.net


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