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Your view of FAQ section.

 
 
Malcolm McLean
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      06-07-2007

"Keith Thompson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> "Malcolm McLean" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> [...]
>> Array - pointer equivalance is a classic case. Unless you go through a
>> stage of thinking that arrays and pointers are equivalent, you will
>> never understand why they are not equivalent.

>
> Either I don't understand that statement, or I completely disagree
> with it; I'm not sure which.
>
> Surely it's possible for someone learning C to understand from the
> beginning that arrays and pointers are very different things, if the
> concepts are just explained correctly on the first exposure.
>

You've got an unusual mind. Which is probably a strength, as a programmer.
However most people think and learn in far less abstract way.

--
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Keith Thompson
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      06-07-2007
"Malcolm McLean" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> "Keith Thompson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>> "Malcolm McLean" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>> [...]
>>> Array - pointer equivalance is a classic case. Unless you go through a
>>> stage of thinking that arrays and pointers are equivalent, you will
>>> never understand why they are not equivalent.

>>
>> Either I don't understand that statement, or I completely disagree
>> with it; I'm not sure which.
>>
>> Surely it's possible for someone learning C to understand from the
>> beginning that arrays and pointers are very different things, if the
>> concepts are just explained correctly on the first exposure.
>>

> You've got an unusual mind. Which is probably a strength, as a
> programmer. However most people think and learn in far less abstract
> way.


I still disagree. I think most people are perfectly capable of
understanding C pointers and arrays without *ever* having the delusion
that they're the same thing. And anyone who's not capable of that
likely will never really understand either arrays or pointers.

(I'm not saying that anyone who has thought arrays and pointers are
the same thing can never understand them. The misconception is
unnecessary, not fatal.)

--
Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
San Diego Supercomputer Center <*> <http://users.sdsc.edu/~kst>
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-- Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, "Yes Minister"
 
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Flash Gordon
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      06-07-2007
Keith Thompson wrote, On 07/06/07 08:02:
> "Malcolm McLean" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>> "Keith Thompson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>>> "Malcolm McLean" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>>> [...]
>>>> Array - pointer equivalance is a classic case. Unless you go through a
>>>> stage of thinking that arrays and pointers are equivalent, you will
>>>> never understand why they are not equivalent.
>>> Either I don't understand that statement, or I completely disagree
>>> with it; I'm not sure which.
>>>
>>> Surely it's possible for someone learning C to understand from the
>>> beginning that arrays and pointers are very different things, if the
>>> concepts are just explained correctly on the first exposure.
>>>

>> You've got an unusual mind. Which is probably a strength, as a
>> programmer. However most people think and learn in far less abstract
>> way.

>
> I still disagree. I think most people are perfectly capable of
> understanding C pointers and arrays without *ever* having the delusion
> that they're the same thing. And anyone who's not capable of that
> likely will never really understand either arrays or pointers.


I agree. I've managed to explain the concepts of arrays and pointer to
people who have NO programming experience. It is really very easy to
explain in a classroom.

Desks are arranged in a traditional way in the classroom. OK, here is a
2 dimensional array of desks. We will number the rows from 0, and the
columns from 0, so John is in desk[3][5].

Now for pointers. My finger is pointing to desk[3][5], now I'm going to
increment it, it is now pointing at desk[3][6] where Jenny is.

Simple. Then, once they understand the general concepts of arrays and
pointers you can go on to explain the wrinkles of array in C.

As I say, I know that this type of explanation works (possibly with a
bit more discussion) since I've used it with non-computer people and
managed to go on to explain why things are not working in buggy programs.

> (I'm not saying that anyone who has thought arrays and pointers are
> the same thing can never understand them. The misconception is
> unnecessary, not fatal.)


Agreed.
--
Flash Gordon
 
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