[H-GEN] Programing

Martin Pool mbp at linuxcare.com.au
Sun Jul 30 20:53:00 EDT 2000

On Sun, Jul 30, 2000 at 10:14:57PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:

> I guess my advice would be just to find a language you can get to
> work easily, get a book for it, and write code to do anything you find
> interesting. 

> Python's probably a good language for this on Linux: it's
> interpreted so you can just type "python" and start doing stuff, and
> it lets you do gtk stuff and everything fairly easily as well. 

Yes, I'd agree with that.  It's also about as friendly to use for the
novice as BASIC, but it lets you try out most (?) major tools in
programming, including regexps, lambda calculus, OO, and RPC.

As Somebody Famous said: 

  A language which doesn't teach you something new is not worth

> Java's has many of the good properties of Python, as well as being
> more popular, but I'm not convinced it's as pleasant to
> use. Certainly, I've had lots of pain getting it to work under
> Linux, there's no interactive interpretor, and the IDEs I've played
> with under Windows have just seemed hellishly complicated. But that
> may just be me, and YMMV here, too.

Java's strange like that.  Once it's set up and running it's very nice
to use, as the language catches many errors at compile time and offers
a nicely chosen small set of features.  But setting it up and getting
your first program compiled is fiendishly complicated.  I remember it
taking me a couple of days to work out the CLASSPATH strangeness.

If you use it, you should use the IBM Jikes compiler[0], rather than
the standard javac: it's faster and offers *much* better diagnostic
messages, including typo correction.

Oh, and there is at least one free and hellishly slow Java
interpreter: <http://freshmeat.net/appindex/1999/10/02/938886032.html>

There are at least two interesting technical ideas in Java, being the
security manager and Hotspot compilation.  Neither are original to
Java, but it's arguably their first really mainstream showing.

> Really, your first language and whatever ends up being your favourite
> language should be fairly unrelated. 

Absolutely.  Nice analogy.

Martin Pool, Linuxcare, Inc.
+61 2 6262 8990
mbp at linuxcare.com, http://www.linuxcare.com/
Linuxcare. Support for the revolution.
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