[Nottingham] Which programming language (RE: O'Reilly Books)

Martin Garton martin at stupids.org
Thu Aug 2 12:22:20 BST 2007

On Thu, 2007-08-02 at 12:09 +0100, Roger Light wrote:

> So on a similar vein - what do people think is a good language to start
> off with?

Good question.

I tend to see two schools of thought on this.  Firstly is the "short
term" approach which tends to suggest "easy" languages for beginners so
they can be productive quickly without having to learn too many new
concepts all at once.

The other approach is to pick a language that will give the programmer a
real understanding of what is happening behind the scenes.  This way
requires more understanding up front but can pay off in the long term
and tends IMO to produce developers with a better intuition for
programming in general.

I'm firmly in the second camp.  I've deliberately not listed which
languages I think fit into which categories in order to avoid a flame

To simply give an answer to your question though, I would recommend C
because it's close enough to the metal to allow the developer to have a
clue what's really going on, while providing enough built in
functionality to do powerful things relatively easily.  It certainly
wouldn't be the easiest language for a beginner though.

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