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De incunabula nostra (Was:The best book for an extreme Newbie to programming)

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  • J.E. Cripps
    ... Brian s braver than I am. Most ppl can recall a confusing and intermittent programming infancy but don t dare to relate the gory details, even though
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 29, 2004
      > From: Brian Gordon <microsteel@...> in forum haec scripsit hodie:
      > replying to Augustine <wadunn83@...>
      > > I dunno whether ill get attacked for this or not but:
      > > I am glad that I didn't try to program all at once with Perl. I would
      > > have drowned. I went like this, in this order...

      Brian's braver than I am. Most ppl can recall a confusing and
      intermittent programming infancy but don't dare to relate the
      gory details, even though discussion would be helpful (I'm
      not sure where, though)

      His is not wildly unusual for ppl those who began
      in recent decade(s) and at an early age (single-digit)
      But there's no "typical infancy" any more, if there ever was.

      The metaphor of "drowning" is interesting. I have horrible
      memories of early failure (but not with Perl, because of the
      community support.)

      I'd like to say there's no real reason for fear, come in
      the water's fine (at the shallow end) You won't drown
      (unless you've made representations of skill or committments
      beyond your capacity to fulfill in a fairly limited time.)

      Or maybe another metaphor, flight, "ad astra per aspera"
      Frustrations will crop up, all the time. The earlier flights
      aren't long and you will crash. But it will be more enjoyable
      long before your skills are stellar.

      [BG, recalling a non-Perl language and one of its compilers...]
      > > Big mistake. I started out my first programming language with the [a
      > > well-regarded compiler] I just couldn't get the compiler to work and as
      > > a result I never even got "Hello World!" to work.

      "This is the big hurdle: to leap over it you have to be able
      to create the program text somewhere... run it, and find out
      where your output went. With these mechanical difficulties
      mastered everything else is comparatively easy." Brian
      Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie, in a renowned non-Perl book [0]

      This is one reason to recommend Perl. I've installed it from
      a CD several times with no difficulty (although I prefer OSes
      where it's a standard) Not on a Mac, though.

      To recapitulate: text editor (or what you will), perl (lc, the
      interpreter, vide perlfaq1), perl perl (and all the other
      docs)... type the code, run it, and capture and read the error
      messages. Repeat ad libitum...

      Regards CYC/JEC

      [0] The C Programming Language, 2nd edition (1988)
      Glossarium: incunabula, incunabulorum: infants' clothes; cradle; infancy
      astrum, astri: star
      asper, -era, -erum: stormy, harsh, rude, difficult
      A new day is dawning: http://www.nyxls.com
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