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Old 18th August 2008
Crypt Crypt is offline
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Default Learning Programming

I have been looking into learning a programming language for sometime and finally decided it's time to get off my ass and learn one. I have read that python, perl, ruby are all easy to learn. What would be a good start for an absolute beginner?
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Old 18th August 2008
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I'm going to suggest python: http://hetland.org/writing/instant-python.html
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Old 18th August 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crypt View Post
What would be a good start for an absolute beginner?
Find a good tutorial, & start wading through it. Searching for the language's name & the word "tutorial" in your search engine of choice is a start.

Yet in my opinion, online tutorials are still generally spotty, however there are some exceptions:You have not mentioned why you are wanting to learn, as the level of motivation is important in getting past the thorny issues which occur in all languages. Nevertheless, for a general purpose language, I would suggest learning Python first because its syntax is less esoteric, & it may be a gentler introduction to programming than the other languages mentioned.

If you are serious in your quest, getting a book at some point will be inevitable. My suggestions would be:I have each of these titles & can recommend each of them.

Last edited by ocicat; 18th August 2008 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 18th August 2008
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Outside of furthering my knowledge, I really have no reason to learn a programming language.
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Old 18th August 2008
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Some assembly language should be everyone's first language, followed by C. You learn how computers and languages really work and pointers are not fuzzy abstracts.
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Old 18th August 2008
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isn't assembly a really hard language to learn?
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Old 18th August 2008
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I love asm, as long as there's enough documentation
Not a big asm coder....
but it's fun to mess with when you got nothing to do....
Also interesting thing is trying to understand how other code works (revers engineering, no i'm not hacker.... and i ain't got much time).... but i have nice book about it.... with sample programs with some simple protection mechanisms

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Old 18th August 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crypt View Post
isn't assembly a really hard language to learn?
There are more details to master when writing good code in assembly language than any other programming language.
  • Consider that any one statement in most higher level languages translates into 2-10+ machine instructions; sometimes, more.
  • Also consider that writing code in assembly language locks your application to that hardware platform. In general, code written in assembly language is not portable at all, however most concept are.
  • From a business standpoint, finding competent people who can write good assembly language is hard. Finding competent people who can write assembly code for an average salary is even harder.
Few good textbooks on writing in assembly language exist, & what few that do (& are still in print...) mostly target Intel & MIPS. Writing assembly language usually requires researching processor specifications.

I'm not trying to turn you away from delving into assembly language, but if this is your first venture into programming, you will find less frustration in focusing on a higher level language first.
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Old 18th August 2008
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That's a common misunderstanding Crypt... assembly is quite easy, it just takes a dedicated individual to write something moderately useful in it. (It gets quite repetitive..).
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Old 18th August 2008
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Hmm, maybe i'll give it a try saying I can find some good tutorials for it
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Old 18th August 2008
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I agree with ocicat in that a portable solution should be explored first, writing something in assembly.. perhaps for hand optimization, is fine, but generally it shouldn't be used for large complex jobs.

Now for my recommendation, learn C... and whatever you do, just say no to Java/C#
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Old 18th August 2008
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As some one who started with C++, and probably started learning programming for the sole reason of it being "interesting"....


I would personally suggest you either start with something very easy or something very low level.



Ruby and Python are great choices, Pythons tutorial/documentation I think makes it a better first language then Ruby. Although if you're not a programmer, you might probably find the official tutorial a bit boring or confusing (terminology wise). The dive into python book that ocicat posted is a great place to start if you go the Python route.


Ruby, you would probably do best to buy a book if you want to go past the original tutorial, imho. Any thing you find though will definitely be OOP oriented.



If you do choose to learn C as a first language, you might like the C Book, it is no longer current but is 'new enough', found section 8.2 off a Google one day, and noticed it was a decent book. You can also find many (more current) books on C including the the big kahuna (according to some). This crzy tutorial and the c-faq if you are pressed from time.



Personally, if I could send a note to myself through time, I would write: "learn /bin/sh first"
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Old 18th August 2008
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Default Learning Programming

I agree that Assembly should be a first programming language, it is somewhat difficult to learn.but if you had some good documentation and the nasm(/usr/ports/devel/nasm) compiler. after that I would go in for C programming. Here is a link to a good book to learn to start learning C programming.
http://www.amazon.com/Programming-La...9096976&sr=1-1
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Old 19th August 2008
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I think Crypt should just forget about assembly and C and use whatever works, and I suspect this is not assembly or C, although this depends on waht exactly he wants to do.

Maybe after he made some programs/scripts/patches/whatever and is considering a career or long-term hobby in programming he might delve deeper and look at C, assembly, etc. but starting with those languages make little sense, it's like writing a physics book and putting quantum mechanics in chapter one, Einstein's theory of relativity in chapter two and Newton's laws in chapter three ...

Personally, I think python is pretty nice.
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Old 19th August 2008
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an on line friend advised me to start learning any programming language and stick to it for a while, by that you can pick any other language in a matter of few days

he described it as carpentering , you learn how to use carpentering tools and then start to make any chairs, doors, etc .....

I started with Ruby

Last edited by qmemo; 5th August 2011 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 19th August 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
starting with those languages make little sense, it's like writing a physics book and putting quantum mechanics in chapter one, Einstein's theory of relativity in chapter two and Newton's laws in chapter three ...
No. It's more like teaching a man to fish rather than just giving him fish.
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Old 19th August 2008
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So everyone who wants to use a programming language just to save time and automate some tasks should learn everything there is to know about computers?

That has nothing to do with teaching anyone to fish, and everything about making a unnecessary steep learning curve and making things overly complicated ...

Maybe one of the better accomplishments of the last 10 years in computing, is that is has been made accessible for almost everyone, things like programming, graphic design, 3D animating, making music, etc. has been made so easy that almost everyone can learn it if they invest the time, without having to invest a six year university study.

It would seem that some people think that ``their way'' is the only way, and that everything else is something of a lesser art, not worth pursuing at all ... This doesn't make any sense, there is nothing wrong with learning just Python (Or Java, Perl, Ruby, PHP etc.), the whole point of a high-level language is that you don't have to worry about the low-level stuff ... Knowledge of the low-level stuff would probably benefit, but it's not needed, and certainly not for beginning programmers.
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Old 19th August 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
Knowledge of the low-level stuff would probably benefit
Ah, so you agree with me.
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but it's not needed, and certainly not for beginning programmers.
That is subject to debate and is so on many blogs. My belief is, knowing how the machine works is immensely beneficial. How often do you hear one not understand why he can't do things in his language or can't figure out how pointers work? In my case, originally being a hardware guy, I struggle with high level languages; frustrated when I know how to accomplish something in asm but can't recall what heirogrlyphic nonsense I'm missing for a datatype, if the language can do it at all.

I believe learning asm is crucial for knowing how the machine really works, just beyond knowing how the chips themselves work. It's sad many think it's a black or lost art. And I agree with someone above who said asm is not difficult. Yes, I'm used to it since it's all I knew for many years but don't find it difficult to code in at all.
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Old 19th August 2008
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Well thanks for all the input guys. I have been looking at Assembly and Python from what you guys have suggested and they both look interesting. I think what i might do is follow in the footsteps of one of my buddies. He started to learn one language and then just kept learning as many as he could. Again, I really have no reason to learn one. I haven't needed it for work as of yet, though who knows what will happen after I learn one...

For the record, I do like the ideas of assembly after looking at what they did with it with MenuetOS...
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Old 19th August 2008
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Quote:
And I agree with someone above who said asm is not difficult.
Must not use NetBSD.

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