[Edu-sig] Python as a first language for computer sciencist

Arthur ajsiegel at optonline.net
Thu Oct 20 16:46:07 CEST 2005

> From: edu-sig-bounces at python.org [mailto:edu-sig-bounces at python.org] On
> Behalf Of Arthur

> > [ Mark Engelberg ]:
> > > 2.  My teaching experience is limited, but I did teach one programming
> > > class to a group of middle-schoolers.  The most common mistake was, by
> > > far, simple misspellings of variable names (usually capitalization
> > > confusion).  When a compiler catches this, it's no big deal.  When a
> > > compiler reports cryptic error messages, or none at all, for such a
> > > common mistake, that can be a big problem.
> There is certainly a *lot* that has been said on this point in the Python
> archives.

BTW, I can promise you the same Alex Martelli would bring the same level of
vehemence to an argument *for* case insensitivity that he would bring to an
argument *against* variable declarations.

I've never actually heard the 2 issues tied together before (doesn't mean it
hasn't been) - but there maybe a intuitive connection - the forgivingness of
case-insensitivity offering some practical mitigation of the potential
issues of a language that disallows variable declaration.

Martelli will be speaking at a NY Linux event next week.  If my schedule
allows I hope to be there, and will perhaps take the opportunity to ask him
(if he decides we are on speaking terms) if he thinks there is any intuitive
connection between these vehement positions of his.  I think we can agree
off-hand that there is no strictly logical connection.


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