what is easier to learn first?...

William Tanksley wtanksle at dolphin.openprojects.net
Thu Mar 23 20:13:44 CET 2000

On Wed, 22 Mar 2000 04:12:04 GMT, Grant Edwards wrote:
>On Tue, 21 Mar 2000 22:31:59 GMT, William Tanksley <wtanksle at dolphin.openprojects.net> wrote:

>>Scheme and Python, by all means; but replace Smalltalk with ML and
>>Modula-3 with Java.  If you can, replace Scheme with Lisp, on the
>>principle that Lisp is much more likely to be useful on the job.

>Java is probably more likely to be useful than M3, but I still
>like M3 (probably because I was exposed to Modula on a PDP-11
>20 years ago).

True.  I like M3 as well, although I would have to choose between it and
Ada.  I actually prefer Oberon to either, but that's probably just because
they forced me to implement an Oberon compiler.

>>If you want a broad base of knowledge, try this:

>> - Python (learn this first)
>> - Haskell/ML
>> - Prolog/Mercury

>I forgot Prolog -- it should definitely be on the list.

Just to give an exposure to logical programming.  It's a cool way of
working -- I enjoyed learning it.

>> - Forth/Joy

>There still seems to be a small but loyal community of embedded
>systems people using Forth.

Grin.  That's right.  Although that's not the reason I list it here; I
list it because it's a truly unique language system in its own right.  I
should have listed Postscript as another alternative.

>> - APL/J/K

>It's been a log time since I've heard much about APL.  I found
>it unpleasant, but perhaps my APL experience was tainted by the
>fact that I had to use it on dumb terminals attached to a
>heavily overloaded VAX running VMS, and all of the documentation
>and chalkboard examples used the APL character set.  It also
>would have helped it I actually had a need or desire to
>manipulate arrays of numbers.  It always helps when learning a
>language if you can use it to do something _you_ consider useful.

Makes some sense to me.  I actually was exposed to J before I even tried
looking at APL, so I understood the basic concepts.  Thus, I entered APL
without being overly prejudiced against it; however, my complete lack of
any APL keyboard doomed my efforts from the start.

I was impressed by it, but I wasn't able to learn it.

J is a LOT easier to learn, because not only does it use only ASCII, but
it also attempts to categorise its functionality in a more logical way.

>I don't know how many painfully boring hours I spent many years
>ago in a numerical analysis class learning ways of finding
>Eigen values and Eigen vectors.  Something I never had to do
>before or since.  I can only presume that somebody who does
>something besides real-time embedded systems design finds that
>sort of thing useful.

I enjoyed that class.  The teacher was a pain -- it was great.  I'm really

>Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  And furthermore,

-William "Billy" Tanksley

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