Questions from a beginner

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Mon Mar 5 17:58:30 CET 2001

"Alison Myers" <squirmy at> wrote in message
news:1103_983792888 at breakdown...
> Hi. I'm a beginning programmer at a fairly late age and have been looking
for a language to learn.

Welcome. Never too late.

> I have decided against starting with C or C++ because I think they will
be too complicated and they seem to be only really needed for writing
device drivers and operating systems, which is not what I wat to do.
> Is python a good language to learn first?

Most of us here think so.  Especially handy for learning is 1) the
avoidance of busywork such as declarations and unnecessary fences (such as
C braces) and 2) the interactive mode.  Whenever you wonder 'what happens
if ...', type in a few lines and find out.

> Will my knowledge help me with other languages later?

The basic ideas of sequence, alternation, looping, and bundling are common
to all.

> I will be writing for win98 and Linux and I know Python is available on
both of these, but would the code be transportable,

Unless you use a facility specific to a particular OS, yes.

> especially if I write things using tcl (this is probably a long way off
yet, but I'd like to know).

I'll let a tcler answer that (but I presume so).

> I have links to online tutorials, but where would I find good source

A. Read some of the library modules.  B. Check out Parnassus site (URL in
another post today).

> Do I need to buy any books to help me and if so which do you recommend?
> Is there a list of programming projects anywhere or would I get these
from a textbook?

Pick something that motivates *you*.

> I probably need to brush up on my maths, so what specific topics should I
look at?
> Alison

Terry J. Reedy

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