Do I really need to learn Java?

Kemp Randy-W18971 Randy.L.Kemp at
Tue May 15 15:14:10 CEST 2001

It really depends on the individual.  I would say to start with one
language, but then branch out.  But be sure to study what can also enhance
your bottom line, in addition to your personal satisfaction.  Is it better,
just in terms of web development, to master Java, ASP, PHP, or Cold Fusion?
All would be useful to know, but one would become a great specialty and
interest to you.  Should you stick with Perl, Python, or Ruby to handle
tasks that call for a scripting language.  All can do the job, but you may
want to study all, even if you use one exclusively for scripting tasks.  

-----Original Message-----
From: Darren New [mailto:dnew at]
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2001 2:45 PM
To: python-list at
Subject: Re: Do I really need to learn Java?

James Logajan wrote:
> Pick one language, it doesn't matter much which, and start using it to
> problems. Don't hop from language to language.

Personally, I'd have to disagree with this. Perhaps closer would be
"pick one language and write your programs in it, but *study* other
languages." In particular, study languages with widely variant
philosophies. Compared to APL, Lisp, FORTH, SML, Smalltalk, Tcl and
Hermes, the differences between Java and Python and C++ are
insignificant. That doesn't mean you should try to make a living
programming in all of them. Instead, you should try to learn enough
about them to understand what makes them unique, enough to understand
when a different language would be more appropriate to the task at hand.

Personally, I have two or three programs I write in a new language to
learn the libraries and get familiar with the style. Word games that
learn (like Jotto or 20 questions, say) are good for learning console
I/O, file operations, simple loops and interactions and such, etc.

Kind of like art: Study the great painters, not because you want to
paint in their style, but to learn when their style is appropriate and
what made them great.

> Given a choice between
> studying yet another language or studying interesting and useful
> do the latter.

I would say this is good, too, but it can be taken too far. You can
learn good programming techniques in most any language. Algorithms as
such are things that are already in libraries or that you can look up.
Knowing good techniques for figuring out new algorithms is what
distinguishes good programmers from average programmers.

Darren New / Senior MTS & Free Radical / Invisible Worlds Inc.
       San Diego, CA, USA (PST).  Cryptokeys on demand.
     This is top-quality raw fish, the Rolls-Rice of Sushi!

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