How many of you are Extreme Programmers?

Peter Hansen peter at
Fri Apr 18 15:25:09 CEST 2003

Aahz wrote:
> In article <mailman.1050587068.2733.python-list at>,
> Jp Calderone  <exarkun at> wrote:
> >
> >--
> >It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to
> >students that have had prior exposure to BASIC: as potential
> >programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of
> >regeneration.        -- Dijkstra
> I like to believe that I'm a counter-example to this generalization.

I too learned BASIC first (from a book which I found in the public 
library, a book with lots of pictures and big fonts and stuff... 
I forget what it was called though :-( ).  I also hope my code is more 
an example of good style than of bad.

Nevertheless, we might give Dijkstra the benefit of the doubt and
accept that a *student* who had exposure to BASIC might be 
unteachable as far as improving her style goes.  Perhaps only once
she advances beyond the student stage, and has some years of actual
_practice_, will she discard the early mental mutilation of BASIC
and find her way to Good Style.

(Though I doubt Dijkstra intended to allow this loophole in his
potential "law". :-)


More information about the Python-list mailing list