Learning different languages

gene tani gene.tani at gmail.com
Thu Mar 9 15:34:59 CET 2006

Harry George wrote:
> re the OP:
> I find I have to concentrate on one language for a while (several
> programs) to ramp up on the syntax, semantics, idioms, and libraries.
> Then I'm safe to wander off and learn other languages.  When it comes
> time to do a project, I use one main language unless it really is a
> bad match, in which case I write in one of the others.  My "one"
> language has variously been over the years Pascal, Modula-2, Modula-3,
> perl, and Python.  Even though I've written substantially in COBOL,
> FORTRAN, Lisp, Prolog, and Java, I wouldn't use these for a default
> language.

this raises a few issues: how do you keep the syntax of python and
javascript, or python and C clear?  At a base level, some combination
of IDE code completion, reference websites (the activestate docs
package for python is fantastically easy to search), Oreilly nutshell
/other books, and quick references / other visual aids.  At the next
level, Udell talks about making different languages work similarly if
you need to move functionality between them.

the other is it's hard to avoid having to read, e.g. perl if you're
working in a UNIX shop, lisp if you pick emacs, java/C# if you want to
read about design patterns, javascript, etc. etc.  After a while, the
read-only ability segues into some ability to modify others' code,
which segues into writing code.

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