Experiences/guidance on teaching Python as a first programming language

Chris Angelico rosuav at gmail.com
Thu Dec 12 22:12:46 CET 2013

On Fri, Dec 13, 2013 at 7:36 AM, Wolfgang Keller <feliphil at gmx.net> wrote:
> And ever
> after that experience, I avoided all languages that were even remotely
> similar to C, such as C++, Java, C#, Javascript, PHP etc.

I think that's disappointing, for two reasons. Firstly, C syntax isn't
that terrible. You might prefer Python syntax to it, but it's
undeniably better than several of its predecessors (I do not want to
write in COBOL, tyvm!), and there are recent languages that manage to
get some things so crazily backward (like abolishing operator
precedence so 2 + 3 * 4 = 24 not 14) that I wouldn't want to use them.
And secondly, C is very much the language of Unix. Sure, its best job
is implementing high level languages so day-to-day code doesn't need
to use it, but it's still important when you need to get to some
lower-level facilities. For those two reasons, I think a basic working
knowledge of C is useful for working with computers, networking,
pretty much everything these days. It won't break your brain to
understand multiple styles, and it might help you to remember why it
is you love Python syntax so much :)

Last time I had to do some C work, I was reminded just how amazingly
convenient a high-level string class is... all I wanted to do was
concatenate a bunch of strings with spaces between them, and I had to
go through so many hoops!

" ".join(list_of_strings)

Et voila.


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