Experiences/guidance on teaching Python as a first programming language

Mark Lawrence breamoreboy at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Dec 17 16:35:27 CET 2013

On 17/12/2013 15:24, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Tue, 17 Dec 2013 09:54:41 -0500, Roy Smith wrote:
>> In article <mailman.4286.1387291924.18130.python-list at python.org>,
>>   Neil Cerutti <neilc at norwich.edu> wrote:
>>> On 2013-12-17, Steven D'Aprano
>>> <steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info> wrote:
>>>> I would really like to see good quality statistics about bugs per
>>>> program written in different languages. I expect that, for all we
>>>> like to make fun of COBOL, it probably has few bugs per
>>>> unit-of-useful-work-done than the equivalent written in C.
>> Well, there was that little Y2K thing...
> Oh come on, how were people in the 1990s supposed to predict that they
> would be followed by the year 2000???
> That's a good point, but that wasn't a language issue, it was a program
> design issue. Back in the 70s and 80s, when saving two digits per date
> field seemed to be a sensible thing to do, people simply didn't imagine
> that their programs would still be used in the year 1999[1]. That's not
> the same sort of bug as (say) C buffer overflows, or SQL code injection
> attacks. It's not like the COBOL language defined dates as having only
> two digits.
> [1] What gets me is that even in the year 1999, there were still
> programmers writing code that assumed two-digit years. I have it on good
> authority from somebody working as an external consultant for a bank in
> 1999 that he spent most of 1998 and 1999 fixing *brand new code* written
> by the bank's own staff. You'd think that having lived through that
> experience would have shaken his belief that private enterprise does
> everything better, and the bigger the corporation the better they do it,
> but apparently not. Go figure.

I was in charge of the team at work that had to make all code Y2K 
compliant.  I discovered the one bug that to my knowledge slipped 
through the net.  Four years later back at the same place on contract I 
fixed the fix!!!

My fellow Pythonistas, ask not what our language can do for you, ask 
what you can do for our language.

Mark Lawrence

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