Experiences/guidance on teaching Python as a first programming language

Mark Lawrence breamoreboy at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Dec 19 06:36:26 CET 2013


On 19/12/2013 05:09, rusi wrote:
> On Thursday, December 19, 2013 10:20:54 AM UTC+5:30, Mark Lawrence wrote:
>> On 19/12/2013 04:29, rusi wrote:
>>> On Thursday, December 19, 2013 6:19:04 AM UTC+5:30, Rhodri James wrote:
>>>> On Tue, 17 Dec 2013 15:51:44 -0000, Wolfgang Keller wrote:
>>>>> The only issue for me was to figure out how to do in C what I already
>>>>> knew in Pascal. And I had to waste a *lot* more time and mental effort
>>>>> to mess with that language than it took for me to learn *both* the
>>>>> basics of programming per se *and* Pascal in the first class at my home
>>>>> university.
>>>> It's sounds like you made, and are carrying on making, one of the classic
>>>> mistakes of software engineering: you're trying to write one language in
>>>> the style of another.  It is possible to write C code as if it were
>>>> Pascal, but it's a painful process and it won't be pretty.  It's far
>>>> better to use a language as it is rather than as you want it to be.
>>> Yes but the reverse is also true: Sometimes the best code in language
>>> L is first conceptualized in design-language D and then 'coded' into
>>> L.
>>> When we were students D was called 'flow-charts'
>>> Gone out of fashion today and replaced by UML.
>>> Now I expect the majority on this list to not care for UML.
>>> However the idea of a separate design language is not negated by the fact
>>> that UML is overkill and silly.
>>> eg Saw this (on the Erlang mailing list)
>>> In some Australian university (in the 90s) 2 sems of Cobol was
>>> replaced by 1 sem Scheme + 1 sem Cobol.  Students learnt more Cobol in
>>> the second arrangement than in the first. [Note: 'More Cobol' not 'More
>>> Programming']
>>> Now if you were to ask those *students* I would expect similar
>>> emotions towards Cobol as Wolfgang is expressing towards C.
>>> That is however a separate issue :D
>
>> If C is such a crap language, what does it says for the thousands of
>> languages that never got anywhere?  Or did C simply have a far larger
>> sales and marketing budget? :)
>
> Are you addressing that to me?

No, I never address individuals.  As far as I'm concerned I'm sending to 
an entire newsgroup/mailing list.

> [Assuming you are a good boy who does not use GG-crap and knows the laws
> of snipping and attributing I am taking it so :D ]

Please cut the sarcastic crap.

>
> No I am not in the 'C-is-crap' camp.  Very far into the opposite actually.
>
> What would you say to someone who says:
> - food is crap to eat
> - air is crap to breathe
>
> "C is crap technology" is analogous.
>
> If you are using python its likely CPython. Whats the C there?
> If you are connected to the net the modem likely runs a linux. Coded in?
>
> I am an Luddite -- dont touch computers.
> Right. The car I drive probably has embedded chips... Embeded linux.
>
> No Amish/Luddite is not enough to say "No!" to C
> You'd have to be completely isolated from every connection with modern
> civilization.
>
> So python programmers employ the 'black-cat' squad of GvR and gang to shield
> us from C.  Because they are good at it we can afford to ignore it.
>
> No, "No C" is no option.
> The only option is at how many removes we keep away from it.
>

I've no idea what most of the above is meant to mean.  Have you been 
reading too much RR or "Joseph McCarthy"?

-- 
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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