Remco Gerlich scarblac@pino.selwerd.nl
Mon, 24 Jul 2000 11:01:29 +0200

On Sun, Jul 23, 2000 at 02:18:45PM -0700, Joseph Taylor wrote:
> Hello everyone, I am a true novice to the world of
> programming. Can anyone direct me to the "correct"
> starting point. I have one of the many things I assume
> I will need; that's the "burning desire to learn and I
> will", some have said Linux, Perl, what is the easiest
> one for me to start with.

Linux is not a programming language, but an operating system. If you're a
Windows user, there's no reason to move away from that just to learn

Perl is a powerful language. But in my opinion it has too many special cases;
it has special things for many uses, things work differently depending on
context - unnecessarily complex. I wouldn't recommend Perl.

Usually I recommend Python as the best beginners language (but hey, you
ask here, what do you expect :-)). It's as powerful as Perl, probably has
better support on Windows, but it's "simpler". No special cases everywhere.

Java, Pascal (well, Delphi, which uses Pascal) and Scheme are other reasonable
languages. In the end you will at least want to know C or C++ too (but don't
start with C++).

It depends on what you want to do with it. After the first tutorials and so
on, you learn by picking something to make, and making it. It's a lot easier
if the language you picked is suitable for what you want to do. Also, do you
want to learn programming to find a job in it? Java probably has the advantage
there, at the moment. Python is the most fun :-).

The standard starting point for Python would be the tutorials for non-
programmers, at http://www.python.org/doc/Intros.html , under "Introductions
to Python for non-programmers". Other links there may be useful too.
Remco Gerlich,  scarblac@pino.selwerd.nl