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Old 08-18-04, 11:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best computer language to start with ?

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with snakes, but I know a few of you know a good bit on computers and the language. Anyway, I was thinking of trying to learn how to program. Does anyone have any idea on what is the easiest language to start with ? I tried machine code and I that was really confusing, basically all I could do was get syntax errors. Any input is appreciated
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Old 08-18-04, 12:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I used to love coding RPGII

Yeah, I know, I know, it dates me really well.
Same with Fortran, that was great, confusing but great.

I often see programmers boasting something along the lines of "100% pure assembly language -- the raw native language of the PC". Might be worth checking out.
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Old 08-18-04, 12:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ixidor: What are you planning to do with your newfound knowledge?

If you want to do programming for banks, a lot of them still use COBOL.

For game design C++ is a must, and some Assembler wouldn't hurt. You can find free C compilers on many platforms. Linux's KDE Desktop even comes with a decent windowed programming environment called KDevelop (free is good).

Assembler can break your brain, but if you want to make compact, fast code for things like graphic demos, or high speed mission critical apps, it's the way to go. Compilers in other languages have gotten better at making fast, efficient code though, so it's not as prevalent as it used to be. (Plus it's not easily portable at all.)


Visual Basic is a good starter language but it's proprietary to Microsoft so you're stuck using their tools. $$

Java is a nice platform independent language that you can use to make apps for everything from web pages to cell phones. It has a free dev kit and compiler system available. It's not the fastest language in the world, but it's nice if you want to share a program with people on any hardware or OS.

And nope, I'm not a coder I just have a pile of the books in my office and have been surrounded by programmers for a good part of the last decade
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Old 08-18-04, 12:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, I was planning on writing some C++ for game design, but people I know have put me under the impression that C++ is a very difficult language to begin with. It's not really for game design per say but its more for a game that lets you use 3rd party programs to help in the acceleration of the game(this is an over the internet rpg), so I was more trying to write a plugin using C++ rather than actually design a game, but it would be pretty need to write my own battle ship lol :P
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Old 08-18-04, 12:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Right up my alley: 7 years as a commercial software developer, 6.5 of it in programming language design and implementation.

Best langauges to start with:

- Pascal (or Modula II). Learn the basics of block structure programming, and get you thinking in sequential algorithms.

-Smalltalk: If you're going to start out doing object oriented programming (like Java), might as well go the distance. Smalltalk is all about the objects.

-Scheme: Note: only go this route if you're strongly mathematically inclined. Scheme (a variant of LISP) will get you thinking about problem solutions in ways other languanges wont.

These three are all great learner languages, but are awfull production languages. If you only want to learn 1 language, and you want to be able to put it to work, go with Java. You'll ge the most bang for your buck there. Absolutely do NOT go with C++. Dont get me wrong...it's a very usefull language, but it's a b***h to learn. Java is quite similar but has paved over some of the rough spots. "ANSI" C is marginally better, but really it should be Java.

Perl is a weird language, but you can do some cool stuff with it. Get the O'Reilly book if you're going to learn Perl. It's pretty good.

Oh, and boasting about assembly code is like showing off your snake bite scars. People do it to look tough. Assembly is only needed for small pieces of things that need to be super-efficient (device drivers mostly). It is the worst language to try to learn, and definitely NOT a good place to start

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Old 08-18-04, 12:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would recommend C++. Once you know C++, you'll pretty much know Java and have a very easy time learning C as well. Of the 3 though, Java is the easiest to learn though so if your intention is just to learn anything rather than learn them all in the long run, go with Java.

I would definitely not recommend assembly as a first language, as it requires you to have VERY WELL organized code. Without experience with a higher level language first, you're likely to spit out some spaghetti code.

I think Basic, Cobol, and Fortran are more or less obsolete. Some other languages that are relatively easy but still very relevant are python and tcl, which are scripted languages. Being higher level and thus more abstract, they should be a little easier to pick up.
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Old 08-18-04, 12:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I do have python downloaded on my computer thats another place I was getting a lot of syntax errors, anyway the one language I really want to learn is C++ and then maybe java but I was wondering if this is to heavy to start with, like if I should start with a simpler language to begin and then try to progress
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Old 08-18-04, 01:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 08-18-04, 02:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hmmm...if you want C++ and Java, Java is a better starter language for sure, but it's up to you. I dont know your background and aptitude, so I have no idea if it's too heavy. If I were you I'd go with Java at least until you get some small stuff working. It's completely appropriate for building a battleships game.

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Old 08-18-04, 05:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hmmm, I started with Basic, which was an awesome starter language (and yes, thus dates me a bit). But after that, C++ was not difficult at all.

If you just want to be able to make something, Visual Basic is good because it's easy enough to use that you feel like you're accomplishing things right away. But it WON'T give you a solid grounding in how to program.

Depends on what you want to do.

I haven't done Java though, so maybe the others are right about it being easier than C++, I don't know.

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Old 08-19-04, 10:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Guess im gonna start with java, see if I can grasp that, then go on to C++ thanks for your input guys
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