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C# and Java Weekday Languages, Python and Ruby For Weekends? 389

Dan Lorenc writes "Using the data dump, I measured the activity of various programming languages throughout the week. The results: Ruby and Python saw a rise in questions asked on the weekend while C# and Java saw a dropoff in activity on the weekend. This means that more programmers are using Python and Ruby on the weekend for their personal projects, showing that these languages are more fun to use. Show this experiment to your boss the next time you are selecting a programming language for a project at work."

Best Paradigm For a First Programming Course? 592

Keyper7 writes "The first programming course I had during my computer science schooling, aptly named 'Introduction to Programming,' was given in C because its emphasis was on imperative programming. A little before I graduated, though, it was decided that the focus would change to object-oriented programming with Java. (I must emphasize that the change was not made because of any hype about Java or to dumb down the course; back then and still, it's presented by good Java programmers who try to teach good practices and do not encourage excessive reliance on libraries.) But the practices taught are not paradigm-independent, and this sparked a discussion that continues to this day: which paradigm is most appropriate to introduce programming? Besides imperative and object-oriented, I know teachers who firmly believe that functional programming is the best choice. I'm interested in language-independent opinions that Slashdotters might have on this matter. Which paradigm is good to introduce programming while keeping a freshman's mind free enough for him/her to learn other paradigms afterwards?"

What Programming Language For Linux Development? 997

k33l0r writes "Recently I've been thinking about developing (or learning to develop) for Linux. I'm an IT university student but my degree program focuses almost exclusively on Microsoft tools (Visual Studio, C#, ASP.NET, etc.) which is why I would like to expand my repertoire on my own. Personally I'm quite comfortable in a Linux environment, but have never programmed for it. Over the years I've developed a healthy fear of everything Java and I'm not too sure of what I think of Python's use of indentation to delimit blocks. The question that remains is: what language and tools should I be using?"

How Should I Teach a Basic Programming Course? 452

riverman writes "I have been 'provisioned' at the school where I work to teach a new Computer Science/Programming course. I'm supposed to be teaching everything from the very-very basics (i.e. where that myspace thing is in your computer monitor, and how it knows who your friends are) to the easy-advanced (i.e. PHP classes and Python/Google App Engine). I'm an experienced programmer, but I'm not sure where to start — I could easily assume that my students know something basic they don't. Are there any resources on the internet that could help me find a solid curriculum? What are your suggestions?" I'm sure many of us have gone through intro-level programming courses of some sort; what are some things your teacher or professor did that worked well, and what didn't work at all?

The State of Scripting Languages 415

Esther Schindler writes to tell us that Lynn Greiner has another look at the state of the scripting universe as a follow on to the same topic three years ago. Greiner talks to major players from each of the main scripting languages (PHP, Perl, Tcl, Python, Ruby, and Javascript) to find out the current status and where they are headed in the future. "The biggest change since 2005 has been the growth of richer Web applications that perform more of their computations in the browser using JavaScript. The demand for these applications has forced developers to learn and use JavaScript much more than before. There's also been a lot of interest in Ruby, another dynamic language, spurred by the release and growth of Ruby on Rails. As a result of these changes, many developers are becoming more comfortable with dynamic languages."

How To Encourage a Young Teen To Learn Programming? 1095

Anonymous Hacker writes "I'm in a bit of a bind. My young teenage son is starting to get curious about computers, and in particular, programming. Now, I'm a long time kernel hacker (Linux, BSD and UNIX). I have no trouble handling some of the more obscure things in the kernel. But teaching is not something that I'm good at, by any means. Heck, I can't even write useful documentation for non-techies. So my question is: what's the best way to encourage his curiosity and enable him to learn? Now, I know there are folks out there with far better experience in this area than myself. I'd really appreciate any wisdom you can offer. I'd also be especially interested in what younger people think, in particular those who are currently in college or high school. I've shown my son some of the basics of the shell, the filesystem, and even how to do a 'Hello World' program in C. Yet, I have to wonder if this is the really the right approach. This was great when I was first learning things. And it still is for kernel hacking, and other things. But I'm concerned whether this will bore him, now that there's so much more available and much of this world is oriented towards point-n-click. What's the best way to for a young teen to get started in exploring this wonderful world of computers and learning how to program? In a *NIX environment, preferably." Whether or not you have suggestions for generating interest or teaching methods, there was probably something that first piqued your curiosity. It seems like a lot of people get into programming by just wondering how something works or what they can make it do. So, what caught your eye?

What Programming Languages Should You Learn Next? 759

simoniker writes "Over at Dobbs Code Talk, Chris Diggins has been discussing programming languages beyond C++ or Java, suggesting options such as Ruby ('does a great job of showing how powerful a dynamic language can be, and leverages powerful ideas from Smalltalk, Perl, and Lisp') but suggesting Scala as a first choice ('Very accessible to programmers from different backgrounds.') What would your choice be for programmers extending beyond their normal boundaries?"

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