Re: Language issues (was: Compiler issues)

Brock <>
14 Nov 2000 13:15:35 -0500

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Related articles
Language issues (was: Compiler issues) (Joachim Durchholz) (2000-11-11)
Re: Language issues (was: Compiler issues) (Brock) (2000-11-14)
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From: Brock <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 14 Nov 2000 13:15:35 -0500
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 00-11-088
Keywords: practice
Posted-Date: 14 Nov 2000 13:15:35 EST

> As does C, or any other language. In fact *programming* changes the way
> that you think. Or any other mental endeavour that requires your full
> concentration over a prolonged period of time.
> > I know of someone who learned BASIC that said it
> > made C hard to understand.
> Basic makes many languages hard to understand. I'm firmly with Dijkstra
> here: "It is practically impossible to teach good programming to
> students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential
> programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration."
> (Well, that's polemic exaggeration, but there's a lot of truth to that.)

I know I may well be jumping into an educational holy-war, but I just want
to give a bit of input on this subject.

I started to program in BASIC at a very young age, and that is all I
programmed in for quite a few years. At my high school they taught BASIC
to the first year class, Pascal to the 2nd year class, and C/C++ (no objects)
to the third year class. My observation was that the students were able to
transition from one level to the next without too much trouble. The key,
I believe, is not in the languages but how they are taught. You can be
shown how to program in very evil and twisted ways, or if you have a good
teacher (like they had at my school) the techniques can be quite strait-

I have seen BASIC code that is cleaner than C code (or some other random
language), and of course the other way around.

After learning all my high school had to offer I went on to learn a dozen
or so other languages (LISP, java, smalltalk, Perl... all kinds of random
stuff (ML most recently :)) and none of them offered significant resistance
to learning them.

Point being that I, and a lot of my high-school classmates, are living
examples of starting with BASIC but not shooting ourselves when we encounter
our first procedure in Pascal, struct in C... Object in C++ (well... can't
speak for my classmates on that one).

Just food for thought.

[End of thread -- this has wandered away from compilers. My first two
languages were Fortran II and Trac, and look how warped I am. -John]

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