Hi Yuri/all

Sorry for taking so long to respond.  Had a lot of articles to catch up 
with.  I remember reading something about a grant to develop the language 
but it skipped my mind during the original post.  It's great to have a 
government that is willing to invest in IT at such basic level.

Anyhow back to work.  When looking at a language to teach programming a 
number of areas need to be evaluated.  Firstly does it enforce good 
programming concepts.  In OO your encapsulation, inheritance, abstraction 
and so on.  Unless students have a good grounding in theory or experience 
they don?t understand as quickly why you should not use certain features 
even if the system allows it.  It becomes a game of seeing how we can fool 
the compiler/interpreter.  Discipline is easier when somebody else imposes 
it.  Secondly the feature set of the language.  Do we have to build a lot of 
support routines to support our classes.  This is one place that Java needs 
work and Ruby is brilliant at.  And unfortunately have to look at how 
commercial the skill is.  I know all the arguments about teaching somebody 
to program well in one language means they should be able to adapt the skill 
to other languages.  I have used the argument many times.  I remember 
pushing Java when it was version 1.0 long before the current recognition by 
industry.  Unfortunately industry is looking for particular skills and buzz 
words are more marketable.  Even the inept of IT managers would have heard 
the word Java whispered.

Personally I learned Pascal when I was a lot younger.  A little company 
called Borland just released a Pascal compiler which was a dream come true.  
Unfortunately being young and inexperienced I found the language to be very 
constraining and unwieldy.  Then I found a little book called "The C 
Programming Language" and fell in love.  It removed all the things I found 
annoying about Pascal.  The things I learned from Pascal helped me survive 
the University C programming units.  It was interesting to watch other 
people crash their systems due to incorrect pointer indirection and other 
nasties.  All because they did not learn to respect the rules and impose 
discipline.

Sorry I seem to have gone on again in a long and windy discussion.  I love 
languages and the technology associated with them.  If Ruby keeps developing 
and improving it has a very bright future.  I have always looked at Java as 
the Pascal of the 80.  Its a reasonable teaching tool but its not the end of 
the line, a better language waiting in the wings somewhere.  

Also interesting to see what is going on at the Perl camp.  Who knows it 
might be one of the contenders :)

Kind Regards

Srecko


Yuri Leikind <YuriLeikind / scnsoft.com> wrote in
news:3B3B7C8B.FC1E12AE / scnsoft.com: 

> Hi all,
> 
> I agree with Srecko Howard in almost all points,
> only don't understand this:
> 
>> I was also looking at using Ruby as a teaching tool for OO programming
>> (yes I?m an academic if you want to hold it against me).  A few of the
>> features I think would be hard to explain to students without a good
>> grounding in OO (my feeling and I would have a hell of a time
>> convincing other lecturers, "you want to use what?").  I think Java
>> will do nicely for now :) 
> 
> What features exactly?
> 
> As for individuals, yes, that's true: Matz, Larry Wall, Guido
> Van Rossum, John Ousterhout and some others have proved that an
> individual genius is capable of creating a usable and complex system
> like a programming language. As far as I know (I may be mistaken, if
> so, please correct me), Matz works  on Ruby and Ruby related things
> full-time thanks to goverment grant, and I think this is cool and
> great for Ruby to keep moving in the right direction, since this
> is the person who has created this language. (A very unexpected
> conclusion, isn't it ;-)
> 
> The following is slightly offtopic, but ... interesting things happen
> in Perl community since the Perl 6 development process has 
> begun. Perl 6 is a complete rewrite and is a 
> community effort. I am watching it with growing interest, 
> because this process is different in spirit from
> other open source languages, including Perl.
>