BobJ wrote:
> (Note - I'll fix the margins before I post again)
> Like many who post here I am new to ruby but not new to programming.
> Also
> like many - most, actually - I'm more enthusiastic about the language
> than I
> have been about any language since Basic first raised its head.

The original BASIC from Dartmouth was an intentionally limited dialect
of FORTRAN designed to introduce programming concepts to non-programmers
at an undergraduate level. While it has evolved into a usable
programming language in a couple of forms (see below) its original form
was totally unsuitable for use in professional settings. Despite that
fact, it was used as such. :)

> Is ruby suitable for teaching programming to genuine
> newbies?
> I think so because you can use ruby as if it were an old fashioned
> procedural language then introduce the concepts of OOP when the student
> has
> enough  programming background to absorb the concepts.

I disagree. If you're going to teach Ruby as a first language, teach the
concepts first -- what is a class, what is an object, how does
object-oriented programming organize the world of data and programs, how
does one think in terms of objects, etc. Ruby is an object-oriented
language, and there's nothing in the whole object-oriented paradigm
that's "too deep" for a beginning programmer.

> There is another, dying paradigm from the 1970s that has a lot in
> common
> with ruby.  It has gone by many names but is most commonly called
> "Pick" or
> Multivalue.  Its main claim to fame was the speed with which a good
> programmer could produce a useful system.

PICK and its variants are far from dying. There are even open-source
PICK emulations available now! As I noted above, the original BASIC was
not usable for professional programming. PICK BASIC, on the other hand,
is a well-crafted professional programming language and fits the PICK
operating system/database well.

I came to PICK after many years as a UNIX programmer, so the concepts
were somewhat strange. But I don't see your analogy between PICK and
Ruby at all. PICK is an OS integrated with a multivalue database and a
full-featured dialect of BASIC. Ruby is an object-oriented language that
can run on most operating systems and integrate with most databases.