On Sun, 2001-10-21 at 15:26, Tobias Reif wrote:
> Mikkel Bruun wrote:
> 
> >  uhhmm...
> > 
> > learning programming is very difficult and expensive
> 
> 
> FUD. It's fun and cheap.

I second this.  Don't believe that programming is hard or expensive to
learn for an instant.  And considering the spotty quality of programming
classes, it's arguably /better/ to learn on your own, at your own speed.

If you can find the reading material, Ruby is a darn good language to
start on, IMHO.  I'm considering teaching my kids to program using Ruby.

Python is also a good choice, mainly because of the wealth of "Python
for Non-Programmers" material available, and the overall simplicity of
the language.  Also the IDEs for python are more advanced than Ruby's.
Unfortunately  I think it also fails as a teaching language in a few
areas, mainly as a result of having had it's OO features tacked-on
rather than integrated from the start.  

I suspect that once I have the time to fully grok Squeak Smalltalk I'm
 going to become an advocate of that environment as first programming
  language.  The ability to graphically poke around the system and toy
 with objects is a really nifty aid to comprehension of OO concepts, IMHO.  

In the end, it doesn't much matter what language you start with... with
dedication and an open mind you can learn to code in any language.  The
most important thing, and the thing I missed the most as I was first
learning, is finding a community to help you.  Having experienced coders
to ask questions of, and to recommend _good_ books, is invaluable.  If
I'd known about some of the books I have now back when I was learning,
it would have gone a lot quicker...

Speaking of Smalltalk, I have  a question for the Smalltalkers here...
I was actually lead to Smalltalk via Ruby... that's backwards, I
know :-)  I'm wondering, once you get past the less familiar (to C
coders) syntax, what are the relative strengths and weaknesses of
Smalltalk vs. Ruby?  Considering how much Ruby (apparently) borrows
from Smalltalk, what are the reasons you choose to code in Ruby rather
than Smalltalk?

~Avdi