"anonimous" <n.thomp / roadrunner.nf.net> wrote in message
news:b4gpu2$pru$1 / nntp-stjh-01-01.rogers.nf.net...

> I'm not very fond of Microsoft though, I think I'd stay away from any of
> their

I like to separate Microsoft politics from technologies.

> programming languages, after all, lots of people put their faith in Visual
> Basic
> and now Microsoft isn't maintaining it any more that I know of.

C# really is a continuation of the Delphi project - it is very strongly
support in the open source Mono-project - extremely rapid progress - very
impressive.
That said, I don't particularly like Java or C# as languages although they
are not bad. But they do have large supporting libraries.

Visual Basic is still supported, but primary focus is now in the .Net
version. VB6.0 and VB-Script still have relevance due to their tight
integration with COM.

> >
> > I would also like to add Ocaml as a language to consider.
>
> I've never heard of Ocaml before, is there a website with information on
it?

official site:
http://caml.inria.fr
unofficial nicer looking site, less frequently maintained.
http://www.ocaml.org
great book: http://caml.inria.fr/Examples/eng.html

The links seem to nok work very well at the moment.

OCaml requires some devotion to learn. It is not hard, but somewhat errh
different - and the syntax is not very nice. Once you learn it, you realize
the syntax really is very effective.

OCaml is a member of the ML language family. It is very good at handling
recursive datatypes. It deals with functional programming, imperative
programming and object oriented programming. It is very fast - often between
C and C++. With a little help from C functions you can write real
applications where you would otherwise use C++. OCaml generates executable
binaries where Ruby requires the Ruby interpreter and OCaml is faster than
Ruby. Ruby has a friendlier syntax than OCaml and more focus on objects.
It's good to know both languages.

If you want to do commercial software development, C#, C++ and Java are the
languages to focus on - but this has nothing to do with what language is the
best. If you start your own company, or just hack for fun, go for Ruby and
OCaml.

> How long does it take to get a good enough understanding of Ruby to
> start writing programs?
> What books would you recommend for learning Ruby?

10 minutes if you have prior OO programming knowledge. You will not know
everything after 10 minutes, but if keep a reference book handy (Programming
Ruby, available online) or use the "ri" ruby interactive tool as reference,
you will be up to speed by then. Also use the "irb" inferior ruby to
interactively experiment with various expressions to see if something works
out before putting it into the code you are writing.

Read the Dr. Dobbs Journal article on Ruby by the authors of "Programming
Ruby". This will take the 10 minutes - then start programming.

http://www.ddj.com/articles/2001/0101/

Hal E. Fultons "The Ruby Way" would be the next book to read, but it is not
strictly a tutorial - more a guide through a large array of Ruby related
technologies.

See "documents" at http://www.ruby-lang.org

Mikkel