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Re: [seul-edu] [Fwd: thoughts on teaching programming]

On Fri, Jan 04, 2002 at 12:00:28PM -0800, Alan Chen wrote:
> In particular, the enforcement of indentation. (and to a lesser
> extent, the use of self in class definitions) Of course I'm a little
> biased because the indentation feature of Python irritates me to no
> end.

Personally, I don't have a problem with the indentation, though I
understand why many people do.  I think while experience programmers
often get turned off by it (because they're used to their system), the
python indentation probably wouldn't be a problem for newbie
programmers, simply because they don't have a bias.  And I do feel that
teaching proper indentation is a Good Thing, whether the language   
requires it or not. :)

Oh, and I'm with you on Python's overuse of "self".

> Ruby is an alternate scripting language which you might also consider.
> It doesn't require indentation, and explicitly closes blocks with an
> "end" statement. (I believe this is generally easier for a beginner to
> grasp.)

Funny you should mention Ruby -- it's actually my personal favourite
language.  But I think that Python's "correctness" makes it a better
choice for teaching introductory programming.  I find myself much more
productive in real-world use with Ruby, though.

Aaron Malone (aaron@semo.net)
System Administrator             "Some companies think of training as a
Poplar Bluff Internet, Inc.        cost rather than an investment."
http://www.semo.net                         -- Paul Collins