What's the fastest way to learn a programming language.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Charles J P, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    It seems like an area of I/T that is still going strong is programming. I took Java and VB in college but was never very good at Java and lost a lot of my VB knowledge, however I enjoyed programming and debugging. I was thinking about switching careers from I/T audit to programming, and I wondered what fastest and cheapest way to learn C++ (or something) on my own?
     
  2. Greg Rowe

    Greg Rowe Stunt Coordinator

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    Programming isn't easy unless you love doing it. This is especially true when you start working and you are asked to code up some really boring task.

    That being said, if you already know how to code, then a new language is pretty easy to pick up. The fastest way to do it is to pick up a book on the language, and read/modify source code.

    If you have JAVA experience then C++ shouldn't be hard at all. The syntax of the languages are very similiar.

    Greg
     
  3. Mike__D

    Mike__D Supporting Actor

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  4. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Practice Practice Practice. Sorry, but there is no other way, really. The good thing is that once you are good in a language, the others are relatively easy to learn - you already have the logic, all you need is the syntax and the couple of peculiarities that particular language has. The bad is that if you learnt bad programming practices from that first language, they will be very hard to unlearn later on. I guess what I am saying is LEARN RIGHT the first time.

    As I am sure you know, you haven't really learnt C++ unless you've learnt to deal with objects (OOP) - until you do, C++ is just a fancier C. That IMO is the hard part.

    Get a couple of books, and code code code till you're blue in the face.

    --
    Holadem
     
  5. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    That's true. Most modern programming languages really aren't THAT different. If you want to write a program to do X, and can do it in C++ or VB, the process is nearly identical, it's just the details that are different. Most of the time, it's just a matter of semantics.

    I've been a Delphi/VB programmer for about 7 years now and I can pretty much pick up any other language that is thrown at me. C++, Java, various web tools like ColdFusion, PHP, whatever..

    Once you have an understanding of programming in general, you can pick up just about anything. Programming is not hard, it just takes time.
     
  6. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  7. Chad Ellinger

    Chad Ellinger Second Unit

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    C++ is a good starting language, IMO, because:

    1. You can learn Object-Oriented Programming, which is the basis for more modern languages like .NET and Java.
    2. It forces you to be a more careful programmer, because you need to deal with pointers, memory allocation and the like (Java and other managed languages have built-in "garbage collecting" that clean up memory leaks).

    Beyond that, I agree with everyone else's recommendations.
     
  8. Greg Rowe

    Greg Rowe Stunt Coordinator

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  9. John Miles

    John Miles Stunt Coordinator

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    Any sufficiently-advanced library is indistinguishable from a language. [​IMG]
     
  10. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    How about this for some geek humor:
    If I get an exception from a certain componant in the project I'm working on, I get this message in the debug output window....


    The thread 0x8E0 has exited with code -1163005939 (0xBAADF00D)
     
  11. Greg Rowe

    Greg Rowe Stunt Coordinator

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    My favorite geek joke is:

    Halloween == Christmas

    (octal 31 == decimal 25, or oct 31 == dec 25)
     
  12. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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  13. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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  14. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    As long as we have a geek joke tangent:

    "There are 10 types of people in this world: those who know binary, and those who don't."

    "rm -r happens"
     
  15. Andre F

    Andre F Screenwriter

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  16. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    You know you're a geek if you are familiar with the following commands andor lingo:
    Dr. Watson has been installed as the default appliaction debugger.
    know how to run gdb on your core
    COM uses an apartment-threaded model
    "force byte-swapping"
    deadbeef
    eddaebfe ( [​IMG] )
    Also, you might be a geek if you use any of the following applications:
    Purify
    BoundsChecker
    Insure++
    Lint
    If you use ALL of them, then you are just plain pathetic (as I hang my head down in shame, as I use them all...)
     
  17. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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    The difficulty with programming isn't the language (all structural languages are fundamentally identical, with very minor syntactic differences), it's the structure.

    If you understand computer science, computer programming isn't difficult. However, learning the science is drastically different than learning a language, and the "VB in 28 Days" books will not teach it to you.

     
  18. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    The best programmer joke is:

    There are 10 types of people:
    Those who understand binary numbers, and those who don't.

    And I have to agree with Gary, I don't think C++ is a good introductory language. It's a little too big & scary, and it doesn't hold your hand enough.

    Although not a "practical" language (unless you're using Delphi), I happen to like pascal as a good beginner's language. It's structured well and its syntax is easy but still a good stepping stone to C++. Java's definitely edged it out though in universities.
     
  19. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    C++ is one of the most complicated programming languages around. And possibly the most powerful ever invented...I mean, look at all the incredibly amazing (and esoteric!) stuff you can do with C++ templates. Generic programming is just the tip of the iceberg. The concepts from the book, Modern C++ Design: Generic Programming and Design Patterns Applied, still blow my mind.
    Policy-based design, typelists, partial template specialization (!), functor objects. And it comes with an incredibly kick-ass smart pointer implementation that is completely customizable by merely specifying a template argument to it (want reference counting smart pointer that allocates memory from the heap? Or maybe non-reference counting that uses an application-specific memory pool? No problem! Change one line of code!). Too bad 90% of the stuff in the book kills almost every compiler out there, except maybe the latest GNU compiler.
    It'll take me a couple of years to digest the ideas in that book. Whew.
    And here I thought the Standard Template Library was the best thing to hit the C++ world.
    C++ is not a beginners language, that's for sure...Try Lisp, C, or Pascal. VB is a wussy language. [​IMG]
     
  20. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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