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A Question for programmers

Hello,
I was told by several people in the #computers irc channel, that Pascal
is the best language to start out in. Could anyone out there give a
begginer (with No real programming experience) some sound advice on
which is the easist language to start out with?
Also what programs do I need to get started?
Any advice would be appreciated!

 

Re:A Question for programmers


Quote
> I was told by several people in the #computers irc channel, that Pascal
> is the best language to start out in. Could anyone out there give a
> begginer (with No real programming experience) some sound advice on
> which is the easist language to start out with?
> Also what programs do I need to get started?
> Any advice would be appreciated!

   Kind of a "tall order", becoming a programmer, and it'll take years to
become proficient and experienced enough to get a job.  Yes, Pascal is
generally considered to be the best "starter" language, because it's
simple and enforces good programming/design practices (modularity, data
typing, looping constructs, etc.).  Pascal, even in its rawest form, is
where you should "start" - I suggest a class in a local college.
   However, Pascal isn't the "end", since it's seldom used as an
application development language, except by individuals on PCs (the
Turbo/Borland Pascals, as well as Delphi).  You'd have trouble getting a
job with only Pascal knowledge: C/C++, COBOL, ForTran, and some others
are currently demand worldwide, as well as Unix, LANs, and various
operating systems/environments.
   You've offered nothing about your age, goals, motivations, so it's
difficult to do more than offer general information here..."becoming a
programmer" can mean many things, at many levels.  A single class in
college would be quite helpful, to at least tell you how you "fit into"
the programming milieu (it's not for everyone!), as well as give you some
good foundations.  There are many good text books (for Turbo/Borland
Pascals), but all you'll be able to find are books on Delphi, I suspect.
   I don't know what you're attempting, so I really can't offer more...

Re:A Question for programmers


PASCAL is the way to go for starting out, especially for Windows
programming. Regardless of what some people say, PASCAl is a
very powerful language, once you've figured it out. Not only that
the exe and dll files are very small in comparison with C++.
C++ is pretty much the standard now, but mastering PASCAL first
will make it much easier to learn later.

I started with BASIC, then went to Borland's Turbo Pascal 1.5 for
Windows. If you have absolutely no experience at all, you may want
to learn BASIC first. That would give you a little knowledge of
how to put a program together from concept or idea to a working
version.

The hardest thing to learn though, is getting enough information
about what the program is supposed to help solve.

Software is meant to be a solution to some kind of problem. If
you're not a good problem solver, pick a different career, unless
you intend to write games or something.

If your intention is to become a Windows programmer, you would be
good to start with PASCAL, or maybe Visual BASIC. Then learn C++
when you know what you're doing. C++ is much harder to learn, but
easier to use. PASCAL is easy to learn and a little harder to use.

another advantage of PASCAL is compile time. PIn PASCAL a typical
200,000 line program can compile in a few seconds. In C++ the equivalent
code of 200,000 lines can take up to a half hour if you don't have alot
of memory.

Not only that, a PASCAL program can typically fit on a 360K disk,
whereas
a typical C++ program can take 2 or more 1.44MB disks even compresssed.

Be prepared to spend some BIG money on development software.

PASCAL cost me about $300 if I remember right. Not even sure where to
find it nowadays. Probably have to get direct from Borland
International.
C++ costs almost double that.

If you need assistance when you start learning, fell free to email for
help.

I'm a 13 year veteran programmer, and glad to help out.
--
------------------------------------------------------
Jeffrey L. Meyer, Owner-MeySoft    jmey...@meysoft.com
http://www.meysoft.com
------------------------------------------------------

Re:A Question for programmers


"Jeffrey L. Meyer" <jmey...@meysoft.com> wrote:

Quote
>PASCAL is the way to go for starting out, especially for Windows
.....
>If your intention is to become a Windows programmer, you would be
>good to start with PASCAL, or maybe Visual BASIC. Then learn C++
>when you know what you're doing. C++ is much harder to learn, but
>easier to use. PASCAL is easy to learn and a little harder to use.
....
>Be prepared to spend some BIG money on development software.
>PASCAL cost me about $300 if I remember right.

--------
I've found that Delphi does a good job of handling every Windows
product I've needed to produce, and in less time than most any C++
hacker in the shop.  I am 2-5 times more productive with it than when
I have to do a  BP TurboVision app. for legacy projects (although for
DOS {*word*218}s, BP 7 is still best - as long as the app's user interface
is not an issue ).   Of course both BP 7  & Delphi support object
oriented programming.   (BTW, I've been a borland pascal user since
the days of TP 3.0 for CP-M  and have never felt a need to go to
another language or product for PC applications)

You ought to be able to find BP 7 for < $100, or BP 7 Professional for
< $200.  I ran across Delphi 1.0 on WWW.SURPLUSDIRECT.COM for < $40!

Re:A Question for programmers


Hey mate, I love Pascal too...

but I think that COMPILE TIMES are a function of

whether you are using a Microsoft tool or a Borland tool.

Microsoft suck

Borland RULE

C++ or Pascal... Hmm irrelevant.. I use Borland C++, Borland Pascal, Delphi...

and Microsoft suck

If you want to start out, Pascal is nice.....

C is very satisfying for a mathematician on the other hand.

Hey.... it's a bit pedantic and luxuriant, this arguing over languages...in the olden
days they had to use machine code and examine LEDs to check register values....

Regards
John

P.S. Microsoft tools suck !

Quote
>other advantage of PASCAL is compile time. PIn PASCAL a typical
>200,000 line program can compile in a few seconds. In C++ the equivalent
>code of 200,000 lines can take up to a half hour if you don't have alot
>of memory.

>Not only that, a PASCAL program can typically fit on a 360K disk,
>whereas
>a typical C++ program can take 2 or more 1.44MB disks even compresssed.

>------------------------------------------------------
>Jeffrey L. Meyer, Owner-MeySoft    jmey...@meysoft.com
>http://www.meysoft.com
>------------------------------------------------------

--
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Re:A Question for programmers


Quote
> Hey mate, I love Pascal too...
> but I think that COMPILE TIMES are a function of
> whether you are using a Microsoft tool or a Borland tool.

    No, that's not necessarily a factor.  The characteristics of the
language are more important: Pascal is a one-pass compiler, meaning that
the compile source file is passed through the compiler only once (hence
the structure of the Pascal language, where everything must be
defined/declared before it's used) - making the compile action
potentially faster than multi-pass languages...such as C.
   While all Pascals can therefore be very fast in compilation, this is
sometimes outweighed by the poor diagnostics and optimizations inherent
in "seeing" the source only one time.  That's why C/C++ tends to produce
much more optimized/efficient code, although it takes much longer to do
so - it can analyze the code/logic and do a better job in code
generation, etc.
   Yes, Borland has the fastest compilers/linkers in the Pascal world (I
don't know what reputation their C/C++ has), but they've been working on
that aspect for years...as well as functionality, of course.  It could
well be that Micro$oft hasn't tried to be competitive in the Pascal
arena, but I'd believe their C/C++ compilers are more so, since they are
truly in that market.
   So, I think you'd have to look at more than "vendor bias" to determine
such things as "fastest" or "most efficient", since the language itself
has much to do with what's possible.

Re:A Question for programmers


Quote
> > [...]
> >     No, that's not necessarily a factor.  The characteristics of the
> > language are more important: Pascal is a one-pass compiler, meaning that
> > the compile source file is passed through the compiler only once (hence
> > the structure of the Pascal language, where everything must be                                              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > defined/declared before it's used) - making the compile action  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > potentially faster than multi-pass languages...such as C.

> There's an exception to this rule in the TP syntax, though.  It's perfectly legal
> to create a pointer type to another variable type (simple, record, or object
> type) before you ever declare the variable type.  Sometimes it's necessary, such
> as for creating linked lists:

> type
>   Plinknode = ^Tlinknode;
>   Tlinknode = record
>     foo1 : string;
>     foo2 : longint;
>     next, prev : Plinknode;
>   end;

> So, in effect, this uses a declaration before it's declared.
>    Yes, and there's that "Forward" declaration, too.  These exceptions

weren't worth mentioning, I felt, in the context of the original post,
because they'd only confuse my point...

Re:A Question for programmers


Quote
Mike Copeland wrote:
> [...]
>     No, that's not necessarily a factor.  The characteristics of the
> language are more important: Pascal is a one-pass compiler, meaning that
> the compile source file is passed through the compiler only once (hence
> the structure of the Pascal language, where everything must be                                              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> defined/declared before it's used) - making the compile action  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> potentially faster than multi-pass languages...such as C.

There's an exception to this rule in the TP syntax, though.  It's perfectly legal
to create a pointer type to another variable type (simple, record, or object
type) before you ever declare the variable type.  Sometimes it's necessary, such
as for creating linked lists:

type
  Plinknode = ^Tlinknode;
  Tlinknode = record
    foo1 : string;
    foo2 : longint;
    next, prev : Plinknode;
  end;

So, in effect, this uses a declaration before it's declared.

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Re:A Question for programmers


In article <325B3235.1...@primenet.com>, mrc...@primenet.com says...

Quote
>> Hey mate, I love Pascal too...
>> but I think that COMPILE TIMES are a function of
>> whether you are using a Microsoft tool or a Borland tool.
>    No, that's not necessarily a factor.  The characteristics of the
>language are more important: Pascal is a one-pass compiler, meaning that
>the compile source file is passed through the compiler only once (hence
>the structure of the Pascal language, where everything must be
>defined/declared before it's used) - making the compile action
>potentially faster than multi-pass languages...such as C.

It is, of course possible, to design a one pass C compiler, and resolve
then needed calls as you go but you are right in the sense that that would
probably only make it slower.

Quote
>   While all Pascals can therefore be very fast in compilation, this is
>sometimes outweighed by the poor diagnostics and optimizations inherent
>in "seeing" the source only one time.  That's why C/C++ tends to produce
>much more optimized/efficient code, although it takes much longer to do
>so - it can analyze the code/logic and do a better job in code
>generation, etc.

That part isn't true.  Optimization is done after the syntax tree has been
built.  That's why Delphi 2.0 can use the same back end optimization that's
used in BC++.  Also, the poor diagnostics are not inherent to the language.  
The fact that TP/BP stops the compilation at the first error was a design
decision - there are indeed many Pascal version that do not do ths.
The parts that most influence the slow compilation of C++ IMHO are:
- operator/function overloading
- lack of units

Quote
>   Yes, Borland has the fastest compilers/linkers in the Pascal world (I
>don't know what reputation their C/C++ has), but they've been working on
>that aspect for years...as well as functionality, of course.  It could
>well be that Micro$oft hasn't tried to be competitive in the Pascal
>arena, but I'd believe their C/C++ compilers are more so, since they are
>truly in that market.
>   So, I think you'd have to look at more than "vendor bias" to determine
>such things as "fastest" or "most efficient", since the language itself
>has much to do with what's possible.

True.  But the vendor can nonetheless make a big difference.

Just my $0.02 worth.

Jochen

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