Programming language for children

Walton Hoops walton at
Tue Jun 16 19:35:59 UTC 2009

marc said:

> Apologies, I meant appalling bad idea (in this context).

Thank you for that insightful, detailed, and well thought out argument.  You
have convinced me.  I was a fool.

marc said (separate post):

> By why bother these days? For the past twenty years or more we've had
object references and that'll take you beyond the edge of the known

> The only place I've used pointers recently is to force PHP singletons into
session objects. And that more of a frig because there isn't, to my
knowledge, a sensible way of > doing this. This is esoteric stuff that most
folk could happily live without.

And because you haven't used them recently they are irrelevant? For that
matter, I'd be shocked if you haven't used them recently.  For example: all
references to Java objects: pointers.  Just because its abstracted a bit
doesn't mean it's not there.

> The amount of times I see folk trying to overlay their "pointer" thinking
when trying to understand some languages has lead me to believe that early
introduction to pointers can be a real handicap.

I'm not sure how one overlay's pointer logic into something like php or
java, unless they are trying to perform pointer arithmetic on an array :-P,
but I'll take your word that this is a problem, however it is inherently one
of experience.  Given experience with these languages, your problematic
programmers will learn the "proper" way to do things in higher level

However the amount of times I see people trying to code in a higher level
language, without understanding the pointer logic or basic memory allocation
concepts being used in the back end leads me to believe that a solid
foundation in C or a similar language is vital to anyone wanting to become a
strong programmer. (See my previous post for an example).

Whether or not this should come at the beginning of one's programming career
is debatable.  My personal experience is that it is much easier to go from
C/C++'s largely unprotected environment, into Java's (or Pythons, or PHPs,
ect..) protected environment, than to do the reverse.

That's not to say it's the only way; that C is much more intimidating that
Java/PHP is a very valid point.  This is my personal opinion as to which
route is easier in the long run.  Just because it differs from yours doesn't
make it "appalling".

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