RE: Programmer/Writers

Subject: RE: Programmer/Writers
From: "Downing, David" <DavidDowning -at- users -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 08:38:55 -0600

From: Craig Haiss <craighaiss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Subject: RE: Programmer/Writers

Learning to program can be tedious if you start with a low-level
language. C++, Java, and assembly language may run faster on a computer
and be in higher demand on the job market, but they aren't a great
starting point for learning to program; especially for language oriented
folks like writers.

I started with BASIC on an old Commodore 64. Because the commands were
more like human language, it allowed me to learn the logical concepts of
programming (loops, variables, etc.) without having to deal with
language struggles. Also, it really helped a decade later when I had to
write VBA macros for Word. Languages like C and Perl made a lot more
sense after I had a good grounding in how computer programs functioned.

Visual Basic and Python are great places to start if you want to learn
to program.


I learned some BASIC back in high school, and then in library school, I
learned something called PL/C, which was a special educational variation
on PL/I. If you made an error, it would give you a message, try to
correct your error, and go on compiling and executing the program. The
problem was that PL/C's guess as to what you meant often turned out to
be wrong.

I remember two of my favorite errors. One was a compile error, "Missing
main procedure." Nice going Dave -- you left out your whole program. The
other was a message that would appear after several type of run-time
errors, such as reaching the end of a file -- "Above error is fatal."

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