Learning C Programming

Subject: Learning C Programming
From: Linda Sherman <linsherm -at- GTE -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 17:12:37 -0500

Sorry for not threading this correctly. I accidentally and totally
deleted the original message.

To the person who was interested in learning C programming:

I strongly suggest that unless you have some prior programming
experience, you start with something other than C. C and especially C++
are difficult, complicated, and, frankly, dangerous languages. Dangerous
in that they allow beginners to unwittingly induce bugs that can crash
the whole program, if not the whole system, and which can be extremely
hard to find without sophisticated debugging tools and techniques. I
don't doubt your ability to learn C/C++, but what I've found is that
beginners often give up in frustration because the debugging overwhelms

A less traumatic approach is to start with Object Pascal (aka Borland
Delphi). OP is not unlike C++ but it's simpler and /*much*/ safer. You
can still induce program-crashing bugs, but the chances are much
smaller, and you're more likely to find them without tearing your hair
out. The Desktop Edition of Delphi costs $99 and is more than adequate
for almost any kind of single-user programming project.

Borland (aka Inprise) also has its own news server with numerous groups
dedicated to various Delphi programming issues. Beginners can get a lot
of free and expert help from these groups.

Check it out at


Once you've learned Pascal, moving to C/C++ is pretty easy.

Another option is Visual Basic, but I have a low opinion of VB, and it's
a bigger step from VB to C than from Pascal to C.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck.

Linda K. Sherman <linsherm -at- gte -dot- net>
Freelance Writer: Technical - Business - Government

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