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Learn to Program, 2nd Ed: A Book Review

May 16, 2009, 22:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by James Pyles)

"The first section of the Introduction showed me that author Chris Pine (as far as I know, no relation to the actor playing James Kirk in the current Star Trek film) is a person after my own heart. He compares the writing of instructions on making a PB&J sandwich to writing a computer program. One of my "issues" is writing good tutorials for the correct audience. The instructions on how to make a PB&J sandwich differ, depending on if your audience is a 5 year old child vs. a 35 year old adult, for instance. I heard something of my own "voice" in those particular paragraphs, as Pine outlined the set of instructions pretty much the same way I would.

"Pine almost immediately answered one of my questions (Why Ruby?) in the Introduction. The answer is completely pragmatic: "Ruby programs tend to be short". He compared the same task written in Java and Ruby. Ruby was just a little "blip" compared to the several lines of code Java required to do the same thing (print "Hello Word", as if that were inventive). In the "Getting Started" section, I ignored the instructions for installing a text editor and Ruby for Windows and Mac, and honed in on Linux. Easy stuff. Everything was already on my Ubuntu box. Time to move on to the first lesson."

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