Interesting Language Rant

Levi Pearson levi at
Tue Jan 8 10:59:40 MST 2008

On Jan 8, 2008 10:49 AM, Jonathan Ellis <jonathan at> wrote:
> I taught C# in a 101 class.  It sucked, and I think Java would be
> equally sucky.  There's too much stuff that you have to sweep under
> the rug at first that gets in the way.  ("What is "static void?"  why
> do I need this class Foo boilerplate?  Even the distinction between
> compile and run-time errors is confusing to novices.)  I think Python
> would work much better but I haven't been able to test that.

I know a guy who taught an intro to programming class in Python as an
experiment last semester.  I'll have to ask him how it went, but he
was pretty optimistic about it.  One of the books I referenced
earlier, 'How To Design Programs', is designed as part of an early
intro to programming curriculum (at the high school or early college
level) using Scheme.  Their research on the effectiveness of their
program has shown some success.  Since Python and Scheme share a lot
of the qualities that led them to choose Scheme (simple syntax,
interactive environment, low conceptual overhead to get started) I
imagine it would work very well.

MIT has recently switched their intro course from Scheme to Python


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