Please help! Are C and C++ the only real options? 
Author Message
 Please help! Are C and C++ the only real options?

Hello,

  I'm thinking seriously about learning to program. I have very little
experience; in highschool we used to write simple 50 line programs in
BASIC, and that about sums up my coding knowledge. I want to learn
for two reasons: (a) just out of interest, to write simple programs as a hobby,
and more importantly (b) to write certain specific programs, which I'll describe
in the next paragraph.
  I'm a psychology student interested in computer-based intstruction. I'm
fascinated by programs that can serve as tutorials on academic subjects.
There are a lot of these things available as shareware, some very good, others
not so good. I want to be able to write my own programs like this.
  My problem is, what language should I be looking at? The programs I want to
write are relatively simple. I know a little bit about HTML, and in many ways it
would almost fit my requirements. However, I want to write programs that don't
need an HTML viewer, but can be run right from DOS or Windows.
  These days it seems like all serious coders work in C or C++. Isn't this more
language than I need? Do I have any other options, that would be easier to
learn, but still be able to do what I need?

Any advice, recommendations or comments are welcome.


Toby Martin



Thu, 17 Dec 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Please help! Are C and C++ the only real options?

Quote:

>  I'm thinking seriously about learning to program. I have very little
>experience; in highschool we used to write simple 50 line programs in
>BASIC, and that about sums up my coding knowledge. I want to learn
>for two reasons: (a) just out of interest, to write simple programs as a hobby,
>and more importantly (b) to write certain specific programs, which I'll describe
>in the next paragraph.
>  I'm a psychology student interested in computer-based intstruction. I'm
>fascinated by programs that can serve as tutorials on academic subjects.
>There are a lot of these things available as shareware, some very good, others
>not so good. I want to be able to write my own programs like this.
>  My problem is, what language should I be looking at? The programs I want to
>write are relatively simple. I know a little bit about HTML, and in many ways it
>would almost fit my requirements. However, I want to write programs that don't
>need an HTML viewer, but can be run right from DOS or Windows.
>  These days it seems like all serious coders work in C or C++. Isn't this more
>language than I need? Do I have any other options, that would be easier to
>learn, but still be able to do what I need?

You should avoid C++ like the plague, and steer clear of C if you can!
There are a thousand and one specialised languages that would be better
for your purposes, but I assume that you want something cheap or free.

Take a look at Icon.  It is available for free via anonymous ftp from
ftp.cs.arizona.edu in directory icon.

Nick Maclaren,
University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory,
New Museums Site, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG, England.

Tel.:  +44 1223 334761    Fax:  +44 1223 334679



Thu, 17 Dec 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Please help! Are C and C++ the only real options?

Quote:
>  I'm a psychology student interested in computer-based intstruction. I'm
>fascinated by programs that can serve as tutorials on academic subjects.
>There are a lot of these things available as shareware, some very good, others
>not so good. I want to be able to write my own programs like this.

Well, there're a lot of ways you can go.  Look first at "authoring tools"
like Asymetrix' Toolbook, Macromedia's Director, Dan Bricklin's Demo It,
etc.  Next look at environments based on traditional languages, but beefed
up with a lot of code libraries, such as Borland's Delphi, Visual Basic,
IBM's VisualAge, etc.  Thirdly, don't rule out HTML, you can run the
browser locally, and with Web extensions like CGI, JAVA Applets, etc, you
won't be limited.

One key will be how much graphics/video/music you want to use.  Video &
music are resource intensive, still graphics less so.  Text is very
efficient, resource-wise.

I don't recommend learning a new programming system alone, there are too
many stupid gotcha's.  You might look for a local user groups, hang out on
some news groups (such as comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi
misc.education.multimedia), or make friends with the multimedia whiz in
the art, communications, or comp sci depts; you might even take a class!

What about cost?  The commercial packages cost real money, and the
HTML/CGI, etc route is free, but less integrated.  If you have access to a
computer lab with a nice authoring package, that might be the way to go.

Hope these comments help you in your decision.

Could you point me to those good "tutorials on academic subjects" you
mentioned (especially shareware).

John
--Office phone: 541-737-5583 (Batcheller 349) home: 757-8772
  Office mail:  303 Dearborn Hall, OSU, Corvallis, OR  97331
--IBM holds patent #4,965,765 which covers the use of different
colors to distinguish the nesting level of nested expressions.
--
--Office phone: 541-737-5583 (Batcheller 349) home: 757-8772
  Office mail:  303 Dearborn Hall, OSU, Corvallis, OR  97331
--IBM holds patent #4,965,765 which covers the use of different
colors to distinguish the nesting level of nested expressions.



Thu, 17 Dec 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Please help! Are C and C++ the only real options?

You might try Visual Basic.  Your previous knowledge of Basic would
be an asset.  It's also much easier to learn and to use than C (not
to mention the even more complex C++).  It runs on all flavors of
MS-Windows and has hooks in it for database library interactions
and networking, etc..

Of course, most versions of DOS and Windows come with QBasic
already installed.  That might suit your needs (at least while
you're learning).  Trouble is, you'd need an additional manual
since the QBasic interpreter comes only with a short DOS help
file which is almost useless for learning from scratch.

J. Giles
Ricercar Software



Fri, 18 Dec 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Please help! Are C and C++ the only real options?

Quote:
>>>>> "T" == T  <Martin> writes:
> I'm a psychology student interested in computer-based
> intstruction. I'm fascinated by programs that can serve as tutorials
> on academic subjects.  There are a lot of these things available as
> shareware, some very good, others not so good. I want to be able to
> write my own programs like this.  My problem is, what language
> should I be looking at? The programs I want to write are relatively
> simple. I know a little bit about HTML, and in many ways it would
> almost fit my requirements.

I suppose the obvious candidate is Java, but whether it works on text
screens or not I don't know.  A reasonably easy language with vast
amounts of optional features (like curses support for text screens,
and HTML libraries, and superb text manipulation) is Perl.
--

Utrecht University              | telephone: +31 30 2534630
Department of Mathematics       | telefax:   +31 30 2518394
P.O. Box 80010, 3508 TA Utrecht |
The Netherlands                 |


Fri, 18 Dec 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Please help! Are C and C++ the only real options?

Quote:
> I suppose the obvious candidate is Java, but whether it works on text
> screens or not I don't know.  A reasonably easy language with vast

I talked to a Sun techie last week about this.  Even though right now
all the emphasis on Java has been GUI/X/Windows/Mac interfaces, his claim
is that simply by not using the AWT and derived classes you can have programs
which do not require a GUI interface.  However, it's my understanding that
nothing like curses exists at this time for Java - so where that puts one
trying to write character based apps is back at ground zero (or just past
that point).
--

:s <URL:http://www.teraform.com/%7Elvirden/> <*> O- "We are all Kosh."
:s Unless explicitly stated to the contrary, nothing in this posting should
:s be construed as representing my employer's opinions.


Sat, 19 Dec 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Please help! Are C and C++ the only real options?


: which do not require a GUI interface.  However, it's my understanding that
: nothing like curses exists at this time for Java - so where that puts one
: trying to write character based apps is back at ground zero (or just past

Hrmmm...the answer to my unasked questions.  Unfortunately, there's (to the
best of my knowledge) no real platform independant way to accomplish this
either, since the AWT is the only thing that knows about such oddities as
(*gasp*) arrow keys 'n' sech.  However, you could kind of do it perhaps.
If you have access to a graphical environment, you could simply make a fake
terminal window.  (ie, a subclassed textarea or something that interprets
terminal control characters, input, etc.)  But it seems like a lot of
trouble to imitate a text terminal.

--
____________________________________________________________

------------------------------------------------------------



Sat, 26 Dec 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 7 post ] 

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