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  1. #21
    Syntax's Avatar
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    At my school Java was the only option. I personally don't know the difference between the different languages, like why are there so many? But since that's the one they seem to have in schools, it probably is the best one to learn first. To get the logic down.
    11th Grade | Beginner Programmer | Looking into College

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    like why are there so many?
    Ha, well, I guess thats a little like asking why they make so many different tools besides the hammer. While some languages are truly academic (pascal, whitespace, brainf*ck, etc) most languages have have a very specific role/provide very specific service.

    Java would be painful for a video card to use (rather than opengl for example), prolog would be nasty for video encoding and fortran is probably a bear for gaming. Each is an excellent language for their respective designs.

    Java is becoming the primary language in Universities for many reasons, but it is also a widespread language in the 'real' world for many reasons, a large one being virtualization and drop dead simple networking/clustering.

  3. #23
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    There's also a much sillier reason why there are so many languages; when someone comes up with a language, even puts it through an ISO standardization procedure and builds up a user base there will be at least one other person who thinks "Ha! I can do better than that!" and the entire thing repeats again. That's what happens to Standards.

    kind regards,

    Jos

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by quad64bit View Post
    While some languages are truly academic (pascal, whitespace, brainf*ck, etc) most languages have have a very specific role/provide very specific service.
    OUCH! Don't mix academic languages with esoteric ones. And besides that... i dont think that pascal is an academic language. (the other two are esoteric).
    Academic examples are more Haskell, Scheme or Prolog (although mainly functional laguages)... the other group (procedureal, object oriented) is also used in the industry.


    jm2c:
    In my opinion one have to start with Ada95 (or 05) ... it is an object based language but provide a solid basis on a procedural level. I dont think that learning object oriented languages as the first language is a good idea. Simply because the basics learned in the procedural programming.
    "There is no foolproof thing; fools are too smart."
    "Why can't you solve my Problem ?"

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreB View Post
    OUCH! Don't mix academic languages with esoteric ones. And besides that... i dont think that pascal is an academic language. (the other two are esoteric).
    Academic examples are more Haskell, Scheme or Prolog (although mainly functional laguages)... the other group (procedureal, object oriented) is also used in the industry.
    Don't forget Lisp, the mother of all functional programming languages and a real anachronism in the age of Cobol and Fortran ;-) It is heavily used in certain areas of the industry as well; it is a real brain torturer and lecturing tool in academics too.

    For an extremely good tutorial and online book, bookmark this link.

    kind regards,

    Jos

  6. #26
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    This was for me a very interesting and educative discussion. It was fun reading from the first to the last post.

  7. #27
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    Academic examples are more Haskell, Scheme or Prolog
    You made a good point -- let me clarify: By academic I also meant languages which were developed purely for the academic exercise (which the two obscure languages I mentioned were). Pascal was in fact written as a teaching language and gained popularity almost by accident because of its simplicity. It is widely taught in programing language classes as an example of an academic language, but I can see how its popularity in the 80/90s could make it seem more main-stream than originally intended. Prolog while largely relegated to academics today started as a serious language designed for expert systems and the early days of AI along with LISP. Both of are still used in AI research.

    I don't know much about scheme but I have several colleagues that use Haskell in the work place on large systems, largely because of the fact its procedural and doesn't have side effects.

    There are literally hundreds of languages that were written for the sheer purpose of an academic exercise (like the ones I mentioned before), thats primarily what I meant.

    I think its safe to say that the most common languages one will find in the world (web languages aside and in no special order) are C, C++, ObjC, Java, Assembly (intel, ppc), (visual basic .net *cringe*), and scripting languages like Python, Ruby, Perl, etc...

    Learning any of these would be useful, and many share c/c++ similarities/roots. The other languages are fun to pick up once you know the basics and/or have time to learn something new for fun.

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