I wouldn't recommend PHP to learn as a programming language, if your goal is to have a general purpose programming language at your disposal. PHP is a fine language for building dynamic web pages, but it won't help you to slice and dice a big text file or process a bunch of XML or do some other "odd job" that you don't want to do by hand.
Ruby has many devotees. Perl is great for processing text files, but I (personally) would not want to write a large application in Perl (Koha notwithstanding).
Python has a really nice syntax and offers good opportunities for exploring different programming styles (functional, OO, procedural). Also, Python's type system is neither cumbersome nor anemic.
On Mar 24, 2010, at 3:34 PM, Ethan Gruber wrote:
> Hi Jenny,
> What are your professional interests in the library? You should pick a
> language that is relevant and a useful tool for doing what interests you.
> On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 3:31 PM, Rosalyn Metz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I discovered (i think through a code4libber) the other day a great
>> series of videos on learning python. It was put out by Google as part
>> of a series they do for their employees.
>> I myself don't know Python (i wish i did), but that section of the
>> page seems the most robust. That in conjunction with a book might be
>> useful. And if your partner knows it, all the better.
>> Also we've had this debate in the past. Maybe taking a look in the
>> code4lib archives might also be useful.
>> On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 3:24 PM, jenny <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> A newly-minted library school grad who has up to this point focused my
>>> studies on Rare Books and Book Arts, I've been interested in getting
>>> back into some programming--I took two classes in college
>>> (VisualBASIC), have a smattering of web design and php, MySQL,
>>> exposure, but I'd like to try my hand at teaching myself a language in
>>> my free time. My partner is a former dotcom programmer (now studying
>>> neuroscience) and has offered to assist when needed, so I'm not
>>> completely on my own (thank goodness).
>>> My question is, where would you recommend I would begin? What's hot
>>> right now in the library world? Python, PERL, Ruby? Any advice you'd
>>> have for a beginner like me or even recommendations for online courses
>>> would be extremely appreciated