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CODE4LIB  March 2014

CODE4LIB March 2014

Subject:

Re: CFP: A Librarian's Introduction to Programming Languages

From:

Kyle Banerjee <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 25 Mar 2014 09:03:09 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (41 lines)

On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 6:03 AM, Miles Fidelman
<[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Come to think of it, there's nothing there to frame the intent and scope
> of the book - is it aimed at librarians who write code, or at librarians
> who are trying to guide people to topical material?
>
> Either way, it sure seems like at least three framing topics are missing:
> - a general overview of programming language types and characteristics
> (i.e., context for reading the other chapters)
> - a history of programming languages (the family tree, if you will)
> - programming environments, platforms, tools, libraries and repositories -
> a language's ecosystem probably influences choice of language use as much
> as the language itself
> - "non-language languages" - e.g., sql/nosql, spreadsheet macros and other
> platforms that one builds on


This is what I was thinking. My sense is that the call for chapters is a
suboptimal way to pursue a book like this. A book like this will be of
interest almost exclusively to nonprogrammers so the most important thing
is how to wrap your mind around programming tasks.

The languages themselves are almost completely uninteresting because the
reality is you have to learn whatever you're stuck with. Besides, the
languages fall into families that are so similar that if you know one, you
can use any that's similar.

But understanding basic programming constructs and concepts is really handy
because they're useful in any language that supports them. When you get
right down to it, one thing that all languages have in common is that you
get data from someplace, do something with it, and modify it. But you still
need to have a grip on some fundamentals so you don't do something like try
to use a declarative language to solve a problem that really calls for a
procedural language.

For people who just want syntax difference between languages which is what
a bunch of short chapters on different languages written by different
authors is likely to come out like, PLEAC is a good starting place

kyle

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