On Feb 18, 2013, at 11:17 AM, John Fereira wrote:

> I suggested PHP primarily because I find it easy to read and understand and that's it's very commonly used.  Both Drupal and Wordpress are written in PHP and if we're talking about building web pages there are a lot of sites that use one of those as a CMS.

And if you're forced to maintain one of those, then by all means, learn PHP ... but please don't recommend that anyone learn it as a first language.

... and I'd like to say that in my mention of Perl, it was only because there's going to be the workshop ... not that I'd necessarily recommend it as a first language for all people ... I'd look at what they were interested in trying to do, and make a recommendation on what would best help them do what they're interested in.

> I've looked at both good and bad perl code, some written some very accomplished software developers, and I still don't like it.   I am not personally interested in learning to make web pages (I've been making them for 20 years) and have mostly dabbled in Ruby but suspect that I'll be doing a lot more programming in Ruby (and will be attending the LibDevConX workshop at Stanford next month where I'm sure we'll be discussing Hydra).   I'm also somewhat familiar with Python but I just haven't found that many people are using it in my institution (where I've worked for the past 15 years) to spend any time learning more about it.  If you're going to suggest mainstream languages I'm not sure how you can omit Java (though just mentioning the word seems to scare people).

It's *really* easy to omit Java:

... not to mention all of the security vulnerabilities and memory headaches associated with anything that runs in a VM.

You might as well ask why I didn't suggest C or assembler for beginners.  That's not to say that I haven't learned things from programming in those languages (and I've even applied tricks from Fortran and IDL in other languages), but I wouldn't recommend any of those languages to someone who's just learning to program.


(ps. I'm grumpier than usual today, as I've been trying to get hpn patched openssh to compile under centos 6 ... so that it can be called by a java daemon that is called by another C program that dynamically generates python and shell scripts ... and executes them but doesn't always check the exit status ... this is one of those times when I wish some people hadn't learned to program, so they'd just hire someone else to write it)