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Re^2: Teaching Children How to Program

by GrandFather (Sage)
on Nov 13, 2005 at 21:10 UTC ( #508149=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Teaching Children How to Program
in thread Teaching Children How to Program

When "teaching" Panda yesterday, I pointed him at Komodo. Nice GUI IDE with an editor that just works (Panda has used Word and other similar editors before) and the immediacy of pressing a button to run the code he was playing with combined with the feedback of syntax checking as he was editing removed a vast amount of frustration.

Of the languages that I've played with (see my home node), Perl is the one that I would choose for teaching simple programming concepts without having to worry very much about types and the difference between numbers and strings and other such unimportant cruft. DWIM saves the day :).

Perl is Huffman encoded by design.

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Re^3: Teaching Children How to Program
by radiantmatrix (Parson) on Nov 14, 2005 at 19:50 UTC

    I agree that Komodo is a very nice editor, especially if one is just learning. However, I've had equally good results with the Open-Source Eclipse project, using the incredible EPIC plugin to enable Perl projects.

    It takes a little more initial setup than Komodo, but I have found many more useful features in Eclipse/EPIC as I have been writing more and more code; Eclipse also seems to perform better for me, but YMMV on that one.

    I will say this: I really enjoy ActiveState's graphical debugger, part of their "PDK" software. Unfortunately, I don't think that component is available for free. A close second is Devel::ptkdb, which is a Tk-based GUI debugger for Perl code.

    A collection of thoughts and links from the minds of geeks
    The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
    "In any sufficiently large group of people, most are idiots" - Kaa's Law

      I had a serious look at Eclipse with the intent of using it at work, but at the end of the day (a rather frustrating week actually!) I was editing Perl with it and could run the code, but I couldn't get break points working so I couldn't debug it. Of less importance, I was fighting with the IDE in various ways too, but that would have sorted itself out in time.

      Other workmates have used Eclipse in other contexts and are very impressed with it, I just couldn't get it to do the job for me with Perl. However, having just purchased a Handspring Visor which runs Palm OS, I may find a different reason for using Eclipse :).

      Perl is Huffman encoded by design.

        I can identify with fighting the interface, as I had a similar experience when I first started: I was moving from using Emacs, and there are certainly things I miss and habits that were hard to form. Breakpoints inside Eclipse/EPIC just don't work properly: you're pretty much stuck with using an external debugger, which EPIC (thankfully) lets you configure. This is one of my biggest complaints with Eclipse.

        I am curious which version of Eclipse you had these experiences with: if it was a few versions ago, I think you'll find the Eclipse team (and the EPIC team, for that matter) have put a lot of work into making the overall experience more pleasant. There's still a ways to go, but it's a pretty interesting project. They've been very responsive to my comments about usability. The EPIC team would probably be interested in Perl-specific comments you might have. Anything you get them to improve will be a welcome help for me. :)

        I hadn't used Komodo in a while, and just checked out the most recent version of that, as well -- they've fixed a lot of what I had an issue with, and the performance seems quite a bit better as well. Still, neither Eclipse or Komodo gets pulled out for quick scripts, because they're still slower to load and run than Emacs or SciTE (though the latter sees less use from me, lately, as I've moved to Mac for development, and there still isn't an OSX port).

        A collection of thoughts and links from the minds of geeks
        The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
        "In any sufficiently large group of people, most are idiots" - Kaa's Law

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