i'm new to actual programming languages, but i have done a lot with programming spreadsheets. please don't laugh, i already heard that's not "real" programming. after looking at a few possible languages perl seems to be my best option. i have done some simple program exercises and am encouraged that it makes sense to me.
i'm playing with arrays now and came across references to hashes. i get the concept of hashes having keys and values instead of arrays having indices and values but right now i don't see the advantage, other than using names for keys instead of numbers for indices. i tried using variables set to numbers to get values out of arrays and it seemed to work. is that different from hashes?
and i would think the program would find the values faster if the keys are ordered like the indices in arrays. are hashes just there for convenience, so i don't have to declare index variables if i don't want to get array values using just number?