Perl was not the first programming language I learned. (For values of "learned" broad enough to encompass an 8th grader learning to type '20 GOTO 10
' on a TRS-80. Eventually that was followed by better training in Pascal, Scheme, and C, before Perl). But it was the first language I truly and warmly enjoyed using
It's worth reflecting on this: if a person ought to learn C first, so that they have experience with, e.g., memory management issues, what if the frustration of that experience drives them from programming? Or at least towards viewing programming joylessly, as a dreary, unpleasant chore? Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? Is it driving away a potential future contributor, or healthily thinning the herd? Should programming be a jealously guarded black art? Should newbies be blocked from invoking /usr/bin/perl unless they click through some Tk boxes that explain the importance of strict and warnings? (...actually, that last bit doesn't sound half bad.)
I think how you answer this depends upon who you imagine being the subject of this thought experiement. Is it your 12 year old cousin, trying to create a simple game or print "Hello world"? Is it some one with no commercial asperations, looking to play around with their pc and web page? Is it Joe College, enrolling for his first comp sci class? Or is it somebody learning to code on the side of a main job (management, tech support), in order to volunteer to maintain his company's web interface?
"Never could stand that dog."
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