|Keep It Simple, Stupid|
Exposure to problem solving methods need not be limited in number.by gryng (Hermit)
|on Aug 12, 2000 at 05:21 UTC||Need Help??|
Well, I respect your opinion on teaching style, however I respectfully disagree.
I think that Perl drops most of the extra work you have to do in order to have the computer accomplish your goal (that is, you don't have to do things like (de)allocate memory). Therefore what is presented to you through Perl are all the basic problem solving tools.
Even if there are a myriad of ways to do the same thing with Perl's plethora of tools, they all embody the different ways of solving problems. And that to me, is the important part when it comes to programming, not knowing the internals to all the data structures and how pointers dereference my memory so I know what happens when I add 10 to it.
Learning which of these tools to use and when for each problem is the real essence of good programming (problem solving). That is what I would try to teach. Other languages can make the "Right Thing" (tm) too difficult to do (e.g. hashes may be the best solution, but aren't always easy to use in other languages), especially to a new programmer.
Where other languages will force you to pick the easy way to solve your problem, Perl will tend to allow you to do it the correct way just as easily as the lazy way.
If you are worried about confusing new programmers, remember that those that will get confused the easiest, probably will also not be the most adventurous. Therefore, if you only show them the simple and straighforward ways, they will only see those ways, and can't be lost by the other options. (for instance you could (gasp!) not show them what a hash is until mid-quarter).
Just because Perl supports it, doesn't mean you have to show it to them (though I would try to show them as much as you can and also encourage (and perhaps even subtly, such as in homework, force them) to be adventurous).
Anyway, just my two cents. I see the merit in a guided path, aided by some other stricter language (not to suggest more strict is worse). But I would like (as a new programmer) to be able to explorer all the aspects of my language. And the more relavent those aspects are to problem sovling, and not to the programming language itself, the more useful my explorations are going to be.