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What was your first language?

Getting into programming and first language

     

Pascaline

2:03 am on Jul 7, 2014 (gmt 0)



Hi, my name's Pascaline, nice to meet you.

I was wondering how you started out in the programming world? What were the first things you learned? Did you have a mentor or an online tutorial? :)

brotherhood of LAN

2:58 am on Jul 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to the forums Pascaline

For me, I started out learning by coding up a static site using Frontpage around 1998, then learned the benefits of having a database driven site and HTML template, and using separate CSS files. The natural evolution for me was using ASP and MS Access as FrontPage accommodated it.

After a while I felt more comfortable using a text editor.

I also started using LAMP, and have learnt a good bit more Javascript, C and CUDA.

The learning process to begin with for me was here (these forums), online tutorials where they existed and lots of trial and error.

Nowadays it seems like the gaps of knowledge I had are all written about online, either in tutorials or questions already asked by people further along the learning curve.

If there was any advice I'd give to budding young programmers nowadays... search engines are your friend and can answer most things, and for everything else you have forums like these.

lucy24

6:46 am on Jul 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Oh, gosh. I saw the subject header and thought for a moment I was in a different forum.

First language? Probably Applesoft, early-to-mid 80's. I think there was another BASIC dialect that existed in parallel. Much later, FutureBasic-- sticking with what I knew.

First HTML? I think I did it in MS Word, back when it was relatively easy to export material as plain text. Starting with the UIUC tutorial, which no longer exists, though it survived until surprisingly recently. I never dealt with CSS until I started making ebooks 10 years ago.

I learned my first few words of Javascript 4 years ago when I needed to make Inuktitut inflectional tables and was faced with the fact that visual media only have two dimensions and I needed four. This is really true.

Pascaline, are you asking about programming languages or web-page markup? ("Calling something an X doesn't make it an X." Hence "HTML", which is essentially a word processor and can easily be used as such.)

piatkow

1:37 pm on Jul 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I started with BASIC at home and with JCL at work

In mark ups I used IBM GML which I learned from the manual when we only had dumb terminals in the office.
Conversion to the basics of html from that was trivial and was learned from a web tutorial.
Javascript I have picked up by hacking pre-made scripts

not2easy

5:06 pm on Jul 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Mine was Apple II Basic in 1985, then to IBM DOS and MS VBasic on Win3.1, then I quit that and went to html via online tutorial and css as it evolved with bits and pieces of js and php picked up as needed.

martinibuster

6:34 pm on Jul 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Basic, around 1979.

lucy24

9:01 pm on Jul 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I read somewhere that BASIC was originally developed as an introductory language leading into Fortran. But I don't know a word of Fortran, so I don't know if this is true and/or plausible. (For that matter, I don't know the historic connection between javascript and php, although they're obviously genetically related.)

scooterdude

2:17 am on Jul 8, 2014 (gmt 0)



I started with Fortran IV, in University, and as far as I know, the version of Basic I learned, was developed as a simplified programming language for use in early Microsoft environments.

martinibuster

3:05 am on Jul 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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connection between javascript and php


I don't know if there is a connection. I'm fairly certain JS was developed by Netscape, originally called something else. They wanted it to ride Java's coattails so they arranged to have it called JavaScript, even though it had absolutely nothing to do with Java. What I was told by professors when I was taught JS back in the day...

LifeinAsia

3:48 am on Jul 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Showing my age, but BASIC then Pascal then FORTRAN. Then I moved into operating systems- MS-DOS, some Unix, VAX/VMS, then Windows, and now back to Linux. Then migrated online- JavaScript, ColdFusion, and some Java and PHP. And not to forget a side trip through databases with T-SQL.

Jonesy

10:41 pm on Jul 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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heh... My first language was Algol-60 at the Univ. of Denver, 1966.
My second language was IBM Sys/360 Assembler in 1967 -- which,
with its follow-on variants -- serve me quite well until I quit working
in 1999. (I'm taking this century off.)

Jonesy

Narsto

9:54 pm on Aug 15, 2014 (gmt 0)



This is interesting. I'm actually just trying to learn programming. I already know html and CSS. Could anyone tell me what's the best programming language I need to start with? I'd prefer something with an easier learning curve. Thanks Much.

Kendo

12:58 am on Aug 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Mine was BASIC on an Osborne 64 (64k of memory and floppy floppies). It was a "portable" but its case was large enough to house a sewing machine. Just when I was getting the hang of it everything became DOS.

Essex_boy

10:46 am on Nov 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Sinclair basic (!) C1982

aakk9999

10:53 am on Nov 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Cobol at Uni 1983.

londrum

11:29 am on Nov 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I did stuff on the BBC Micro at school. We spent all day making pictures out of little triangles with plot and draw.

Do you remember all those magazines you could buy with program listings in, for games and stuff, and you'd have to sit there and type them all out. Those were the days

ronin

1:07 pm on Nov 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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This is interesting. I'm actually just trying to learn programming. I already know html and CSS. Could anyone tell me what's the best programming language I need to start with? I'd prefer something with an easier learning curve. Thanks Much.


People who know about programming will cough when I recommend starting with PHP - it's a crowd-sourced language and doesn't have nearly the elegance of a designed language (like Python or Java).

But most non-elitists will concede that, for non-programmers, PHP does have a much easier learning curve than most programming languages.

My own experience is that I tried to start learning Javascript 1.3 in 2000 and didn't get very far. I tried to start again in 2004 and didn't get much further. From 2004 to 2012, I occasionally found a script, hacked it about and didn't really understand what it was doing. Mostly I left .js alone.

But in 2012, I started learning PHP. I learned variables, then variable variables (something peculiar to PHP but arguably very useful), then functions, then arrays, then custom functions, then multi-dimensional arrays...

And guess what? When I next had a look at Javascript, despite the difference in syntax, I found that now I had an understanding of basic programming structures, I could now start learning Javascript. (Which I am in the process of doing).

So, I'd recommend you start with PHP, Narsto just to get your head around basic programming structures.

PCInk

1:58 pm on Nov 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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BBC Basic for me too on an Acorn BBC Micro, then an Archimedes/RiscPC where I moved into programming the ARM chip in assembly language alongside BASIC.

Do you remember all those magazines you could buy with program listings in, for games and stuff, and you'd have to sit there and type them all out. Those were the days


So, I wasn't the only one to spend hours typing these in!

Today, I would take a totally different route. Probably PHP.

lucy24

6:32 pm on Nov 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Do you remember all those magazines you could buy with program listings in

Thanks a lot, londrum. I'd managed to entirely obliterate those from my memory :-P

On the positive side, that must have been when the "women type, men don't" distinction was lost after persisting through much of the 20th century. You can't speak your code into a Dictaphone and then hand it off to your secretary.

piatkow

7:18 pm on Nov 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

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You can't speak your code into a Dictaphone and then hand it off to your secretary.

I know of one senior manager who built a data model that way. Muggins had the job of converting the verious iterations of the resulting MSWord document into something that could be uploaded into a proper modelling tool.

I am not sure how I would start learning now but most of my learning has been based on reworking scripts that I have picked up from elsewhere.

Essex_boy

5:17 pm on Nov 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I only ever typed one program in from a magazine, it didnt work.

lucy24

8:46 pm on Nov 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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This was before OCR technology became cheap and ubiquitous, right? And each application was an island. So the program you saw printed in the magazine was itself typed into the magazine's text editor by someone looking at a coffee-stained printout propped next to their own computer. Or typewriter. And then this in turn got handed off to the printer/publisher/typesetter. Got a pretty strong notion that computer magazines were not necessarily at the cutting edge of computerized typesetting, because that involved money alongside geekery.

So that's at least two possible points to introduce errors before the code even reached the end user.

londrum

11:22 pm on Nov 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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imagine if they provided the code for a game these days, you'd be typing it out for ten years. I remember you used to be able to have just one person doing the entire thing, and maybe getting in someone else for the music. Now it's a whole company doing it

Its a bit like that with websites now, I suppose. It started off with just one person doing it, but now youve got your html and CSS and JavaScript and ruby people, then your database and php people, then your server people, then your SEO people, then your content writers, and your social media and advertising people... its getting harder to be a one-man band

Essex_boy

3:37 pm on Nov 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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just one person doing the entire thing - Same here those were the days !

ronin

1:17 pm on Nov 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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its getting harder to be a one-man band


I hear you.

The post-Fordian-production-line emphasis on specialism over generalism has reached its tentacles even into building websites.

I have a personal theory that generalism is better for human psychological well-being, (... but never say that out loud when there is a corporate accountant within earshot!)

I was wondering how you started out in the programming world?


I forgot to mention that in 1986, at the age of 10, I did have a limited grasp of Dragon BASIC. (And yes, I did spend hours on Sunday mornings typing in magazine listings - it's more or less that activity, that taught me to type at a reasonable speed...)

tangor

1:48 pm on Nov 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Basic (1980)
Pascal
A few db languages at the time
Web about 1994, Perl soon after
C and C++
Visual Basic, too.
As far as web is concerned, Perl has served me well. Never got into php too far, though I'm not an idiot.

What matters is not WHERE you start, but that you DO start and go from there.

dcheney

2:07 pm on Nov 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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For "real" programming I'd recommend folks start with assembler (which one doesn't really matter - its learning the constraints at the lowest level). For web programming, its equivalent: HTML.

jamie

4:35 pm on Nov 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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i started with php in 2002 (having already known html since 1999). it's the reason i joined this forum. online mentor? yes lots of members here lol - particularly ergophobe and coopster. and a lot of trial and error.

javascript is a natural accompaniment to php and with those two you can do pretty much everything needed in today's web.

i have lots of books about php/js programming, which gave me a good foundation, but there's nothing like feedback from an expert. good luck whatever you choose.

itsraghz

6:12 pm on Nov 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Early 90's I learnt BASIC and then learnt C in 1998, C++ in 2000, Java from 2001 to 2010, Python/PHP/Ruby from 2012 onwards. Going on :)

Habtom

6:54 pm on Nov 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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C in 1999. I love Go now. (a lot!)

*Wow, I didn't realize I've been on WebmasterWorld for 10 years today.
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