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Is Java best option for first learning languaje?

lisa broker

Joined: Oct 12, 2009
Posts: 2
Hi, I'd like to learn programming, I don't know how to start, Is Java a good choice?

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David Newton

Joined: Sep 29, 2008
Posts: 12617

Not in my opinion. I think the syntactic/ceremonial overhead make it particularly unsuitable as a first language.
Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 46337
There probably isn't a "best" first language. Some are easier to learn than others; Java is probably one of the easier ones. But programming is in itself a difficult activity.
Rob Spoor

Joined: Oct 27, 2005
Posts: 20271

At my old university we started out with Pascal, and I did find that a nice starter language. Try to avoid Visual Basic though, as it is a horrible piece of dog poo.

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Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10817

I started off with C and found it quite easy to grasp the fundamentals.
But whatever language you choose, do yourself a favor and do not go for the drag and drop style IDEs, or IDEs which auto generate code for you. Thats a big no no at the beginner stage. A simple text editor/compiler combination helps best.

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Henry Wong

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 20517

I think everyone is different... with the right mindset, any language can be a good first language.

My first language was BASIC (on the Commodore PET). I quite enjoyed it. It was a very easy language to learn. I got bored of it after a few months though.

My second language was 6502 assembly language. Those were the days.... ... one 8 bit register (for math), two 8 bit index registers. Only memory based operations were load and store (no in-memory math).


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fred rosenberger
lowercase baba

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11955

just about any language will have some overhead you need to slog through. the trick is to figure out what you can safely ignore for now, and what the lesson is really trying to teach. For example, don't worry about why you need

"public static void main (String [] args)"

and what all the little pieces mean at first. Just know that you need it for now. then, as you learn more and more, you might start seeing the word 'void' used with other methods. Then come back and see why it makes sense here. Same for the other parts.

an early example might talk about if/else if/ else statements. focus on that part and get good understanding of that syntax, what it can (and can't) do, etc. The rest will come with time.

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Michael Keisu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2009
Posts: 30
in my experience - as a beginner of C++ and Java - I find Java easier, once I got over the "public static void main(String[] args)" anyway.. There is the Java API which you can lean on, also you don't have to bother with pointers various other things the creators of Java didn't find neccessary to bring to the language.

I don't think either are easy to learn however.. Or very fast to learn (I wish). In fact I find it hard to motivate myself in learning Java until I took a course recently, I have applied to another one, and it is a real motivation boost, having a clear goal ;) I personally haven't bothered with any other languages because I keep hearing about limitations when languages such as Visual Basic, etc etc are brought up

Max Rahder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 06, 2000
Posts: 177
lisa broker wrote:Hi, I'd like to learn programming, I don't know how to start, Is Java a good choice?

If you Google this you'll see there's a lot of opinion. Personally, I'd look into Python as a first language.
Dominic Carr

Joined: Oct 15, 2009
Posts: 1
I think java is a good first language but i would recommend python.
M K Rayapudi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 19, 2007
Posts: 160
@lisa broker,
I think now you are in dilemma .
All the Ranchers' suggestions are worthful.
In my opinion, you can start learning programming with any language. (Myself started with Pascal, and then COBOL, FORTRAN, C, C++, Java, etc.,).
If you want to learn Java from a training center, tell the trainer as you don't know any other Programming language, because,
What I have observed is most of the Java Teachers are teaching Java to the students by assuming the students already know some non-OOP language (for e.g. C-language).
All the best!

Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 46337
I previously wrote:There probably isn't a "best" first language.
And everybody seems to agree with me

Welcome to the Ranch, Dominic Carr
Fabio Falci Rodrigues
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 01, 2007
Posts: 36
What do you guys think about Javascript?

You don't need to install anything to execute, just use your favorite web browser!

Paul Clapham

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 19973

That (Javascript) leads to another question: why would you want to learn a computer language?

Sure, you could learn Javascript. But all it can do is mess around inside a browser. So if your goal was to write a program which could -- say -- keep track of all the species of moth you had ever seen, you couldn't use Javascript. Likewise Java isn't good for writing spyware. So you have to ask yourself what's your reason for learning this computer language.
Bert Bates

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8898
A lot of people I respect say that Python is a great choice. I'd say Java is a pretty good choice, but when you learn Java, try to find instruction that really focuses on the object oriented perspective.

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Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 46337
Good point, Bert. You can find some books, eg Head First, Barnes and Kölling, Deitel "early objects edition" which introduce object-orientation (OO) early in the process. There are others, eg Barry Burd, SAMS "Teach Yourself" where it is intoduced later and much of the code is written in a procedural style. Agree with Bert that learning OO is a large part of the process.
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