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GameDev135

re:looking for a language for a child

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I know a child who is very interested in learning how to program computers. He very bright, but is only 10 years old and thus I hesitate to recommend a language such as C++ to him especially since he has no experience with programming. However, he is very interested and I would like to recommend something for him. Do you guys have a suggestion as to what language/resources/books I should reccomend to him?

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Turbo Pascal is a great beginner language. It doesn''t get you into the bad codeing habbits that Basic/Visual basic do. It''s alot like C which is good should he want to move on, but it doesn''t let you step on your feet. The compiler tells you exactly what needs to be changed. And I''m certian you can find a copy of turbo pascal on the net fairly cheap. 7.0 was the last revision I remember so keep an eye out for that.

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Html and java-script. Built into standard browsers so no special downloads, java-script syntax is much closer to C than Turbo Pascal - for loops, while loops, functions. Variable declarations are easy, it''s semi-object oriented and has garbage collection built in. And there are lots of tuts on the web.

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I started learning programming when I was 8. People are never too young to learn how to program. My personal recommendation on a beginner language would be C. As long as you get him a good book, he can learn many of the basics without having to delve into the advanced features of the language.

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I''d go for Visual Basic, he can use the standard controls and not have to worry about anything other than the program logic.
I say this thinking about all that windows rubbish we have to initialize to process messages in C++, not to mention the array bounds checking, garbage collection etc present as standard in VB.

My first ''proper'' language was Turbo Pascal, but that was before Windows, I don''t know how the later versions compare.

I wonder if you could get a educational edition, I take it he''s in school .

,Jay

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I would recomend a language like java-script/java that kind of stuff but if he/she must, they could learn qbasic/visbasic. I dont recommend a lang like c/c++ though. I tried learning C/C++ when i was around 11/12 and didnt like it all because i couldnt make graphics and stuff very easily... with qbasic/visbasic, graphics are very easy... For a person at the age of 10 they will have alot more fun if the can have a smily face move around the screen through the arrow buttons than make a linked list.... and im guessing fun is the key right?

just my few sence...

dwiel ~ tazzel3d

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Python. Why? Here''s some reasons:

- it''s free to download and use for whatever platform you have. Check out the Python Language Website. The Windows version comes with an automated installer.

- there are lots of good quality free learning resources to be found on the web. Again, see the Python website.

- it provides immediate feedback which helps hold interest and encourages experimentation.

- it allows the beginner to experiment with modern programming paradigms such as OO and metaprogramming. Err... OK, the beginner won''t be experimenting with metaprogramming, but it''s there.

- it does not require a high degree of mathematical sophistication to learn. Easy to write, easy to read. There is a lot of latent power in the language which a new user can learn as and when it suits them.

- there are toolkits available for all manner of problem domains: four major GUI toolkits (Tk, MFC, QT and my favourite wxWindows), 3d graphics, SDL and PyGame for writing games, and all manner of other stuff.

- it''s a serious language used in industry settings. I use it for building distributed telecoms development & test products.

- did I mention it''s free?

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/me seconds the Python suggestion. The online book "Think like a computer scientist"[1] is very good at teaching programming concepts(using Python) to 'laymen'.

[1]http://www.andamooka.org/reader.pl?section=thinkpython


"The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes."
Martin Luther

[edited by - Arild Fines on July 18, 2002 4:16:53 PM]

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I would recommend Lingo for Director. You can get eductational version for very cheap (usually with ''learning Director'' books). Lingo teaches you about programming without making you learn how to load sounds or images.

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quote:
Original post by Andrew Nguyen
Not to mention that Python teaches how to use arguments, nesting, returns, and good coding habits.

A language doesn''t teach anything, it merely provides a set of constructs and imparts semantic meaning to those constructs.

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I think Andrew means that using those constructs provides a way to consolidate the ideas he lists.
From my experience, reading as many articles as I could did not compare to the experience gained from actually applying them in a particular language and seeing the results.
I think Andrew is implying that starting with a simple language is good, but even better if it contains abstract ideas that will still be very useful when moving to more complex ones (I assume Python is simpler, but have never used it, so please forgive me if I''m mistaken).
You are certainly right in what you say, I''m not disputing it, I just want the original poster to realise that Andrews point is valid, even if his use of the word ''teaches'' is out of place.


----------------------------
I HATE COLLISION DETECTION!!

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For a child that young, Logo would be well worth the effort, provides instant feedback and is surprisingly powerful. I wouldn''t have believed it until my gf said she would like a copy to work with for her teaching ICT, it can certainly teach many of the most useful programming concepts. I found a nice version for windows here, not totally sure of the license but seems free.

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quote:
Original post by fallenang3l
[quote]Original post by yves032784
10 years old????????? tell him to outside and play!


I guess I''m the only one here who shares your opinion. How sad .

Shouldn''t he finish playing Doom first? ;-)

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quote:
Original post by evaclear
Turbo Pascal is a great beginner language. It doesn''t get you into the bad codeing habbits that Basic/Visual basic do. It''s alot like C which is good should he want to move on, but it doesn''t let you step on your feet. The compiler tells you exactly what needs to be changed. And I''m certian you can find a copy of turbo pascal on the net fairly cheap. 7.0 was the last revision I remember so keep an eye out for that.


What bad habit would those be? And don''t say goto and gosub, thats just dumb.

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I started with STOS basic on the Atari ST when i was 8 some 11 years ago.

Personaly i''d reccomend one of the BASIC languages out there on the PC for game creation, eg Dark Basic etc, afterall a kid of 10 will only want to create games, with these you can learn the principles of programming and get quick results.

C or C++ would frustrate a young kid, and delphi requires a lot more to get games out of it (afaik).

From STOS basic, i am now 100% fluent in C/C++ using STL, OpenGL, DIrectX etc.

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I recommend Visual Basic, i started with it when I was 10 and within one or two months I had learned enough to allow me to learn C++ programming in a week. VB is a fairly powerful language, has easy to learn syntax and hides most of the complexities from who ever is doing the programming.

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Logo is good for a child''s first programming experience. It''s so easy to pick up...I know, it was my first programming experience!

HTML and java-script is basic programming, so if the fellow wants to get more serious with programming, he should play with these for a while.

After that, Visual Basic is a nice, easy language to dip into before moving on to others like C++.

Grant Palin

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