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re: What was your first programming language and why? VIEW POST

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re: That's a really interesting journey, it sounds like you've jumped around a lot. Firstly, what were the biggest challenges you faced learning progr...
 

Firstly, what were the biggest challenges you faced learning programming in some of your earlier endeavours i.e. Racket and C?

The biggest issue for me with Racket was the syntax. For some reason, I just can't consistently wrap my head around LISP-style syntaxes like Scheme (and by extension, Racket) has. Even today, with multiple years of experience programming, I have to put a lot more mental energy into understanding LISP or Scheme, or SmallTalk, or even OCaml than most other languages when I'm reading code.

C, OTOH, was mostly a case of just not getting any real experience. At the time, I hadn't really 'discovered' FOSS yet, so my only percieved option was to shell out money for Visual Studio, which I had absolutely zero interest in doing (aside from not having any practical way to earn that much money either). I'm actually reasonably competent with C these days, but I don't really use it much because very little that I do actually needs it.

Somewhat ironically, I had issues with BASIC too when I was taking that course in high-school because the prior (limited) experience with Racket and C meant I was already thinking at a much lower level than the dialect of BASIC we used operated.

Secondly, it sounds like Python is the one you use the most today, along with shell scripting, why do you think these clicked?

For shell script, it's necessity. I work IT and mostly deal with UNIX-like systems, as well as using Linux on most of my personal systems, so it's kind of hard for me to get anything done on a computer without knowing at least some shell script.

For Python, I think it's that so many things about it are just kind of intuitive for me. The off-sides syntax just makes sense to me, exception handling in Python has always seemed more robust and well designed than other languages, the concepts around context managers fit perfectly with the way I think, etc. The robust standard library has also been a major factor for me, as it means I quite often don't need any external dependencies.

Great points, thanks for sharing your insight. Python seems to be a favourite among Dev Ops and IT because as you said, you can be productive with an extensive standard library.

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