May 01 2007

Retreat


So its that time of the year again, Spring Retreat. This promises to be a fun time for me. We are camping out by Daytona at a park I have never been to. I am excited. Instead of the chapter footing all of the food costs and making us pay the camping costs, it is the other way around. We are cooking on our own. So a few of us have devised an amazing menu! I am very happy!! This is going to be so much fun. Look for pictures when I return!!


Apr 24 2007

Languages – a Rant


It came up today in conversation at work (I guess that is what its called), the differences between languages and which ones should be taught to students. Being that I have learned a good deal of the languages that are popular by todays standards I felt good about voicing my opinions to my co-workers.

At the University level at least at my school C is the initial language taught. It is seen as a necessary building block to learn other languages including Java and C++. While I can not deny that it is a necessary language, I do not agree that you have to understand this language to understand the others. C being a functional language (lacking object-oriented properties) is a tedious language to master, and many students in my opinion get lost in the syntax rather than the concepts of programming, or of good programming practices. Looking for mismatched braces and missing semi-colons can be a nightmare, not to mention trying to explain pointers to a student who has no idea about much of the programming world except the 1-2 months of Introduction to C Programming. I’m not saying that Java and C are any better but we are teaching students to be great coders but not necessarily great thinkers.

I had a GREAT professor for CS3 who really harped on the algorithms and not so much the code behind it, he left the code to us to figure out. I learned a lot that way, but I have to admit that most of my knowledge is stemmed from about 3 years of programming when I was in Middle School. I learned a language called Scheme which I guess from all of my education is a derivative of LISP. A functional interpretted language. I had one very nice point to it though. There was hardly any syntax to learn. If you could visualize the function in a black-box type manner you could code it in Scheme. To this day a lof of the fundamental points of programming I learned from that language.

Most of the modern languages are very similar. If you can code in C or Java, you can code in C++, C#, J#, php, ruby, perl etc. I told one of my co-workers that I highly encourged them to take a course in Object Oriented languages, and rather than learn the language focus on the concepts and learn the UML that you are taught. Once you know the concepts then you can apply it to a language, not visa-versa.

I guess that is all of my rant for the night. I might regret this in the morning.


Apr 24 2007

I’m a PHSB


Your programmer personality type is:

PHSB

You’re a Planner.
You may be slow, but you’ll usually find the best solution. If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

You like coding at a High level.
The world is made up of objects and components, you should create your programs in the same way.

You work best in a Solo situation.
The best way to program is by yourself. There’s no communication problems, you know every part of the code allowing you to write the best programs possible.

You are a liBeral programmer.
Programming is a complex task and you should use white space and comments as freely as possible to help simplify the task. We’re not writing on paper anymore so we can take up as much room as we need.


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