[plt-scheme] Re: Programming for non-programmers

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Thu Oct 14 15:53:15 EDT 2004

As everyone has probably noticed by now, there are
two radically different notions of programming at play:

  Definition 1: systematically design and re-design (factor)
  an application. Typically others use this software, and
  also typically this software is maintained over some time.
  But not always.

  Definition 2: get the computer to do something for you,
  anything almost (even if it is not quite right).

And 2 is the winning notion, even if it's wrong. Then
again even though it is wrong for all kinds of reasons,
it has a place.

As some of you have realized this is the heart of the problem.

GvR has advocated more of 2 with Python. We have focused
on 1 even if we could do 2 in high school, very successfully.
We (htdp) have considered option 2, and we will borrow from
option 2. But if that was our goal (get rich and famous with
a 2-style PL via a hugely successful college and high school
text) we would never have created DrScheme in the first place.
So as I considered this option again this week, I realized that
I'd consider myself a complete sell-out if I got everyone to
do 2 in Scheme. Thanks for helping me clarify what I want to do.

-- Matthias

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