[plt-scheme] HTUS

From: Nicholas Chubrich (chubrich at cs.brandeis.edu)
Date: Fri Mar 24 15:46:09 EST 2006

I'd like to submit a plea for someone to finish How to Use Scheme.  I
think there is a need for it and it seems not to have been worked on since
2001.  Although a well-written, polished book would be a lot of work, I
think one could write something nearly as useful with much less effort.  
Books on Python programming for instance will feature extensive
examples---how to build a paint program, a simple editor, etc.  To start
off with, choose a set of such examples that more or less span the
features of PLT, and describe what they do.  (Even this by itself would be
a helpful set of exercises for learners.)  Then, just outline how they are
implemented in PLT, and under each heading paste relevant selections from
the help desk, along with links to the full context.  That's it---don't
worry about making it read smoothly.  
	It would be easy to expand and polish this sort of thing in bits
and pieces.  You might turn it into a Wiki; people could submit code for
the examples, which they might develop for their own learning anyway.
	Seeing HTUS unfinished is discouraging for someone who wants to
develop an application in PLT.  I already knew Scheme from SICP, and it is
far and away my favorite language.  I am now trying to develop a text
editor at least in prototype; PLT seems to have a good toolkit for doing
this, but I must admit I almost gave up when trying to read the class.ss
manual first.  I wonder if I am crazy not to be using Python or
even Java (yechh).  But I like Scheme for its elegance and expressivity.  
I could hack continuations all day long and never look up; but I enjoy
learning class libraries with all their baroquetude about as much as a
trip to the dentist.  An instructional example is like a shot of
novocaine---you get to plunge right in and deal with the pain later as
necessary.  Does learning from a man page or reference really make better
men of us?  Frankly I doubt it.
	(Actually I am going to the dentist on Monday and \will probably 
try to do it without novocaine.  But it is a very small cavity.  And the 
hygenist will be there for hand-holding.) 

Nick Chubrich.

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