[plt-scheme] on which programming languages best to spend your time?

From: Geoffrey S. Knauth (geoff at knauth.org)
Date: Thu Feb 26 15:28:12 EST 2009

Sigrid:  There are very few people who can learn all these languages  
at once.  Even geniuses I know who pick up a new language in a few  
hours or days really focus on one language at a time.  I suggest going  
through the book How To Design Programs ( http://www.htdp.org/ ) using  
DrScheme.  The book will help you learn good software design habits  
that will do you good no matter what language you end up using later.

In General:  Something about technology and the Internet pulls us in a  
zillion directions at once.  I think we all find ourselves spread thin  
reading too many technical materials simultaneously, something I don't  
do when reading literature.  When reading literature, I start a book  
and finish it, I feel relief and/or accomplishment when I'm done, and  
I tend to remember the story better.


On Feb 26, 2009, at 15:10, keydana at gmx.de wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'd like to get some advice/opinions about on which programming  
> languages to spend my (spare) time. At work it's basically legacy  
> Java (and a bit of C++) code I'm working on, so I've only 1 hour  
> (max) per day for the languages I really want to learn.
> [In fact I'm a career changer who made her way into software  
> development quite recently and in a totally autodidactic way, so  
> first I had to learn Java and in fact my bad conscience keeps  
> telling me that for professional reasons I should dedicate some time  
> to Java too, but it seems I'm mostly ending up doing scheme in the  
> evening anyway ...]
> Following Java, I started scheme as a consequence of being infected  
> by the "SICP virus".
> Regarding scheme implementations, I do not even ask which one to use  
> after discovering this mailing list - it is incredibly inspiring,  
> and at the same time people are so helpful... so no doubt, it's PLT  
> scheme among all choices.
> BUT- I'm constantly tempted to start Haskell in parallel (and  
> especially right now, with "Real World Haskell" published), and also  
> there's Clojure recommended to me. I'm right now reading the new  
> book on Clojure to at least know something theoretically; but though  
> I can find some time to read books it's really just 1 hour max a day  
> I have for experimenting / learning with the computer switched on.
> So I'm constantly unsure how to employ this time.
> First, it would make sense to constantly proceed with scheme, in  
> order to be able to perform real-world tasks with it, and also to  
> some day perhaps be able to contribute to a PLT project, which I'd  
> very much like to do.
> [At the moment, the scheme activity I'm doing is trying out some  
> interpreters from PLAI - first, having read SICP before, I was so  
> hubristic that I wanted to "just quickly read through this" but then  
> I recognized that I would only understand and learn things by really  
> using the code, and in the meantime I'm totally enthusiastic about  
> PLAI. Really, it's a fantastic book, for example, I've tried quite  
> some texts to understand continuations but none have helped me so  
> much as the PLAI chapters!]
> Second, I wonder if for career reasons I should learn Clojure (I'll  
> certainly never find a job where I can use scheme, but who knows  
> what will happen with Clojure in the Java world)...
> And third, there's the Haskell temptation...
> I'd be very interested in your opinions...
> Cheers
> Sigrid

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