[plt-scheme] Teaching Scheme

From: Arthur Nunes-Harwitt (anh at cs.rit.edu)
Date: Mon May 3 12:03:08 EDT 2010

Dear Samuel,

> The goal of this site is to give people an appreciation...

   I'm afraid I'm dubious that such a site can provide an appreciation of 
what the site creators don't know about.

> However, in general, C is a compiled language, and Python is an 
> interpreted language. We can make these generalizations fairly 
> consistently.

   If you take that perspective, you should be aware that there are a lot 
of Scheme and LISP compilers out there and that the most commonly used 
implementations are compilers and not interpreters.

   PLT Scheme is as much a compiled language as Java.

> The idea is that for beginners, it is a useful classification which can 
> be assigned to a language _in general_, since it reflects the way in 
> which a language is used or implemented (i.e. the default 
> implementation).

   Beginners have a hazy understanding, at best, of the difference between 
interpreters and compilers.  It is unclear to me that such a distinction 
is useful for beginners.  Rather, something that can be immediately 
apprehended is whether the language is typically interactive.

> A programming paradigm is an model or methodology that is incorporated 
> and generally used in programming language.

   No.  The point is that a paradigm is primarily a way of thinking about 

> For example, C is an imperative language, but it is possible to write 
> object oriented code with C. You can even write some functional code! 
> However, few people would call C object oriented or functional by 
> default.

   Exactly.  A language may or may not support, or support in varying 
degrees, a particular *programming* paradigm.

   Good luck.


Arthur Nunes-Harwitt
Computer Science Department, Rochester Institute of Technology
Room 70-3509

"I don't know what the language of the future will be
called, but it will look like LISP."

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