[plt-scheme] Better documentation for novice Schemers

From: Karl Winterling (kwinterling at gmail.com)
Date: Sat Sep 26 16:44:09 EDT 2009

On Sat, Sep 26, 2009 at 12:10 PM, Todd O'Bryan <toddobryan at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 26, 2009 at 2:49 PM, Jon Rafkind <rafkind at cs.utah.edu> wrote:
>> I guess you can look at code on planet or in the collects directory of the
>> PLT tree, but I'm beginning to think a more expansive explanation section of
>> the docs would be useful. Something like extremely detailed comments about
>> "real code".
> I've been thinking the same thing. The Guide was supposed to replace
> How to Use Scheme, which was supposed to be a cookbook of sorts. The
> problem is that, while the Guide is more readable than the Reference,
> it's still kind of dense in terms of content while still managing to
> be sparse in terms of realistic code examples that can get a novice up
> to speed. And there really is the need for a reference that
> experienced programmers in other languages can turn to when they hear
> how cool Scheme is.
> Something like "Dive Into Python" would be really nice. That book
> starts most chapters with a small program that does something
> interesting and then spends the rest of the chapter explaining the new
> constructs that the program introduces. The big advantage is that you
> get to see idiomatic code, and you get to see constructs used in
> context.

I'd prefer something that encourages the reader to experiment or do
instructive exercises. I really like Scheme because it allows one to
express complicated programs tersely. For example, an ``extended
exercise'' involving matrix computations with a focus on linear map
representation could show off HOFs, recursion, structs, and the whole
``programs <=> data'' concept.

Just a thought.


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