pygmy_giant
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Re: Gumberoo - making a new Learning Language

Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:37 pm

Must be something wrong with me – I obviously don"t have the "right mindset" – if most oo 3g languages are pretty much the same other than wher they put their dots and commas, I"d rather learn one and stick to it than chop and change and get confused. I understand programming and enjoy it but don"t get excited about the mostly minor differences between languages. Thats why I think it could be good if multi-lingual people like you with such an enlightened mindset who enjoy syntax could design a new language from the ground up that included all the best attributes from the myriad of languages now available – and maybe added a few innovations on top. The buzz I get out of programming is from setting myself a goal and acheiving it through problem solving, not from tearing my hair out and trawling through forums and textbooks to work out how to do somethng thats easy in one language in a new one. Is that wrong? I"d get off my behind and learn another language if I thought it was THE language rather than JUST ANOTHER language. I feel out dated with c++ but want to be sure that the next one I learn is worth the time investment. I"m sure I"m not the only person wh feels that way. Perhaps people like me don"t deserve such a new language for being so unenlightened selfish and lazy. Might give Free Pascal a sniff as it sounds like a helpful suggestion. I guess the purpose of this topic is whats good to attract kids into programming and ease of use and pretty graphics is certainly a factor. My point is that its also good to keep kids interested in programming and think that you could loose some if their first language does not have lasting appeal. Not every one who enjoys programming in ONE language wants to learn EVERY language.
Ostendo ignarus addo scientia.

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SN
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Re: Gumberoo - making a new Learning Language

Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:55 pm

in the many blank days since ordering my raspi and not receiving it, creating a language which is easy for kids is something I've thought about too...

my thinking is that it should work both from a traditional type it in approach and a pictorial drack and drop block stacking approach - which I think is what scratch is BUT I'm avoiding looking in to it to try and keep 'clean room' as it were.

and I've got a rough framework laid out already - it only needs someone to write something to convert-to-c-and-compile (or interpret) and I think it would work.

In around 1995 I had a go at something similar for my 5 year old (he's all grown up and 21 now) before AND got it finished and it still runs, written and compiled in MS C 5.1.

No graphical interface but just took straight typed in simple English commands like "draw a big red circle" and it filled in the blanks (unless you told it specifically).  Reviewing the C code behind this 1995 version has made me realise how far I have fallen off the C coding wagon which is why my 2012 version is 'stuck' right now...
Steve N – binatone mk4->intellivision->zx81->spectrum->cbm64->cpc6128->520stfm->pc->raspi ?

pygmy_giant
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Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:49 am

Re: Gumberoo - making a new Learning Language

Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:01 pm

I"d like to see my son using something like that - is it a kind of "4th generation language" ie. you tell it WHAT to do and it figures out HOW to do it itself?
Ostendo ignarus addo scientia.

mole125
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Re: Gumberoo - making a new Learning Language

Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:02 am

pygmy_giant said:


I understand programming and enjoy it but don"t get excited about the mostly minor differences between languages. Thats why I think it could be good if multi-lingual people like you with such an enlightened mindset who enjoy syntax could design a new language from the ground up that included all the best attributes from the myriad of languages now available – and maybe added a few innovations on top.


That's the exact reason why there are so many similar languages that all more or less look the same. Many programmers have tackled this challenge. However it is fundamentally impossible. There is no definition of what counts as a best attribute and different programmers have very strong opinions on the subject. That is ignoring the fact that you first have to ask 'best for what?' java may be best for cross platform, perl may be best for text processing, php got dynamic web, C for low level development and python for learning programming. (These are examples, not facts and not an invitation to debate this in this thread!).

If you did somehow manage to include the best features of all languages then you would probably end up with a bad language anyway as it would become overly complicated and large, with inconsistent design principals and so be really hard for a beginner to pick up.

The better effort is not to design a new language, but just to pick a good enough one and improve the documentation, code sample etc and while keeping it simple!

andyl
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Re: Gumberoo - making a new Learning Language

Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:23 am

pygmy_giant said:


I am hoping the Pi will get me back into programming but don"t want the hastle of learnig python if it is not comprehensive/fast enough and I feel outdated with C++.
C++ is scary for beginners and although I haven"t tried it some people say python is limited - is that unfair?


Probably.  It depends what you want to do.  For some things python isn't as fast as other languages to run.  However it is substantially quicker to learn, to become proficient in the language than those other languages.  It is also part of a class of languages which is good for readability/expressiveness/maintainability of code.  So it all depends on what types of programming you want to do.  Raw speed is rarely a limiting factor IME - IO (disk access) and UI interaction are usually a brake on any speed.


Perhaps there are too many languages already


Well at 4000+ish languages some might say that.  However I wouldn't.  There are always tradeoffs which need to be made when picking a language.  Also there are a number of programming paradigms, and also those languages which are multi-paradigm.  For example languages using Pi-Calculus are just becoming known - admittedly they are probably never going to be good general purpose languages (at least if they are purely pi-calculus) but they are extremely suitable for some problem spaces.  For that and other reasons these languages (and a lot of the existing 4k) are not suitable as learning languages or for general use by newbies.

The biggest problem isn't writing another language (at least if it is straightforward), it is in gathering an active community around it.

pygmy_giant
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Re: Gumberoo - making a new Learning Language

Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:17 am

I guess then the "best for what" question in this instance is "best easy to learn general language for Pi hardware + kids" - perhaps it is Python? Need that language necessarily be different to one that is "best for grown-ups wanting to do advanced stuff". If not then my view is that kids who otherwise might loose interest in programming will stick with it.
Ostendo ignarus addo scientia.

deathshadow
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Re: Gumberoo - making a new Learning Language

Tue May 01, 2012 9:47 pm

Tossed together a website for the project.

http://www.gumberoo.org

I also now own the .com and have it set up as a redirect.

pygmy_giant
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Re: Gumberoo - making a new Learning Language

Wed May 02, 2012 12:44 am

Take it all back - see where you're comming from - nice site...
Ostendo ignarus addo scientia.

bobc
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Re: Gumberoo - making a new Learning Language

Wed May 02, 2012 7:23 am

It's an odd site. The graphics look like they are aimed at kids, but there are walls of text containing diatribes on various subjects.

And also, there is no syntax for the language or examples of code.

pygmy_giant
Posts: 1562
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:49 am

Re: Gumberoo - making a new Learning Language

Wed May 02, 2012 11:56 pm

mmm... seems to have changed since when I last read it ... does now sound ranty ... maybe stick to the project and not muddle it up with critiques of the education system ...

Cut out the rant - develop the specs.
Ostendo ignarus addo scientia.

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