rethinking the suggested beginning language

Feb 6, 2015  

I was all gung-ho about recommending Go as the ideal starting point for everyone, and abstract driving force behind this was a supposed combination of the ease and power of Python and C respectively, both of which can individually make a case for being the right place to start.

This depended on two things:

  • Leave it to the student to figure out the editor/IDE/tooling, and
  • Don’t worry about GUIs in the beginning (it’s ok to focus on a text interface alone).

Unfortunately, when I discuss this with other people (yes, an unscientific small sample), these seem like dumb assumptions. The accepted wisdom seems to be that

  • IDEs are very important, and
  • GUIs and web apps have to be the primary focus.

So now I’m confused all over again. I really, really don’t want to return to Javascript. Perhaps Dart would fit the bill? The default eclipse-ish editor is pretty self-contained and is easy to download and get up and running on all platforms. The syntax is a bit meh, but that’s just my current ignorance. I don’t know. Maybe there isn’t any such thing as a good beginner programming language.