This is going to be another geek-post – it was either this or moan about our loss to Arsenal, and I’m tired of moaning already. (Bring back Owen!!)
I originally picked up HTML as a hobby, something to pass the time, back when I was in university (this was sometime around 1996) I borrowed a HTML For Dummies book from the library and finished it from cover to cover in less than 24 hours. Yes, HTML was that simple (we’re talking version 2, folks) – still is, although current practices in semantic markup methodology, W3C validation and integration of CSS makes today’s XHTML just a little more complicated – but only a little.
Other programming languages that I’ve learned (formally or informally) weren’t that easy to get a grip on. The first ever programming language I learned was BASIC, at the tender age of 12 (in my school’s Computer Club). This was back when DOS was the operating system on the computer and Windows was that thing you broke when you played football inside the house despite your mom’s constant threats. WordStar was THE word-processor software and we could even take a proficiency test in order to get a certificate. I would have gotten it, if not for the fact that I spent most of my Computer Club sessions playing Pac-Man, Karateka or Test Drive….
Anyway, you’re unlikely to find youngsters these days being indocrinated into the computing world with an introduction to BASIC – more likely it’s something simpler like Pascal (which is another module that I took in college – college syllabi tend to be obsolete by the time the text books are printed – case in point: I remember a junior complaining that his lecturer was still teaching them all that dot-com bubble ideology despite the dot-com bust having come and gone) or Visual Basic.
Other languages I’ve studied, crammed, and passed in a legally-sanctioned exam are C (I learned enough to pass, although back then I never really realised how powerful it was – if I had, I’d have probably obsessed over it a lot more, and ending up a bigger geek than I’d ever want to be), Java (I actually did very well in Java in my exams, but funnily enough I never really had too many opportunities to work with it in my IT career thus far, so my Java skills are kinda rusty now), and of course, Visual Basic (but let’s ignore that).
I’ve also had a look in at Perl, but never got around to expanding my knowledge on it since by then I was busy with PHP.
Anyway, this whole post was inspired by this article “What Programming Languages You Should Actually Care to Learn” (discovered by way of Digg).
I agree with some of the points, namely on C and Java (which is a good way to get into the world of object-oriented programming or OOP – forget C++), but not too sure about Lisp and (I might get killed for this) Python.
There are even some people who tell me that ASP.NET is a must for any programmer, but I’ve come this far without having to jump into bed with Microsoft, so I’m just gonna hang on a wee bit longer, if you don’t mind. 😉
But if there is one language that I’m seriously curious about nowadays, it’s Ruby (or to be more specific, Ruby on Rails – the web application framework based on Ruby). I first heard about it sometime last year, I think, and the buzz has been steadily picking up ever since. It’s come to a point where any discussion regarding web programming languages would have to include Ruby on Rails or risk being considered irrelevant or obsolete (hence this paragraph, ahem).
In any case, if I’m to do my professional calling any justice, I really should put aside some time to learn/master these other languages:
- C (this really is overdue for me. is there an exam or certification course i can take for this?)
- Java (again, like C, it’s about time I reconnect with this. back in the old days, i could actually THINK in Java, ya know, see the lines of code in my head and debug them. i was THAT into it – don’t i think i’ll be able to do that again…)
- Perl (with PHP’s increasing popularity in the web-server world, I don’t know exactly what extra advantage I’ll have with Perl, but I guess it’s only right to have at least an understanding of the alternatives… i’m gonna get killed by the Perl advocates, aren’t i?)
- Ruby on Rails (so if ever this topic comes up in geek discussions – which will probably take place online or at Star Wars fan events – I can sound knowledgeable enough to join in, or at least impress the requisite Padme-Amidala-lookalike enough to get her number)
And I assure you, that’s the last geek post I’m gonna write for a while… unless Liverpool lose again, in which case I’ll provide an explanation on why PHP 5 rocks the universe.
Behold! It is thus written in the Programmers’ Bible: “Lo! The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth (and all the Attributes and Methods of the superclass Universe)“.