Dumbest Coding Article Ever

Okay, this really tears it for me. No more Salon.com. And it's because of an article called "Why Johnny Can't Code".

With that kind of headline, that article should have been great for me. It is exactly the kind of area I'm investigating--how we fail at teaching code to novices.

Turns out, it's a three-page rant that we don't have command-line Basic anymore. The author makes a huge leap from this to saying that kids aren't exposed to the "nitty-gritty" anymore and, therefore, our civilization is doomed. Huh?

He glosses over Python, saying:

The "scripting" languages that serve as entry-level tools for today's aspiring programmers -- like Perl and Python -- don't make this experience accessible to students in the same way. BASIC was close enough to the algorithm that you could actually follow the reasoning of the machine as it made choices and followed logical pathways.

HUH? What the hell does that even mean, close enough to the algorithm? What kind of wacked out nostalgia trip is he on? Yeah, Python isn't assembly. But that's not the issue. You CAN see the algorithm. Done line by line! In the shell! It's really great like that! What the hell are you talking about, old man?!

Whatever. Every damn generation of hackers scoffs at the next. People rip on Python, and I catch myself being suspicious of Ruby coders for no really good reason. Circle of geeky, geeky life, I suppose. I just wish my dumbest thoughts got the bully pulpit of Salon.

Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.