Three wishes of a wannabe developer

John Almberg jalmberg at
Sat Feb 9 16:28:37 UTC 2008

Bon dia, Rui (my wife is Brazillian)

>    That is t he case of economics. In the logic of freesoftware I want
>    make programs to  fill that vacuum. Well, some of it. What I  
> want to
>    do are economic model ba sed simulators. I could do it in a
>    spreadsheet, but I would rather make a n ice application and  
> make it
>    available for everyone. For that, both competen cies in the  
> economics
>    and computing areas are necessary.

I'd suggest looking into a real object oriented language, rather than  
a systems programming language like C, or a glue language like Perl.  
I personally think Smalltalk is a great language for beginners,  
particularly the Squeak version, which is available for free for most  

Several reasons:
  - you will learn good habits
  - you will, by necessity, learn and object oriented approach
  - Squeak is a great learning tool, with excellent debugging tools
  - there are some great tutorials and tutorial-like Squeak books
  - there are dozens of general Smalltalk books available used on  
Amazon, for a few bucks each. And the people who write Smalltalk  
books tend to be very smart guys, who will put your feet on the right  
path. Some are a bit dated and are too oriented towards Smalltalk  
platforms that no longer exist, but many of the later ones are fine  
for learning the concepts... I have a whole shelf of Smalltalk books  
that I bought for a few bucks each.
  - they have a very helpful mailing list for beginners -  
beginners at It's a small list, very  
intimate, few posers, mainly people who genuinely want to help.

I'd give myself a good 6 months to a year to learn the basics... you  
can't rush the first step.

Once you get the basic idea behind objects, you might want to branch  
out into Ruby, another great object oriented language. All the  
concept you learned from Smalltalk will carry right over, and since  
many Ruby folk are coming from the procedural world (and really don't  
get objects), you will have a leg up on them.

And Ruby will set you up for using Rails, which is an ideal platform  
for deploying web applications, which will allow you to make your  
economic simulations available to anyone on the net.

Just my two cents.

Brgds: John

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