Three wishes of a wannabe developer

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Sat Feb 9 16:53:11 UTC 2008

On Sat, Feb 09, 2008 at 11:01:53AM -0500, John Almberg wrote:

> 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  
> platforms.
> 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

Sounds like the main arguments that used to be made for learning Pascal.

Might be good, but not subscribed to by very many.


>  - 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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