"Simple" Languages in FreeBSD

Garance A Drosehn drosih at rpi.edu
Fri Jul 1 19:39:01 UTC 2016

On 1 Jul 2016, at 14:22, Allen wrote:
> Before I respond too much, I wanted to say thanks to everyone that took
> the time to reply, again, thank you. Any input is appreciated.
> OK, the reason I'm thinking now is a better time, quite simply, I'm 33
> years old now, and I've wanted to learn Coding in some way for a very
> long time, and before recently, I really Honestly think that a part of
> the reason I never learned, is that all through school, I always did
> terrible in Math.

I've programmed in many languages over the years.  I think any one of
Perl, Python or Ruby would be fine.  The main issue would be your
introduction to whatever language you pick.

In the case of Ruby, this book might be of interest:


I'm sure there are similarly good introduction books which are based
on the other two languages.  I work more with Ruby (and Crystal) than
the other two, so I tend to know more about Ruby-related options.

Another nice thing is to get used to typing in short code snippets
to figure out some detail in the language.  In the case of ruby,
you'd use the unix command 'irb' (for "interactive Ruby"), and then
you can just type in a few lines of ruby to see what the language
does with them.  With python you can do almost the same thing by simply
typing 'python' without any input files, and then typing in commands.
(and I expect there are better options that than).  AFAIK, perl does
not come with one of these interactive coding tools, but certainly
they're easy enough to come across, such as this one:


The generic term for these convenient interactive interfaces is a
"REPL", which stays for "Read-Execute-Print-Loop".  They can be
very helpful when learning a new language.

Personally I'm also interested in the new language of Swift, but
Swift is still evolving pretty rapidly, so it's probably not a good
language to jump into right now.  (or at least, not if you're learning
to program on FreeBSD.  Swift and Swift "playgrounds" would be much
more interesting if you were learning to program on macOS!).

Others have mentioned 'sh' and 'bash', and certainly I do a lot with
both of those.  If you do want to write scripts in these shells, you
might get some benefit out of:


This is not a full-fledged REPL, because it doesn't execute any of
your shell code.  But it does analyze the code to look for comment
causes of errors.  You can also install the shellcheck command on
your own computer if you don't want to go to the web site.

It looks like there are web-based REPL's for several languages available


but I just came across that while googling right now, and have never
used any of the REPL's which are there.

Garance Alistair Drosehn                =     drosih at rpi.edu
Senior Systems Programmer               or   gad at FreeBSD.org
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;             Troy, NY;  USA

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