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Learning a New Programming Language Part 1: Getting Started
By: Chris Root
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    Table of Contents:
  • Learning a New Programming Language Part 1: Getting Started
  • Your Motivation
  • Tools of the Trade
  • What is a Programming Language?
  • Interpreted vs. Compiled

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    Learning a New Programming Language Part 1: Getting Started - Tools of the Trade

    (Page 3 of 5 )

    There are over one hundred programming languages (145 by one count). The inventors of these languages all had reasons for developing them, and many times that focus shows up in the language.

    Some languages were meant to address what the author considered shortcomings in languages that they had had to deal with in the past. Others were created to demonstrate and make use of new concepts, others were designed with specific hardware or implementation in mind, and still others no doubt were conceived merely because sometimes it's just cool to make stuff and see how it works.

    Over time, many of these languages grow out of any limited scope they may have had when first introduced, but they still have a personality all their own.

    Just as the way you like to learn dictates what you do to learn, how you like to work will dictate in part what tools you use to get that work done. This may seem obvious to you, but with so many choices and differing requirements, keeping this in mind turns out to be quite important.

    Of course what you learn for work and what you learn for your own satisfaction may be two different things. Depending on what area of development you work (or wish to work) in and the services the company you work for provides, some of the decisions have already been made for you.

    Consider, however, that as a company grows, their need for new technology grows. If you learn a skill that later becomes an asset to them, not only will it benefit you financially, but it will give you more of a chance to work with that technology. To put it simply, more stuff to play with!

    This is particularly true of companies that provide software design for others. For instance if your company does ASP development, but a big client wants Cold Fusion, it's likely you would try to provide it for them.

    Cold Fusion isn't hard to learn. The scripting part of CF (CFScript) is ECMA Script based, which is what the core of Javascript is based on. The rest is a tag based language that is not much harder to learn than HTML markup. CF also provides a method for extending its capabilities by using extensions compiled in Java or C++, but this is an advanced feature that isn't necessary to know in order to do projects in CF.

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