How to choose a programming language

Ruby under lens

I’m pretty sure I always knew that ‘C’ was some kind of programming language. I didn’t really do any computing classes at school other than what was obligatory in the 1st year, but I suspect I must have been told about ‘C’ then. I also had some suspicion that it must, therefore, be really old and hence not used anymore.

When I was working along side a programmer a couple of years ago, he did everything in ‘Perl’. My layman’s interpretation of Perl, was that of a badass language for real hardcore programmers. Wishy-washy rubbish programmers who wanted to make crap insecure code, would use PHP. There is no reason for this anti-PHP stance really, but I can’t get it out of my head. It just sounds too…easy.

I do remember him saying one day, “I really like the sound of this ‘Rubionrails‘”. Of course he was talking about “Ruby on Rails” but I heard it as “Rubionrails” – one word instead of three. (I think this must have been in 2006, when Ruby on Rails was really talking off – I’ve been reading up about Ruby history and how Rails really gave it the mainstream attention).

The name kind of stuck with me. “Ruby on Rails” sounded new, shiny sexy and exciting.

So when it came to choosing a programming language to learn from scratch, it was only natural that I should choose Ruby. To be honest, after some reading around about various languages it seemed to me that Ruby really is the best language for a beginner to learn.

I’ve read that learning Ruby is like learning to play the guitar: it’s easy to pick-up but difficult to master. That’s fine by me. I’m not planning on becoming a master, but good enough to busk would be nice!

So in a nutshell, I chose Ruby to learn because I like the sound of the words “Ruby on Rails”. Wonder if they knew how cool it would sound to noobs like me when they named it?

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5 Responses to “How to choose a programming language”

  1. An alternative way to choose a language « From Noob to Ninja Programmer Says:

    […] Wrong Ways and 1 Awesome Way to Choose a Language“. After having just written my own “How to choose a programming language” blog post I felt confident that this chap would cite “because it sounds sexy” as […]

  2. John Says:

    Looks like great info)))) Add to bookmarks. Thanks.
    Ruby is power!!!

  3. Goobernutz Says:

    I agree with your basic premise but am opposed to some of your choices. I agree, C is “Computer programming” full stop. And PHP reminds me of two fat people fighting over a piece of cake. Speaking of which Cake is an AWFUL name for a bit of software.

    Perl and Ruby always sounded kind of gay to me. NTTAWWT.

    And Python, since I knew a bit about the origins of the name, thought it was one those esoteric languages like BF or LOLCODE, so I never bothered to investigate any further. But luckily I did one day and found myself in love with a badass language with a badass name. And a couple o snakes for a logo! Too cool.

  4. Curt Says:

    Oy, I am reading this you know! 😉 Seriously though, there are many _many_ reasons to avoid PHP for anything you might have to support for a living. Perl isn’t ‘hardcore’ it can just be a bit obtuse, but it happed to be what I started with. For a beginner I would always recommend Ruby or Python over Perl, and almost anything over php

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