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 Forum index » Off-Topic Area » Programming
what's a good programming skillset?
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Joined: 28 Sep 2009
Posts: 36
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sun 04 Oct 2009, 06:53    Post_subject:  what's a good programming skillset?
Sub_title: 64000 question

BTW I am writing this on my kbuntu 9.04 box Smile

I never got into programming at school. In fact I was put off programming for life by very crummy classes in basic.

But since late 2007 I have started getting into programming a lot. I am studying a cert of .NET through O'Reilly Media. It involves OOP, XML and C#.Net. I have also played around with a lot languages - getting some tutorials off the net and an IDE. I enjoy Prolog, Perl, Python, Ruby and even VHDL. I have never got into C++. I have tried C briefly with the Pelles IDE.

THere are rivers of ink on the net about "what language should I learn?" or "which one's the best?" But to me those are the wrong questions. Better is to ask "what group of languages should I learn to do what I want?" For instance I could try to put together a "web programming" skillset:

XML, HTML, CSS [obvious]
java [for any GUIs]

I don't say that's complete or the best. It's a start. I am a computational graphics designer [tongue in cheek] - I design stuff to look good and then I throw code into the mix Smile Seriously, who knows where the web is going. Is Ruby on rails a niche fad or a good alternative to php? Goodness knows. I could readily have substituted Qt for Java in the above web skillset. Qt also makes excellent GUIs. And what about javascript?

It is like trying to train a soccer team while only learning the size of the pitch and goals after your team's on the field. Yet you can't learn every language. THat would be madness.
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Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 814
Location: Uruguay, Mercedes

PostPosted: Sun 04 Oct 2009, 12:16    Post_subject:  


I am an absolute noob, don't take me seriously.

That said, I think that the web is under development, and wether ruby on rails is successful on the net depends of you (among others). If you start using it, you will help improve and promote it.

IMO, if you are attempting to gather some web development skills, you should look after the latest of the latest: AJAX. Java is... unconfortable... many people don't have it installed and won't install it.

With javascript and AJAX you can create quite good-looking functional GUIs. Don't be scared of JS, it's quite simple - and quite fun.

My personal mix of programming languages is:

PHP (very popular, with excelent documentation and many sample scripts)
And JS & AJAX.

They seem to be moving on, with the development of web apps such as Google docs... And i am really comfortable working with them.


What seems hard is actually easy, while what looks like impossible is in fact hard.

“Hard things take time to do. Impossible things take a little longer.” –Percy Cerutty

Mi blog (Spanish)
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Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 6270
Location: Knoxville, TN, USA

PostPosted: Sun 04 Oct 2009, 12:45    Post_subject:  

I never really used JavaScript seriously until this last summer. Turns out it's a really cool language. I wound up using SVG with embedded JavaScript (actually, ECMAscript) to make one of those rotating triangle color-choosers. It was pretty cool. IE has zero SVG support though, so losers using that "browser" got served a simple input form and colorized box that updated to match the hex code in the input.

I honestly never would have thought that I'd use linear algebra in web development. But I needed some vector math to deal with the rotating triangle stuff. Go figure.

Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. --Muad'Dib

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Joined: 04 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Oct 2009, 22:38    Post_subject:  

Yet you can't learn every language. THat would be madness.

Yes I can confirm this. It is a good plan Embarassed

I have looked at a great number of languages. I am not smart enough to get very far.

I know this. If you enjoy programming (and that comes through) - you will be successful with your choices.

Java is used extensively in your future career. It is the language of choice in many smart phones.

Ruby on rails - lot of talk but fewer real world applications than PHP. So mastering PHP would seem better than time devoted to a used less language. However you are enjoying Ruby. So all well and good.

As far as I am concerned you will and are succeeding because you enjoy experimenting. Eventually the language becomes less important as you understand the underlying principles (so I am told) Smile

Puppy WIKI
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Joined: 08 Jul 2006
Posts: 2291
Location: Winsted, CT - USA

PostPosted: Sun 04 Oct 2009, 23:46    Post_subject:  

First master English (ie - "skillset" isn't in the dictionary).
hangout: ##b0rked on irc.freenode.net
diversion: http://alienjeff.net - visit The Fringe
quote: "The foundation of authority is based upon the consent of the people." - Thomas Hooker

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Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 6698
Location: lisbon

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct 2009, 06:59    Post_subject:  

Long bow AJ...according to the online etymological dictionary:

neologism Look up neologism at Dictionary.com
    "practice of innovation in language," 1800, from Fr. néologisme, from neo- + logos "word." Meaning "new word or expression" is from 1803. Neological is attested from 1754.

So Chaucer probably would have never heard of alcohol, algebra, algorithm, shampoo, amok, boomerang & malapropism...so are they illegitimate words?
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Joined: 30 Aug 2007
Posts: 3614
Location: around the bend

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct 2009, 10:07    Post_subject:  

if you have these
XML, HTML, CSS [obvious]
you will also need JavaScript, there is a lot of JavaScript embedded in html and some people write php as if they are writing JavaScript so you need to now what they are on about. you also need knowledge of MySQL database manipulation to effectively use php.

leave out java for now, unless you have a concrete thing you are aiming at, flashplayer content is replacing a lot of web applications that were once javas domain.
oh yeah dont plan on getting a well paid job with this as it is all easily outsourced in the third world.


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Joined: 02 Jun 2009
Posts: 46
Location: Winter Park, FL

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct 2009, 13:11    Post_subject:  

Is it possible to have two or more separate sets of skills? I tend to think it is.

For web work I try to keep my skills up in XHTML, CSS, PHP, SQL, and (most recently and refreshingly) JavaScript.

For development I'm working on C, Perl, Python and have just discovered bash scripting.

I'm either rusty or a rookie in all except XHTML and CSS so this promises to be an exciting project/journey. Very Happy
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Joined: 29 May 2005
Posts: 3053
Location: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct 2009, 15:07    Post_subject:  

It really comes down to "what do you want to do with it"

From your description of yourself as a "computational graphics designer [tongue in cheek] - I design stuff to look good and then I throw code into the mix" there is a set of current "it" skills.

They are called grouped under the moniker "Web 2.0"

- Flash
- DHTML/Javascript
- Silverlight/Moonlight

For each one of those there are different toolsets.

Staying in the Free Software wagon I'd strongly recommend. OpenLaszlo. It is a mix of declarative XML with procedural JavaScript.

It can compile to either DHTML/Javascript or to Flash/swf.

If you pair it with other Free software such as Gimp and Blender you can create stunning applications for the web.

There are also some awesome Javascript libraries to achieve nice effects. My favorite is JQuery

I haven't tried Flex, it was opensourced (not in the dictionary either) recently so I haven't had a good look at it http://www.adobe.com/products/flex/

If you want to go the proprietary software route, then

C#/XAML/Silverlight but then you are limited to the number of platforms to deploy. Yes, I know that moonlight will maybe, one day, probably run native Silverlight applications, but until it works it is just wishful thinking.

At the basic level, all of them depend on a working knowledge of
- Object oriented architectures
- JavaScript

http://rarsa.blogspot.com Covering my eclectic thoughts
http://www.kwlug.org/blog/48 Covering my Linux How-to
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Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 5047
Location: Arizona, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct 2009, 22:00    Post_subject:  

I had great hope for Java, and I learned it quite quickly. However I realized that to use it effectively you had to be well versed in all of the Java "libraries". This I realized made for a long term steep learning curve to successfully use the language. VB was much easier to learn and use (by comparison). My friend is converting to Glade / Mono from VB / .NET
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Joined: 28 Sep 2009
Posts: 36
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Wed 07 Oct 2009, 05:03    Post_subject: ruby on rails!
Sub_title: rocks!

I just added ruby on rails to my skillset! Today I set up mysql and ruby/rubygems to a web localhost for web development. It wasn't easy to nut it out. But I managed it.
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