Welcome!

Python Authors: Matt Davis, Jyoti Bansal, Pat Romanski, Donald Meyer, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud, Machine Learning , Ruby-On-Rails, Perl, Python

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Choosing Your First Programming Language

Which is easiest, the most professionally useful, the most newbie-friendly?

By

Many new programmers struggle when it comes to selecting their first language to learn.  Which is easiest, the most professionally useful, the most newbie-friendly?  Lets find out by showing you a range of options, their strengths and weaknesses, and some information about the most common programming languages in demand today.  At the end, we’ll make some recommendations and you’ll understand a bit more about why they were chosen.

The Task At Hand
Every job requires the right kind of tool, and each programming language can be thought of as a separate tool.  Just like some tools are good for hammering nails, driving screws, and leveling screws, some programming languages are innately more suitable than others for tasks like designing a website, interpreting text, or reacting to user input.

Lets go through a few common use cases:

Language

Typical Usage

Java

Thick-client applications, large web apps, web applets, cross-platform

C# / .Net

Windows applications, iPhone apps

PHP

Web Application back-ends

Javascript

User interaction through web browser

Python

Science apps, computer admin tools, automating repetitive tasks quickly, can run on Linux and Windows (like java)

Ruby

Robust & Large web applications

Perl

Working with lots of text

Bash

Automating Linux Activities (like starting/stopping processes)

C/C++

Medium to Large projects, Embedded development, applications where speed is a factor

All of these languages can perform the same (or nearly the same) tasks as all the others, but the amount of effort can vary widely from language to language.  You’ll see that in some of the examples in the next section…

Detail-Oriented
All programming languages rely on structure to perform their tasks.  This structure is known as Syntax.  The syntax for English and Japanese are night and day, but the syntax for French and Spanish are very similar (if you remember your language classes from high school!).  The same applies to computer languages.  Lets look at some examples:

Java

C#

public class HelloWorld {
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println(“Hello, World”);
}
}

public class Hello1
{
public static void Main()
{
System.Console.WriteLine(“Hello, World!”);
}
}

vs

Perl

Python

#!/usr/bin/perl
print “Hello World.\n”;

#!/usr/bin/python

print “Hello World\n”

 

You can see that Perl and Python are nearly as identical to each other as Java and C# are!

programmingThis makes sense because many languages are modeled after one another.  By choosing a language that is syntactically similar to many other languages, you can practically learn multiple languages at once!

Hey, by the way, if you looked closely at those examples, you’ll notice some are simple, others are complex, and some require semicolons at the ends of lines while others don’t.  If you’re just getting started in programming, sometimes it’s best to choose languages without many syntactical (or logical) rules because it allows the language to “Get out of its own way”.  If you’ve tried one language and really struggled with it, try a simpler one!

Setup:

If you’ve seen your use case mentioned in the table above, or have decided on a language already, you’ll need a way to run it.  Generally, scripting languages require something called an Interpreter whereas C and C++ require compilers.  Almost all of the languages mentioned in this article (with the exception of C#) are easiest to set up with any flavor of Linux — it really doesn’t matter which kind.  C# is a special case because you need Visual Studio and Windows to use that.

PHP really requires a lot of work to set up in tandem with Apache/IIS, so we’ll save it for your own Googling or another article.  The languages and links below are the easiest to set up.

Language

Windows

Ubuntu Linux Console Command

Ruby

http://rubyinstaller.org/

apt-get install ruby

Python 2.7

http://www.activestate.com/activepython/downloads

apt-get install python

C#/.Net

http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/downloads#d-2012-express

N/A

Java

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html

http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/

apt-get install openjdk

C++

http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/downloads#d-2012-express

apt-get install build-essential gcc

 

You can see that things on Linux can be quite easy to set up, but of course requires some amount of familiarity with the operating system.  If you’re not scared to jump into Linux feet-first and take some time to Google your issues, I highly recommend that you use Linux.  Either way, you’ll be using the command line in order to debug your programs anyways.

Popularity Contest:
TIOBE.com
maintains a who’s-who popularity list for all the most popular computer programming languages.  It’s created by crawling various search engines and scraping the results.  You can view all of their charts and graphs at http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html

These are the top ten:

1

1

*

C

16.975%

-2.32%

A

2

2

*

Java

16.154%

-0.11%

A

3

4

*

C++

8.664%

-0.48%

A

4

3

*

Objective-C

8.561%

-1.21%

A

5

6

*

PHP

6.430%

+0.82%

A

6

5

*

C#

5.564%

-1.03%

A

7

7

*

(Visual) Basic

4.837%

-0.69%

A

8

8

*

Python

3.169%

-0.69%

A

9

11

*

JavaScript

2.015%

+0.69%

A

10

14

*

Transact-SQL

1.997%

+1.12%

A

So All This Information Is Nice But…
You need to make a decision, right.  Well, lets make a couple more charts and then get you started:

1. I’m a Windows User and I want to Get Into Programming
If you’re making something simple and want some experience that will translate into real-world usefulness, start with C#/.Net — setup is easy, the Visual Studio really helps you out, and there are plenty of resources to help you, including technet and MSDN directly from Microsoft!

Those languages aren’t as easy as Python, but Python isn’t going to help you out as much if you’re looking to make a simple graphical application.  That being said, if you just need a command-line utility, take a close look at Python.

2. I’m familiar with Linux and I want to make/automate something
Python.  Simple, fast, incredibly powerful, easy to use and experience with it translates fairly well into other languages.  Absolutely a must for beginners willing to get their feet wet with Linux.

3. I want to build a website
JavaScript and PHP — These languages require the most amount of know-how to set up (you have to install a webserver and make sure it’s configured to run PHP) but aren’t too complicated once you get that ball rolling.  PHP isn’t going to get you as much experience working with modern programming languages unless you use it in an Object-Oriented style though.

JavaScript is very useful to know and is easy to learn.  You’ll get a lot of use out of it, even without PHP.  In fact, you can make and run Javascript programs without any setup, right in your browser.

Just give me a Language!
Python.  It’s easy, already used by thousands, very extendable, doesn’t require as much attention to detail, and allows beginners to learn logic basics before going into object-oriented programming.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today's global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
SYS-CON Events announced today that A&I Solutions has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 1999, A&I Solutions is a leading information technology (IT) software and services provider focusing on best-in-class enterprise solutions. By partnering with industry leaders in technology, A&I assures customers high performance levels across all IT environments including: ma...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Systena America will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Systena Group has been in business for various software development and verification in Japan, US, ASEAN, and China by utilizing the knowledge we gained from all types of device development for various industries including smartphones (Android/iOS), wireless communication, security technology and IoT serv...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive ad...
Everywhere we turn in our industry we can find strong opinions about the direction, type and nature of cloud’s impact on computing and business. Another word that is used in every context in our industry is “hybrid.” In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Alvaro Gonzalez, Director of Technical, Partner and Field Marketing at Peak 10, will use a combination of a few conceptual props and some research recently commissioned by Peak 10 to offer a real-world consideration of how the various categories of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...