1. Post #1
    SourBree's Avatar
    June 2010
    239 Posts
    I'm looking into programming because it is something I have always wanted to do but have never had the time to do. Now I have time and it seems like Python is where I am starting. I have heard a lot of people argue what people should begin on, some people say C#, C++, Java, Perl, Ruby etc etc etc. So essentially I am asking, will I regret using Python when I want to start using other languages? And what is the best Python tutorial to read for a beginner like myself?

    EDITS:
    I'd be willing to buy a book too if anyone knows one that is better than most online ones.

    Might as well ask some questions while I'm here. Is C a obsolete language now? I know people still use C#, C++, Java, Python etc but I heard someone mention C and I'm curious if its just useless now. Also, are there any big restrictions Python will limit me to that I should know about?

    I've heard Visual Basic brought up when it comes to beginning too, but I have also heard it isn't the most useful language when someone wants to start doing more advanced things. Is this true?
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  2. Post #2
    Fox-Face's Avatar
    June 2008
    244 Posts
    Not really, Python is great for beginners and will teach all the basics and even some advanced concepts. Once you are comfortable with it, you can move on to compiled language, but there is nothing stopping you from starting with C#, C++, Java or anything else.
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  3. Post #3
    SourBree's Avatar
    June 2010
    239 Posts
    Not really, Python is great for beginners and will teach all the basics and even some advanced concepts. Once you are comfortable with it, you can move on to compiled language, but there is nothing stopping you from starting with C#, C++, Java or anything else.
    What stops me from using them is that I've heard they are more difficult to get into and I would like to start small with something friendlier before using the more difficult languages (I could just have bad sources though).

  4. Post #4
    Fox-Face's Avatar
    June 2008
    244 Posts
    The language itself is not harder than another, every language has it's pros and cons, Python is easy, but so is C# and Java. C++ is a little bit tricker because you have to take care of memory management, for example. But they all use the same concepts and once you learn one it should be easy to move onto another. It all comes down to preference.

  5. Post #5
    SourBree's Avatar
    June 2010
    239 Posts
    A language is not harder than another, every language has it's pros and cons, Python is easy, but so is C# and Java. C++ is a little bit tricker because you have to take care of memory management, for example. But they all use the same concepts and once you learn one it should be easy to move onto another. It all comes down to preference.
    Ok, I'm going to mess around with Python but if it isn't working out I will definitely look into C#, Java, and C++.

    Something I've been wondering is, do the C languages have anything in common? I mean like is one the successor of the other? Or is there no relation?

  6. Post #6
    Fox-Face's Avatar
    June 2008
    244 Posts
    They share the same syntax type. C++ is supposed to be the successor of C IIRC, but C# and Java (Java is a C style language, btw) only share the syntax.

  7. Post #7
    SourBree's Avatar
    June 2010
    239 Posts
    They share the same syntax type. C++ is supposed to be the successor of C IIRC, but C# and Java (Java is a C style language, btw) only share the syntax.
    Ok.

    I found a Python tutorial called Dive Into Python but it came out in 2004 and since than a lot has changed, like this ActivePython program is now a thousand dollars and Python 3 has since been released. Does anyone know any recent Python tutorials for super n00bs like myself?

    EDIT:
    Nevermind, ActivePython still has a free version.

  8. Post #8
    Fox-Face's Avatar
    June 2008
    244 Posts
    http://learnpythonthehardway.org/index

    That's what most people recommend, I'm not sure if it teaches Python 2 or 3 tho.
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  9. Post #9
    SourBree's Avatar
    June 2010
    239 Posts
    http://learnpythonthehardway.org/index

    That's what most people recommend, I'm not sure if it teaches Python 2 or 3 tho.
    Thanks.

  10. Post #10
    q3k
    Gold Member
    q3k's Avatar
    October 2009
    921 Posts
    http://learnpythonthehardway.org/index

    That's what most people recommend, I'm not sure if it teaches Python 2 or 3 tho.
    Python 2. But learning 3 afterwards isn't that hard.

  11. Post #11
    Gold Member
    TheBoff's Avatar
    September 2006
    660 Posts
    Plus 3 isn't really used for very much, as there aren't a huge number of libraries that support it.

    I would also say that you're doing the right thing by starting with python: it's where I started, and not only is it powerful, it's syntactically very clean and sensible, and it's actually useful for a whole bunch of stuff.

    I would recommend learning Python first, then moving on to C#, and then learning C++, as they ascend in complexity in that order.
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  12. Post #12
    Ask me about my .gif fetish
    st0rmforce's Avatar
    February 2008
    3,594 Posts
    Is C a obsolete language now? I know people still use C#, C++, Java, Python etc but I heard someone mention C and I'm curious if its just useless now.
    How fucking dare you

    The answer is, no it's not obsolete, but nobody's used it for games for decades. It's mainly used for drivers and embedded applications. It's highly likely that your TV, printer, router, audio equipment and...other things like that, run applications written in C.

    At work, I've recently been working with a couple of TV platforms that don't have a C++ compiler, so there's not a lot of choice for us.

    "C isn't dead, it's always smelt like that."
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  13. Post #13
    Ed Miliband's Avatar
    April 2011
    62 Posts
    How fucking dare you
    Calm the fuck down...
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  14. Post #14
    Gold Member
    Ortzinator's Avatar
    May 2005
    1,647 Posts
    How fucking dare you
    I assume you're joking but come on.

  15. Post #15
    dajoh's Avatar
    March 2011
    625 Posts
    What's with everybody bashing on memory management?
    Seriously, it's not hard at all, you just have to free stuff you allocate.

    :bang:
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  16. Post #16
    bootv2's Avatar
    August 2010
    2,838 Posts
    What's with everybody bashing on memory management?
    Seriously, it's not hard at all, you just have to free stuff you allocate.

    :bang:
    it isn't something you should start on with programming, beginning with it it can be quite hard, but once you get the hang of it it's a piece of cake.

  17. Post #17
    www.bff-hab.de
    Dennab
    February 2009
    7,832 Posts
    You could of course start with lua in lve2 ( www.love2d.org ). It's pretty easy to get into and achieves you great results really quick. That way you can learn the basic concepts of programming without having to worry about anything.
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  18. Post #18
    Ask me about my .gif fetish
    st0rmforce's Avatar
    February 2008
    3,594 Posts
    Yes I was joking. It seemed to me, that there were too many people being nice in this thread.
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  19. Post #19
    Gold Member
    TheBoff's Avatar
    September 2006
    660 Posts
    What's with everybody bashing on memory management?
    Seriously, it's not hard at all, you just have to free stuff you allocate.

    :bang:
    I know it's not too hard. But then again, if you go from an extended period of programming in C(++)? to programming in Java/Python, it just feels surreal that you don't have to pay attention to stuff.

    There is also the downside that if you forget just once in the wrong place, your simple program ends up consuming 500MB of RAM, and you've got no idea.

    The thought process behind programming is confusing enough to begin with: learning how the computer "thinks". I think it's better that people learn the abstractions and thought processes required to program before they start on the nitty gritty like managing memory.

    Then again, when you've got that stuff down, I think it's definitely worth learning an assembler to learn what's actually going on on the metal, and a functional language (eg Haskell) for the change in thinking it brings. Being able to solve problems recursively is really useful even in imperative languages, I think.
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  20. Post #20
    Ask me about my .gif fetish
    st0rmforce's Avatar
    February 2008
    3,594 Posts
    Really you should only use a particular language if you have reason to do so. In an ideal world, you would list out the pros and cons of a number of languages and use the one that would be best for your project.
    With C, the cons outweigh the pros for games programming and there are too many other languages that are better suited. But in embedded systems, the cons are negligible and other languages are not a lot better. It also has the advantage of being incredibly portable. C is generally regarded as the least-poor choice for embedded programming.

    When you're learning, you are looking for something that is: widely used with vast amounts of examples available, well documented, supports a wide number of concepts used by other languages, isn't horrendous to code and I would suggest not one that has loads of very specific constructs that you won't find anywhere else.
    For example, personally I don't think Lua is a good beginner's language. It's a good language, but when you really get into it, it has a large amount of ingenious little things that you won't find in any other language.
    I'd prefer to recommend python, as it is a little more C-like than Lua.

  21. Post #21
    Gold Member

    March 2005
    3,028 Posts
    With C, the cons outweigh the pros for games programming and there are too many other languages that are better suited.
    I'm not so sure about that, but I was never really sold on the usefulness of C++ objects over ordinary C structs and functions.
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  22. Post #22
    Nextil's Avatar
    April 2007
    731 Posts
    I'm far from the first to say it, but I don't think it really matters. I spent way too much time before I started programming just looking at languages, asking which I should start with, etc, etc, etc, and ended up jumping into C#. Buy a book and start reading. After a few days (literally a few days), if you're smart, the concepts should just click. Nearly all modern programming languages use the same mechanics, semantics, structure, whatever you want to call it. What differs between languages is syntax and program style. If you like the look of a language, you can pick the syntax up in a couple weeks. What does take time is learning to program well (I'm not one to talk about this, I've only got 8 months experience).

    Python's good. It has a large community and strong support, a clean syntax and good documentation. Personally, I prefer Ruby. The syntax is sexy, there's a great selection of web frameworks for it, and the community is friendly as fuck. It looks like you've gone with Python, and that's great, but if you find that you don't like it, take a look at Ruby. And while you're at it, do yourself a favour and read Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby (and listen to the soundtrack while you're at it. Yes, you heard me, the soundtrack.)

    A couple quick notes though, interpreted languages are by nature, pretty slow, especially Ruby (although this has improved somewhat with version 1.9). You won't notice this however unless you're writing intensive 3D or real-time applications. And don't start by learning something obscure like LISP, COBOL, Erlang or Fortran. By all means try them, but please, after you've learnt a modern syntax.

    Edited:

    I should mention, when I say the concepts between languages are the mostly the same - the last two posts brought up C. Pretty much every language post-C uses a style called OOP (Object-Oriented Programming), but C remains very popular. People who don't like OOP, or those who like speed write in C. I've never touched C or any non-OOP languages, but I don't see OOP as anything but a good thing. When you have a large project, I'm sure it reduces the occurrence of migraines quite substantially.
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  23. Post #23
    SourBree's Avatar
    June 2010
    239 Posts
    Python's good. It has a large community and strong support, a clean syntax and good documentation. Personally, I prefer Ruby. The syntax is sexy, there's a great selection of web frameworks for it, and the community is friendly as fuck. It looks like you've gone with Python, and that's great, but if you find that you don't like it, take a look at Ruby. And while you're at it, do yourself a favour and read Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby (and listen to the soundtrack while you're at it. Yes, you heard me, the soundtrack.)

    A couple quick notes though, interpreted languages are by nature, pretty slow, especially Ruby (although this has improved somewhat with version 1.9). You won't notice this however unless you're writing intensive 3D or real-time applications. And don't start by learning something obscure like LISP, COBOL, Erlang or Fortran. By all means try them, but please, after you've learnt a modern syntax.
    As far as Ruby goes I will definitely look into it should Python not click (I've also heard Perl is an interesting one).
    I have no plans of making any intense 3d applications with Python, or with anything for that matter for a long long time probably. So for now it should be OK.

    Some Python questions. Is it worth using Python 3 at all? I have heard that the program to use when making games with Python is Pygame and it uses Python 2 (some old Python 2 I think). What exactly does Pygame do? Will I be forced to do much harder things should I not use it? And finally, what exactly is a "library"? I'm sorry for all the n00b questions btw.

    EDIT: Also, what exactly does ActivePython do? And does it use Python 2 or 3?

  24. Post #24
    SK17a
    garychencool's Avatar
    October 2010
    13,645 Posts
    you can always watch tutorials such as the one from www.youtube.com/TheNewBoston.

    this guy has A LOT of tuts on several languages too.
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  25. Post #25
    SourBree's Avatar
    June 2010
    239 Posts
    I just encountered my first problem, I'm sure I just fucked something small up. I've been reading Dive Into Python 3 and it tells me to use the Python command line to call on a example script. I'm supposed to type
    "C:\*LOCATION OF SCRIPT FOLDER*> C:\python32\python.exe humansize.py" but when I do this I get a syntax error. What am I fucking up?

    EDIT: I should mention that I don't believe it is an issue with the script as it puts a ^ under the first colon.

  26. Post #26
    Der Führer
    Quark:'s Avatar
    January 2011
    4,083 Posts
    Short answer: No
    Longer answer: No.

  27. Post #27
    Gold Member

    March 2005
    3,028 Posts
    It looks like you've gone with Python, and that's great, but if you find that you don't like it, take a look at Ruby.
    "If you don't like that big fancy interpreted duck-typed language, try out this other big fancy interpreted duck-typed language that was heavily influenced by the language you didn't like"
    I should mention, when I say the concepts between languages are the mostly the same - the last two posts brought up C. Pretty much every language post-C uses a style called OOP (Object-Oriented Programming), but C remains very popular. People who don't like OOP, or those who like speed write in C. I've never touched C or any non-OOP languages, but I don't see OOP as anything but a good thing. When you have a large project, I'm sure it reduces the occurrence of migraines quite substantially.
    Contrary to popular belief, there's really not a huge difference between OOP and non-OOP code.

    C++
    class Box {
      private:
        double x, y, w, h;
      public:
        Box(double, double, double, double);
    }
    Box::Box(new_x, new_y, new_w, new_h) {
      x = new_x;
      y = new_y;
      w = new_w;
      h = new_h;
    }
    
    /* Usage: */
    Box box = new Box(x, y, w, h);
    

    C:
    typedef struct box {
      double x, y, w, h;
    } box_t;
    void box_init(box_t* box, double x, double y, double w, double h) {
      box->x = x;
      box->y = y;
      box->w = w;
      box->h = h;
    }
    
    /* Usage: */
    box_t b;
    box_init(&b, x, y, w, h);
    

    And if you want inheritance in C:
    #define BOX_FIELDS \
      double x, y, w, h;
    typedef struct box {
      BOX_FIELDS
    } box_t;
    void box_init(box_t* box, double x, double y, double w, double h) {
      box->x = x;
      box->y = y;
      box->w = w;
      box->h = h;
    }
    void box_move(box_t* move, double x, double y) {
      box->x = x;
      box->y = y;
    }
    
    typedef struct textbox {
      BOX_FIELDS
      char* str;
    } textbox_t;
    void textbox_init(textbox_t* box, double x, double y, double w, double h, char* str) {
      box_init((box_t*)box, x, y, w, h);
      box->str = str;
    }
    
    /* Usage: */
    textbox_t tbox;
    textbox_init(&tbox, x, y, w, h, str);
    box_move((box_t*)tbox, new_x, new_y);
    

    Edited:

    I just encountered my first problem, I'm sure I just fucked something small up. I've been reading Dive Into Python 3 and it tells me to use the Python command line to call on a example script. I'm supposed to type
    "C:\*LOCATION OF SCRIPT FOLDER*> C:\python32\python.exe humansize.py" but when I do this I get a syntax error. What am I fucking up?

    EDIT: I should mention that I don't believe it is an issue with the script as it puts a ^ under the first colon.
    Try using IDLE instead??

  28. Post #28
    Gold Member
    jA_cOp's Avatar
    May 2006
    2,685 Posts
    Initializing the box in the C++ snippet is not equivalent to the C snippet (it also has a couple of minor errors). The C++ equivalent would be:
    Box box(x, y, w, h);
    

    I don't think doing "inheritance" in the way you suggested is a good idea. You can drop the macros and just change textbox_t to this:
    typedef struct textbox {
      box_t base; // pointer to a textbox_t is now also a pointer to a box_t
      char* str;
    } textbox_t;
    void textbox_init(textbox_t* box, double x, double y, double w, double h, char* str) {
      box_init((box_t*)box, x, y, w, h); // still works the same
      box->str = str;
    }
    You would have to qualify access to base members, but at least you wouldn't fall into the trap of box_t and textbox_t not being directly related.

    But one of the main points to inheritance is having virtual functions (dynamic dispatch). Your C example does not cover this; it's basically glorified composition. You can do dynamic dispatch in C too, but it's more tedious than virtual functions.
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  29. Post #29
    Nextil's Avatar
    April 2007
    731 Posts
    "If you don't like that big fancy interpreted duck-typed language, try out this other big fancy interpreted duck-typed language that's way sexier."
    Fixed that for you.

    As far as Ruby goes I will definitely look into it should Python not click (I've also heard Perl is an interesting one).
    I have no plans of making any intense 3d applications with Python, or with anything for that matter for a long long time probably. So for now it should be OK.

    Some Python questions. Is it worth using Python 3 at all? I have heard that the program to use when making games with Python is Pygame and it uses Python 2 (some old Python 2 I think). What exactly does Pygame do? Will I be forced to do much harder things should I not use it? And finally, what exactly is a "library"? I'm sorry for all the n00b questions btw.

    EDIT: Also, what exactly does ActivePython do? And does it use Python 2 or 3?
    At the moment, Python 3 isn't widely supported because it is new. I know with Ruby there is something called RVM (Ruby Version Manager) which allows you to easily switch between Ruby versions, and I'm sure there is an equivalent for Python. Python 3 has many improvements, but it is backwards-incompatible in some regards. The tutorials/books you read will probably mention deprecated features. If you have something like RVM, you could use 3 most of the time and switch if you need to.

    A library is a collection of classes. Essentially they are a collection of code, written for a specific purpose, e.g. graphics, audio, networking, or for extending or interacting with a specific website or application (sometimes called an API). They make your life easier.

    I just encountered my first problem, I'm sure I just fucked something small up. I've been reading Dive Into Python 3 and it tells me to use the Python command line to call on a example script. I'm supposed to type
    "C:\*LOCATION OF SCRIPT FOLDER*> C:\python32\python.exe humansize.py" but when I do this I get a syntax error. What am I fucking up?

    EDIT: I should mention that I don't believe it is an issue with the script as it puts a ^ under the first colon.
    I think what you're doing there is trying to run a cmd/bash command in the Python interactive shell. It's probably trying to say, cd to the location of the script, then type "C:\python32\python.exe humansize.py". If you want to use another script inside of a Python script, you probably use "include 'scripthere'" or something.

    Edited:

    By the way, to make it easier for you, if you can't use this command already "python humansize.py" (without the C:\python32\), put this line into a cmd.exe terminal (without the brackets):

    path = %PATH%;(put path to folder where python.exe is kept here)

    The path variable allows you to specify folders for cmd to look for when you type a command. If it finds an executable with the same name as the command you typed, it will use it without you having to type the entire path. Don't add to much to this however, because it can lead to conflicts. If you start installing things like Cygwin, MinGW, Bit Bash, etc, you'll have to make sure that the one you want to use comes first in the path variable (you can view and edit it in a settings pannel somewhere, but I'm in Linux at the moment so I can't find it for you).
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  30. Post #30
    SourBree's Avatar
    June 2010
    239 Posts
    I think what you're doing there is trying to run a cmd/bash command in the Python interactive shell. It's probably trying to say, cd to the location of the script, then type "C:\python32\python.exe humansize.py". If you want to use another script inside of a Python script, you probably use "include 'scripthere'" or something.
    I think there is some command I am missing, I tried cd-ing to the location but that gives my another syntax error (on the letter C for my drive). I put the script in the Python folder and just typed "C:\Python32\python.exe humansize.py" but I got yet another syntax error on the colon.
    I must be missing something small.

  31. Post #31
    Nextil's Avatar
    April 2007
    731 Posts
    I think there is some command I am missing, I tried cd-ing to the location but that gives my another syntax error (on the letter C for my drive). I put the script in the Python folder and just typed "C:\Python32\python.exe humansize.py" but I got yet another syntax error on the colon.
    I must be missing something small.
    Sorry, but it still sounds like you're trying to run a script from within the Python shell. That's not what the shell is for. The Python shell is a direct interface with the Python interpreter. You could put every line of a program in there and it would run as it would if you sent it to python.exe. By the looks of it, you're just trying to run an existing script. For that, you don't go into the Python shell. You either click on the script (if python.exe is set as the default action for .py files), or you open cmd.exe, cd to the location of the script then type "python *scriptname*".
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  32. Post #32
    SourBree's Avatar
    June 2010
    239 Posts
    Sorry, but it still sounds like you're trying to run a script from within the Python shell. That's not what the shell is for. The Python shell is a direct interface with the Python interpreter. You could put every line of a program in there and it would run as it would if you sent it to python.exe. By the looks of it, you're just trying to run an existing script. For that, you don't go into the Python shell. You either click on the script (if python.exe is set as the default action for .py files), or you open cmd.exe, cd to the location of the script then type "python *scriptname*".
    You're right, can't believe I didn't think of that. My mistake, now on to actually trying stuff out!

  33. Post #33
    SK17a
    garychencool's Avatar
    October 2010
    13,645 Posts
    Just code.
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  34. Post #34
    mutated's Avatar
    October 2010
    1,533 Posts
    A bit late to the party, but I started in Python and moved to Java primarily - it's a comfort thing, and I don't have a lot of free time for programming. You've made a perfectly respectable choice.

  35. Post #35
    Gold Member
    Lord Fear's Avatar
    April 2006
    1,058 Posts
    I started with C# (And some Java, it's almost identical to C#), moved to C++.
    I'm now taking a class in college were we do plugins for Maya in Python and I hate the language with a passion (no offense, this is my opinion). It's really annoying to work with and I have a hard time seeing what belongs to what.

    So I would personally recommend starting with C# instead if you want to get into programming. VB.net maybe, but it's the same as Python in my opinion.
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  36. Post #36
    Gold Member

    March 2005
    3,028 Posts
    VB.net maybe, but it's the same as Python in my opinion.
    No.
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  37. Post #37
    Gold Member
    Jallen's Avatar
    December 2007
    7,567 Posts
    Calm the fuck down...
    Can't believe I'm agreeing with Ed Miliband.


    Also Python is fine as a first language, but my recommendation is C#
    - It has .NET which makes a lot of complex stuff easy and fun
    - It has C style syntax so using C++, Java, C, Javascript etc. is very easy
    - It's very well documented and very popular / known about in communities, such as here on FP
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  38. Post #38
    Gold Member
    Lord Fear's Avatar
    April 2006
    1,058 Posts
    I mean they have somewhat similar syntax (no brackets, no semi-colon etc). Not that they work same way.

    I also dislike VB.net as much as I dislike Python. But these is my opinions, I'm not trying to state any facts.
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  39. Post #39
    SourBree's Avatar
    June 2010
    239 Posts
    Can't believe I'm agreeing with Ed Miliband.


    Also Python is fine as a first language, but my recommendation is C#
    - It has .NET which makes a lot of complex stuff easy and fun
    - It has C style syntax so using C++, Java, C, Javascript etc. is very easy
    - It's very well documented and very popular / known about in communities, such as here on FP
    I'll keep that in mind should Python not work out. Just out of curiousity, how easy is it to go from C# to Java? Or vice-versa?

    I read a fair amount of the Dive Into Python 3 tutorial/book yesterday (I'm around page 80) and I intend to read much more today, haven't had any roadblocks so far (minus some dumb mistakes I made). I'm still in the super duper easy category, in fact I just finished reading about sets, lists, dictionaries etc etc. It seems like Python will be OK for me so far, but again, I'm in the super duper easy category.

    A final question, what is Visual Basic useful for? I have never heard of pretty much anyone coding with it professionally.

  40. Post #40
    slashsnemesis's Avatar
    July 2009
    5,420 Posts
    How to think like a computer scientist is a pretty good tutorial for Python IMO.