The Lie That Has Beguiled A Generation Of Developers
Richard Kenneth Eng

To the point and accurate, thanks Richard. It does also beg the question as to what language(s) are good for beginner programmers, especially really young kids; mine are 6 & 8 and both have an “interest” in programming (more because it’s what I do, but something I want to foster nonetheless).

So I appreciate my perspective is warped somewhat as when I started programming it BASIC > Pascal > C++/Assembly and “pre-web” where programmers were roasted in the fire pits of “just work it out yourself”… this was a different age of programming that I appreciate has long gone.

So I’ll open the question to you and others, what is the best language for ages 5–10, then maybe 10/14 and finally 15+?

My thoughts:

  • BASIC still has an excellent entry level language, but has been tainted with Visual Basic, perhaps another older implementation is a good start (I cut my teeth on ZX Spectrum Basic)
  • C++ is waaaaay too technical
  • C#/Java have too many abstract concepts in OO and I feel beginners need to focus on the basic control constructs (loops, conditions etc)
  • Javascript, well, yeah… you’ve summed that up well, but it does have the advantage of being ubiquitous and instantaeous feedback.
  • Python (I don’t know) seems to have some strange idiosyncrasies with whitespace controlling block scopes.
  • Others? Ruby
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