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Which language is best for a hobbyist?
passy 
14/8/08 10:42:11 AM
Initiate
Hello all,

I'm a late comer to the programming game and still very much a novice. Learning a computer language was always something I've been *meaning* to do but never got around to it until virtually by necessity.

I got truly sick and tired of processing chromatographic data in my new job (analytical chemist by trade), got jack of it and now have just about completed a small utility in Visual Basic 6.0 to process and generate a report. Will now do in a couple of seconds that normally takes about half an hour. When there's about ten of these jobs lined up its going to save a shit load of time.

Feeling pretty good about myself and have now got the bug and would like to learn more. As VB 6.0 is no longer supported by MS I would like to ask you learned types what language would be best to concentrate on. VB.NET? C++? I've had a look at python and have been impressed as well.

I have no ambitions of making it a career or anything (though you never know) but would appreciate your opinions/advice. I'm posting this at work (naughty naughty) so won't be able to respond until I get home.

Thanks in advance.




Edited by passy: 14/8/2008 10:44:18 AM

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kikz 
14/8/08 10:52:35 AM
Immortal

It sounds like you want a RAD language. Something you can use to quickly knock together a gui and perform some business tasks. I'd stick with VB.NET. It's easy and quick to use. It supports full OO, while still letting you mess things up good and proper if you want.

When I migrated from VB6 I went to C#. To my suprise, I've lately been coding more in VB.NET and I've never used VB.NET before. I'm actually enjoying it. Though, the stuff I'm doing in VB.NET is all wrapping COM objects (COM Interop), and it's so much easier to do it in VB.NEt than C#.

And there's the whole point. Pick the language that best suit what you want to do.

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Penniless_Prophet 
14/8/08 12:18:11 PM
Guru

yeah i don't think ur going to get quicker than C#/VB.NET for what you want do.

Python is great little langauge but I use it more for automatic processing of stuff which requires minimal/no input from me (think command-line applicaiton)

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superfireydave 
14/8/08 12:22:24 PM
Titan

As much as I hate to recommend VB.Net (just looking at the code hurts me >_<) Kikz is right in that it's probably the language that will be most useful and accessible to you - especially for what you're doing.

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Mreow?
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=9&t=17306

bolt_krank 
14/8/08 12:28:57 PM
Guru

I'm a Java person - and although it's not the best language - there's so much out there in the way of examples, and open source - I'm always using it out of preference.

However, based on what you're after - and even though it's a language I avoid myself, VB .NET and / or c# are probably appropriate.

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passy 
14/8/08 6:12:35 PM
Initiate
Thanks people, it seems that VB.NET is the way to go. Probably would have liked to go with an open source type thing like python but the GUI building stuff with visual studio is really cool for a programming ignoramous like myself. Most chemical intrumentation have their own objects, methods and the like in the acquistion software for advanced macro programming - really looking forward to getting my teeth into this.

Cheers!

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hetman 
14/8/08 11:14:53 PM
Hero
Titan


So let me be the first to break the trend and say... that'll really depend on which aspect of the coding you really want to sink your teeth into.

VB.NET is great for getting the GUI part of an app up quickly. But for me that's not really where the interesting action happens. If you want to focus on algorithms and structures in your code and do so rapidly then I would recommend a dynamic language.

Top of my list would be Ruby, Python and Erlang (although that last one you'll probably find furthest from what you would be used to with VB). I think Ruby gives you more rapidity and flexibility than Python when it comes to architecting your code. I still haven't had a chance to do any development in Erlang but it has a really interesting approach to programming and one that I understand lends itself very well to the science fiels.

There are also some great toolkits to help you develop GUI interfaces for these languages using a graphical environment (at least Ruby and Python, don't know enough about Erlang yet to comment). If you pick a base library such as wxWidgets your code will be portable across platforms too. None of these graphical aids can beat the .NET platform when it comes to graphical development but then you'll have to decide what to trade off. Good luck with it all :)


Edited by hetman: 14/8/2008 11:15:54 PM

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Wystarczy tego medrkowania.

Meeko 
15/8/08 7:54:29 AM
Titan

Assembly FTW.

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Blitz[VFF] 
15/8/08 7:54:41 AM
Immortal

Eiffel.

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Girvo 
15/8/08 7:38:17 PM
Immortal

Ruby, with Shoes and Rails. That's if you want to learn a whole host of different things, GUI development, Web Applications, etc.


It's a neat language :)

http://poignantguide.net/ruby/

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passy 
15/8/08 8:55:17 PM
Initiate
Cheers Girvo, though I am a bit worried about the "When you wish upon a beard" link. Watched too much Seinfeld I'm afraid...

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bixel 
16/8/08 10:44:40 AM
Serf
I wanted to love python soo much...I dearly caressed it and sometimes I load up some .py files for purely nostalgic reasons. But nothing got me more satisfied than loading up a game I am writing in Visual Studio C# 2005 + the XNA Developers Library addon. I can program a game get it running in an executable for PC or XBOX360 in just minutes!

Plus you get the easy documenation thingy abilty at your fingertips while working in the .Net environment.

what you need
Visual Studio C# 2005 Express (its free!)
XNA Developer's Kit
optional:
RPG Starter Kit

http://creators.xna.com/

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Sneaky 
21/8/08 11:57:58 AM
Learner
couldnt agree more. c# and xna is fantastic, if you want to make games.
otherwise just go vb .net, easy to pickup and massive amounts of information just a google away.

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freespace 
22/8/08 2:30:23 AM
Hero
Titan


Learn python, and understand GUIs are overrated, though sometimes required.

Also understand that with .NET you are at the mercy of Microsoft. But it looks like you are already at the mercy of Microsoft, so it might not matter so much.

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its f reespace damn it!

nicephotog-jvm.net 
22/8/08 11:05:53 AM
Master

PHP if you want a scripting language and are not about to use too
much time or analysis of IETF RFC documents.
PHP has loads of up to date modern add-in functionality.
But if you need a GUI , Learn Java2 , it has much the same add-in
functionality as PHP (tons more really), it also is cross platform
code only requiring a JRE and recompile on the platforms J2SDK.
Unlike C++ you do not require to commit memory allocation / management.

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passy 
23/8/08 12:44:11 AM
Initiate
Quote by freespace
Learn python, and understand GUIs are overrated, though sometimes required.

Also understand that with .NET you are at the mercy of Microsoft. But it looks like you are already at the mercy of Microsoft, so it might not matter so much.



I've always been at the mercy of Microsoft. Apart from a brief dalliance with OS/2 in the nineties every operating system I've had has been MS's. Might get into Linux at one stage but there are other priorities ATM.

Thanks for the replies everyone - I've Amazon'ed a book on VB 2008 and it will arrive in a couple of weeks. Can't wait, although will have to stop wasting my time browsing Atomic forums...



Edited by passy: 23/8/2008 12:44:48 AM

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Meeko 
23/8/08 2:50:24 PM
Titan

Why? I enjoy reading your posts. If you leave, I'll have to leave too.

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Vanne 
23/8/08 3:12:16 PM
Champion

amazed nobodys recommended XNA?

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superfireydave 
23/8/08 3:52:53 PM
Titan

Quote by Vanne
amazed nobodys recommended XNA?


For making applications? -_-
edit: XNA is great, but from what I've seen it fits the niche of games development using a framework for MS.
That's it.


Edited by superfireydave: 23/8/2008 03:53:33 PM

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Mreow?
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=9&t=17306

kikz 
23/8/08 4:12:38 PM
Immortal

XNA isn't a language...

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Q6600 | 4Gb PC6400 | 2 x 500Gb RAID 0 + 2 x 320 Gb RAID 0 | 19" Benq FP591 + 24" Samsung 245B + 19" Dell | 8800GTS 640 Mb + 8400GS 256 Mb | Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P | Antec P182 | Corsair HX-620 | Thermalright 120 Extreme | Vista x64

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