Thursday, September 25, 2008

Making up for lost time.

I've gone a month since the last time I posted here, and this is the third post tonight. It's Feast or Famine!

Last June I decided I wanted to learn C++, in order to port a software app to my smartphone. As expected, I never really followed-through, and the project went nowhere.

For the last couple of weeks things have been frighteningly slow at my job, so instead of spending my days reading Slashdot and waiting for the phone to ring, I decided to try and learn C#. (Why C#? It's what my company is beginning to use for development, and they are in need of C# programmers.)

I started with a short, slick book called 'Microsoft® Visual C#® 2005 Express Edition: Build a Program Now!'. I'd purchased the book months ago, primarily because it was $5, so I had it handy. The book was useful to teach how to use the Visual Studio 2005 software, but it didn't really teach the C# language at all, so by the end of the book I'd written several neat little programs by following the steps in the book, but still didn't know C# at all.

After I'd finished that book last Friday, I went to Borders and bought 'Head First C#'. This book is excellent! It's actually fun to read. (Really!) The book is entertaining, interesting, and informative. It's well-suited to a beginner like me. I assume that an experienced programmer woould be frustrated by the lack of depth, but for anyone trying to learn programming from scratch, I can't recommend this book enough.

I'm on page 89, and several times so far I've found a bit that was so funny I had to recite the text to Jessica. And, she actually found the bits funny too!

The authors host an online forum for readers of the book as well. The discussions on the forum discuss exercises in the book and clarify things for confused readers. There are listings of corrections for early printings. People can post questions and get answers from other forum members. People can upload their own programs for others to download and review.

The whole thing is a lot of fun.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll pursue this to a conclusion, and actually learn something...

PS: There was nowhere above to really fit this in, but Visual Studio is a very neat program. It's always fun to bash Microsoft, but I've now played around with both Visual Studio 2005, and Visual Studio 2008, and VS is just an excellent program. The intelligence this program contains is remarkable. It just blows me away.

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