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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:20 am

whm1974 wrote:
I've been rethinking this and now I'm wondering if I should start with C instead . Speaking of C, how hard is it for a beginner to learn C?

Depends on how "beginner" you are. If you have little or no prior coding experience and aren't sure where you want to go with this, I'd probably recommend something like Python as a better starting point, as you'll be able to produce interesting programs sooner. C is going to be more of a delayed gratification sort of thing. If you've already done some coding and have a basic grasp of software development principles, then yeah diving into C may be a reasonable next step.

Straight C (as opposed to C++) is not used as widely as in the past. It is still the language of choice for OS kernel/driver development and lightweight (resource constrained) embedded applications, but is being replaced by OOP languages like C++ (when performance is paramount), or Python and Java (which do not have as steep of a learning curve) for most new development.

These days, C tends to fill the role which assembly language had prior to, oh, around 1990 or so. When even a $1 microcontroller has enough resources to support a rudimentary C runtime environment, there really isn't much need for assembly language any more. I've heard C described as "high level assembly language", which may seem like an oxymoron on the surface, but has a kernel (heh) of truth to it. C lets you talk directly to the hardware, and provides only a thin layer of abstraction (which is easily bypassed).
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:37 am

whm1974 wrote:
I guess a good programmer should master more then one or two languages then?

Full stack web development needs many languages. In my division (Microsoft MVC5 applications), that means C#, MSSQL, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (including Bootstrap and AngularJS frameworks). In Linux it might be SQL, Java, and whatever the front end uses.

I'm caught up in a whirlwind of languages. I've had two courses on Java and two on web front-end HTML/CSS/Javascript, and one each of Visual Basic, C#, and a couple of databases (one was MSAccess, which I guess is still a thing, but this semester is Oracle PL/SQL). I've still got another semester Java, C#, and two more database classes to go. Plus an elective which will probably be the third semester of client-side web development so I can get some exposure to common JS frameworks.

And that's just a junior college. :lol:
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:43 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
I guess a good programmer should master more then one or two languages then?

Full stack web development needs many languages. In my division (Microsoft MVC5 applications), that means C#, MSSQL, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (including Bootstrap and AngularJS frameworks). In Linux it might be SQL, Java, and whatever the front end uses.

I'm caught up in a whirlwind of languages. I've had two courses on Java and two on web front-end HTML/CSS/Javascript, and one each of Visual Basic, C#, and a couple of databases (one was MSAccess, which I guess is still a thing, but this semester is Oracle PL/SQL). I've still got another semester Java, C#, and two more database classes to go. Plus an elective which will probably be the third semester of client-side web development so I can get some exposure to common JS frameworks.

And that's just a junior college. :lol:

I see, however at the moment I'm going to my hands full learning C, and maybe BASH scripts.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:02 am

Yeah, full-stack web is probably going to get you the widest range of languages on a single project, since you're coding a server-side application, back end database, client-side scripting (JavaScript and CSS) and/or mobile apps (Java for Android, Objective C for iOS) as well. On larger projects, a single developer would generally not be expected to know the whole stack though; i.e. if you're doing the client-side stuff, someone else is dealing with the database back end.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:09 am

whm1974 wrote:
I see, however at the moment I'm going to my hands full learning C, and maybe BASH scripts.

We're about to do some basic Bash scripts in my Linux class. Probably not a knock-knock joke generator, though. First I get to learn about vi. I'm familiar with pico/nano from my first bout with college and on the Mac but vi seems nothing like it.

just brew it! wrote:
Yeah, full-stack web is probably going to get you the widest range of languages on a single project, since you're coding a server-side application, back end database, client-side scripting (JavaScript and CSS) and/or mobile apps (Java for Android, Objective C for iOS) as well. On larger projects, a single developer would generally not be expected to know the whole stack though; i.e. if you're doing the client-side stuff, someone else is dealing with the database back end.

I'm not sure what's a large project and what's a small project. There's about 6 developers on the project I was talking about (excluding me, which is kind of a weird case). All of them are expected to know the whole stack but for specific areas. Two guys are writing the whole of the gradebook...database schema, stored procedures, DTOs, and the front end. Another guy is writing the whole ad-hoc reporting tool. Since the mobile project is much younger (and because we're switching technologies from Genero Mobile to Xamarin Forms) I really only have to know how to use the world-facing web services and write C#/XAML for Xamarin Forms. Although the expectation is I'll eventually have to know the full stack, too.

edit: I guess the scope of the project is big, but the team working on it is pretty small due to lack of resources and not one but three legacy products to maintain at the moment.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:22 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
I see, however at the moment I'm going to my hands full learning C, and maybe BASH scripts.

We're about to do some basic Bash scripts in my Linux class. Probably not a knock-knock joke generator, though. First I get to learn about vi. I'm familiar with pico/nano from my first bout with college and on the Mac but vi seems nothing like it.[/quote]
The last time I tried to learn vi, I quickly started having nightmares.
Last edited by whm1974 on Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:23 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
I see, however at the moment I'm going to my hands full learning C, and maybe BASH scripts.

We're about to do some basic Bash scripts in my Linux class. Probably not a knock-knock joke generator, though. First I get to learn about vi. I'm familiar with pico/nano from my first bout with college and on the Mac but vi seems nothing like it.

Vi is like nothing else. Text-based video terminals were still a fairly novel concept back in 1976, and vi was one of the first full-screen text editors. The user interface is a bizarre modal mish-mash of full-screen and CLI (as in, from the hardcopy TTY days) editing concepts.

I'm still moderately proficient with it, having used it extensively back in the '80s and into the '90s on UNIX; it's even my editor of choice for quick config file changes and short (less than a half dozen lines or so) "one off" shell script creation. It's installed on nearly every *NIX system by default, so it's a "lowest common denominator" of sorts; you can count on it being there without the need to install anything.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:25 am

whm1974 wrote:
So how many languages should a decent professional programmer know? I know from the QuickBasic classes I took in late 90's and from briefly looking at FreeBasic a few years ago, that modern forms of BASIC are very different from the ones that came with most of the microcomputers of the 80's, but from what I can recall from back then the manuals and teachers I had back then didn't exactly warn users to avoid using GOTO statements or even tell learners to document the code at all.


All of them. :o

That's only halfway a joke. Programming is a "applied science". The language is a particular representation of solution to a problem. Learning a new language is really just syntax memorization and that comes with frequent use. That's not to say there are feature differences between language that have to be understood -- pointers vs no pointers, automated garbage collection, OO requirements, etc. A good programmer should be able to turn out code in a completely new language, albeit inefficiently, pretty much immediately given the resources available in Google.

In direct answer to your question, I would not claim to know more than two or three languages at any given time. That's usually how many I use on a frequent basis in a given job. A language you are not using fades in your memory and switching back will require so "re-learning". It will obviously be faster than the first time, but it will still take some amount of refresher effort.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:26 am

just brew it! wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
I see, however at the moment I'm going to my hands full learning C, and maybe BASH scripts.

We're about to do some basic Bash scripts in my Linux class. Probably not a knock-knock joke generator, though. First I get to learn about vi. I'm familiar with pico/nano from my first bout with college and on the Mac but vi seems nothing like it.

Vi is like nothing else. Text-based video terminals were still a fairly novel concept back in 1976, and vi was one of the first full-screen text editors. The user interface is a bizarre modal mish-mash of full-screen and CLI (as in, from the hardcopy TTY days) editing concepts.

I'm still moderately proficient with it, having used it extensively back in the '80s and into the '90s on UNIX; it's even my editor of choice for quick config file changes and short (less than a half dozen lines or so) "one off" shell script creation. It's installed on nearly every *NIX system by default, so it's a "lowest common denominator" of sorts; you can count on it being there without the need to install anything.

That was the only reason I bother to try to learn vi. I just couldn't do it.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:28 am

just brew it! wrote:
Vi is like nothing else. Text-based video terminals were still a fairly novel concept back in 1976, and vi was one of the first full-screen text editors. The user interface is a bizarre modal mish-mash of full-screen and CLI (as in, from the hardcopy TTY days) editing concepts.

I'm still moderately proficient with it, having used it extensively back in the '80s and into the '90s on UNIX; it's even my editor of choice for quick config file changes and short (less than a half dozen lines or so) "one off" shell script creation. It's installed on nearly every *NIX system by default, so it's a "lowest common denominator" of sorts; you can count on it being there without the need to install anything.

I've been fooling with it for about 90 minutes as I work my way through the assignment. It's definitely "like nothing else". :lol:

That last point is probably why we're learning it as opposed to the editors I'm more familiar with. It's fine. I may never use it again or I may one day grow entirely dependent upon it. I work in an all-Microsoft shop now but who knows what I'll be doing for the next ~20-25 years.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:34 am

whm1974 wrote:
The last time I tried to learn vi, I quickly started having nightmares.

I imagine unless you learned it early on, it feels completely alien. For me, opening vi to do simple edits is an automatic reflex. For example, to add an entry to the /etc/hosts file from a CLI prompt:

$ sudo vi /etc/hosts
<enter password>
:$<ENTER>o<type the new hosts file entry><ESC>ZZ

Done! :wink:

It's quite useful in the Linux server world, where doing maintenance and configuration over a SSH session is not uncommon. I suppose most "normal" people would opt for nano in that situation though. :lol:
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:10 pm

just brew it! wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
The last time I tried to learn vi, I quickly started having nightmares.

I imagine unless you learned it early on, it feels completely alien. For me, opening vi to do simple edits is an automatic reflex. For example, to add an entry to the /etc/hosts file from a CLI prompt:

$ sudo vi /etc/hosts
<enter password>
:$<ENTER>o<type the new hosts file entry><ESC>ZZ

Done! :wink:

It's quite useful in the Linux server world, where doing maintenance and configuration over a SSH session is not uncommon. I suppose most "normal" people would opt for nano in that situation though. :lol:

Reminds me of the Edline editor MS included in earlier versions of MS-DOS. Why couldn't they have a full screen editor like DOS Editor in the first place? :evil:
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:16 pm

whm1974 wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
The last time I tried to learn vi, I quickly started having nightmares.

I imagine unless you learned it early on, it feels completely alien. For me, opening vi to do simple edits is an automatic reflex. For example, to add an entry to the /etc/hosts file from a CLI prompt:

$ sudo vi /etc/hosts
<enter password>
:$<ENTER>o<type the new hosts file entry><ESC>ZZ

Done! :wink:

It's quite useful in the Linux server world, where doing maintenance and configuration over a SSH session is not uncommon. I suppose most "normal" people would opt for nano in that situation though. :lol:

Reminds me of the Edline editor MS included in earlier versions of MS-DOS. Why couldn't they have a full screen editor like DOS Editor in the first place? :evil:

Vi was an extension of the ex line editor. The "colon" commands in vi come from ex.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:15 pm

vi isn't a "What You See Is What You Get" (WSYWIG) editor, it's more like "You Get What You Asked For, Even When You Didn't Mean It!"

I'm like JBI, I'll use vi for quick and dirty stuff, but I'm really an XEmacs person.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:27 pm

OK I decided to learn C, so what are some good beginners books and manuals for C? Preferably geared to Linux users.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:22 pm

whm1974 wrote:
OK I decided to learn C, so what are some good beginners books and manuals for C? Preferably geared to Linux users.

The canonical text used to be The C Programming Language (2nd Edition) by Kernighan and Ritchie (inventors of the language), but the language has evolved since then so some of the info is a little outdated.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/562 ... e-and-list

Make sure you have the developer man pages (sections 2 and 3) for your distro installed. Also, nearly all programming questions are answered on stackoverflow.com (via a Google search).
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:31 pm

just brew it! wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
OK I decided to learn C, so what are some good beginners books and manuals for C? Preferably geared to Linux users.

The canonical text used to be The C Programming Language (2nd Edition) by Kernighan and Ritchie (inventors of the language), but the language has evolved since then so some of the info is a little outdated.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/562 ... e-and-list

Make sure you have the developer man pages (sections 2 and 3) for your distro installed. Also, nearly all programming questions are answered on stackoverflow.com (via a Google search).

Thanks JBI. The nice folks at www.manjaro.org pointed me to this C manual on Wikibooks.org
https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/C_Programming
I'm reading it now.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:39 pm

So far it seems easier then I thought it would be. However I might end up taking a course later on.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:15 pm

Learning C is where I started also. There's a lot of C-like languages out there that have similar syntax, so it's a good place to start. Once you get a handle on it try something like Python or Ruby which doesn't use semi-colons. Switching back and forth like that is a good way to get the developers version of brain-freeze. :P
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:39 am

whm1974 wrote:
So far it seems easier then I thought it would be. However I might end up taking a course later on.

Sh*t gets real when you start using the heap, via malloc() and free(). Novice C programmers invariably end up with memory leaks or programs which randomly crash with the infamous "segmentation fault" error.

Or, for a real mind bender, check out the setjmp() and longjmp() functions. A sufficiently clever (or sick, depending on how you look at it) developer can use these calls to implement cooperative multi-threading in a single-threaded environment (e.g. embedded device).
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:58 am

just brew it! wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
OK I decided to learn C, so what are some good beginners books and manuals for C? Preferably geared to Linux users.

The canonical text used to be The C Programming Language (2nd Edition) by Kernighan and Ritchie (inventors of the language), but the language has evolved since then so some of the info is a little outdated.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/562 ... e-and-list

Make sure you have the developer man pages (sections 2 and 3) for your distro installed. Also, nearly all programming questions are answered on stackoverflow.com (via a Google search).


I learnt C using that book and for a (short) while programmed with K&R-style declarations. C made a lot of sense coming from assembly language as it mapped so closely to what the processor was doing including stdio.h, string.h etc APIs. All on a beautiful Sun SPARC multi-user minicomputer on X-terminals. Had a brief look at the hell that was Windows 3.x C programming with near and far pointers etc and ran screaming. MANY years later Visual Studio 6.0 and Win32 were almost tolerable. DirectX 8 was actually pretty great.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:26 am

Pancake wrote:
I learnt C using that book and for a (short) while programmed with K&R-style declarations. C made a lot of sense coming from assembly language as it mapped so closely to what the processor was doing including stdio.h, string.h etc APIs.

Same here. When I learned C, most of my prior programming experience had been in Pascal and 8080 assembly language; C really felt like it split the difference between the two.

Pancake wrote:
Had a brief look at the hell that was Windows 3.x C programming with near and far pointers etc and ran screaming.

Well, I had to deal with x86 real mode development (MS-DOS applications) at my day job for a few years. The near/far stuff was tolerable if you just used "large" model for everything and didn't worry about pointer sizes unless you absolutely had to; this gave you the illusion of a flat address space in most cases, aside from the fact that individual arrays could never be larger than 64K. With a 640K ceiling on total system memory, limiting individual arrays to 64K was not that big of a deal.

Windows 3.x API was indeed a nightmare; when I first tried to learn how to program for Windows 3.x I felt like I had been dropped into the 8th circle of Hell.

Pancake wrote:
MANY years later Visual Studio 6.0 and Win32 were almost tolerable. DirectX 8 was actually pretty great.

IME Microsoft's IDE (Visual Studio in all its flavors) was always a pretty solid product. Been out of that world for a number of years now though; I deal pretty much exclusively with the Linux ecosystem these days.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:54 am

Pancake wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
OK I decided to learn C, so what are some good beginners books and manuals for C? Preferably geared to Linux users.

The canonical text used to be The C Programming Language (2nd Edition) by Kernighan and Ritchie (inventors of the language), but the language has evolved since then so some of the info is a little outdated.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/562 ... e-and-list

Make sure you have the developer man pages (sections 2 and 3) for your distro installed. Also, nearly all programming questions are answered on stackoverflow.com (via a Google search).


I learnt C using that book and for a (short) while programmed with K&R-style declarations. C made a lot of sense coming from assembly language as it mapped so closely to what the processor was doing including stdio.h, string.h etc APIs. All on a beautiful Sun SPARC multi-user minicomputer on X-terminals. Had a brief look at the hell that was Windows 3.x C programming with near and far pointers etc and ran screaming. MANY years later Visual Studio 6.0 and Win32 were almost tolerable. DirectX 8 was actually pretty great.

I guess I'm going to have to get a copy of that book and other classical manuals of C programming.

Granted I just got started reading the Wikibooks.org C manual, but I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe beginning/intro programming classes/courses should be starting out with teaching C to begin with.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:29 am

As previously noted, K&R's book is somewhat outdated, having been last revised in 1988. While it used to considered an essential part of any C developer's book collection (I have the original 1st edition around here somewhere...), and is still a decent introductory text, I'd say it has slipped to "optional" status given that it doesn't cover the more modern dialects (C99 in particular).

FWIW if you learn the C99 dialect, it'll make the eventual transition to C++ a little easier, as there's been some convergence of language features which do not relate specifically to OOP.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:42 am

I think you should definitely learn C at some point, but I encourage you to perhaps use Python at first instead. C is great as an alternative to assembler, but not so good as a beginner language (in my opinion). You might find some other domain focused languages useful depending on what field you see yourself pursuing in the future. Languages like R, SPSS, Mathematica, Julia, FORTRAN, MATLAB (or Octave) and others are fully general purpose and usually very approachable but have features useful in mathematics, statistics, physics, and engineering.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:56 am

just brew it! wrote:
As previously noted, K&R's book is somewhat outdated, having been last revised in 1988. While it used to considered an essential part of any C developer's book collection (I have the original 1st edition around here somewhere...), and is still a decent introductory text, I'd say it has slipped to "optional" status given that it doesn't cover the more modern dialects (C99 in particular).

FWIW if you learn the C99 dialect, it'll make the eventual transition to C++ a little easier, as there's been some convergence of language features which do not relate specifically to OOP.

So is what is the current dialect of C? While this will wait until later after I learn C and how to use GNU toolchain, what is a good IDE to use later on? What about Gedit?

Even if I don't end up learning C, I at least hope I can learn how to install applications from source and be able to use the build tools to build packages for Arch/Manjaro. That way I don't have to try and convince fellow Manjaro users to build packages I want or need that Manjaro doesn't already have.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:12 am

whm1974 wrote:
Granted I just got started reading the Wikibooks.org C manual, but I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe beginning/intro programming classes/courses should be starting out with teaching C to begin with.


Ours starts with C++, then moves to Java and more Java.

C++ (in Visual Studio) works well to teach OO and strong typing and syntax discipline, while Java gets you to a modern (and FOSS) language with the same basic syntax that's supremely portable as well as serves as an introduction to external interfaces like GUI programming, database hookups, and web page generation.
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:22 am

Airmantharp wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
Granted I just got started reading the Wikibooks.org C manual, but I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe beginning/intro programming classes/courses should be starting out with teaching C to begin with.


Ours starts with C++, then moves to Java and more Java.

C++ (in Visual Studio) works well to teach OO and strong typing and syntax discipline, while Java gets you to a modern (and FOSS) language with the same basic syntax that's supremely portable as well as serves as an introduction to external interfaces like GUI programming, database hookups, and web page generation.

Yeah I was thinking at some point I would have to learn C++ and maybe Java, and chances are two to three scripting languages. However I am thinking that if I learn C first and well this will make picking up other languages much easier since I already done the hard work first.
 
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:25 am

whm1974 wrote:
So is what is the current dialect of C? While this will wait until later after I learn C and how to use GNU toolchain, what is a good IDE to use later on? What about Gedit?

I believe C11 is the current one.

For IDEs, a lot of people like Eclipse but I think it is a bloated mess. Lately I've just been using Kate (KDE's default text editor). There are a number of other ones that I've been meaning to try but haven't gotten around to.

whm1974 wrote:
Even if I don't end up learning C, I at least hope I can learn how to install applications from source and be able to use the build tools to build packages for Arch/Manjaro. That way I don't have to try and convince fellow Manjaro users to build packages I want or need that Manjaro doesn't already have.

Yes, being able to build packages from source is a useful skill, and not particularly difficult. In a related vein, if you think you might be interested in getting into FOSS development, attempting to fix a bug in a package you use is not a bad way to start (but you need to be reasonably fluent in the language the package is written in first).
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Re: Anyone use Forth, or have experience with it?

Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:25 am

whm1974 wrote:
Yeah I was thinking at some point I would have to learn C++ and maybe Java, and chances are two to three scripting languages. However I am thinking that if I learn C first and well this will make picking up other languages much easier since I already done the hard work first.

As long as that's not going to end up being discouraging, preventing you from getting any further.
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