Re: Should I learn C++?

"James Kanze" <>
14 Apr 2007 04:07:24 -0700
On Apr 14, 5:24 am, "Unknownmat" <> wrote:

The reason for this interest is that I noticed that alot of
universities have started to teach C++ as their core language and I am
beginning to think that its time now to widen my range of programming
languages/skills. When I was at university I personally learned Java
and Delphi as part of my studies but following my graduation I focused
on using Delphi (which for the most part as been quite simple) as I
enjoy developing and working with Windows Apps.

I would recommend against learning C++ if your stated goal is to
broaden your horizons. From a language perspective C++ is quite
similar to Java which you already know.

It depends on which direction he wants to broaden them:-).

IMHO, there is a definite interest in going beyond the language,
and learning programming techniques: functional programming,
design patterns, etc. Your recommendation of:

BTW, if you have not already read this, then I strongly recommend
reading the book "Structure and Interpretation of Computer
Programs" (which uses Scheme): This
book is quite amazing. Talk about broadening your horizons.

is excellent, in this sense, not because of Scheme, per se, but
because of the higher level thought processes it teaches. In
the end, the language is just a tool, you learn Scheme not for
Scheme, but because it is a convenient tool for teaching these
thought processes. Similarly, you might want to learn C++ not
for C++, because a number of recent works on meta-programming
are based on C++.

All of which is a very good, and IMHO very important direction
to broaden horizons. On the other hand, one can take a more
practical approach: SQL or a Unix shell will also broaden your
horizons, in a very different way. (I recently wrote a build
system entirely in GNU make. Talk about broadening horizons.)

Other possible directions: Excel, or LaTeX or HTML. (You'll
need to learn to write documentation. HTML is a good support
for that, since it can be used everywhere, and LaTeX will
produce the most beautiful results.)

James Kanze (Gabi Software) email:
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