[Newbies] Stephane Ducasse's 'Learning to Programing with Robots'

David Mitchell david.mitchell at gmail.com
Thu Jul 23 16:18:34 UTC 2009

On Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 8:54 AM, Max Norman<maxnorman at comcast.net> wrote:
> I'm a novice programmer, who, at the suggestion of several more experienced
> developers, is attempting to get familiar with Smalltalk before moving on to
> Ruby, to more thoroughly learn and understand the concepts of
> object-oriented programming. First off, is this worth doing?

I think so. Several of the most active presenters at our local Ruby
user's group were Smalltalkers first.

> Second, does anyone have any experience with Stephane Ducasse's 'Learning to
> Programing with Robots'? The book appears to be aimed at absolute beginners,
> like myself, who need to cover the conceptual aspects of programming before
> moving on to different languages. Is it worth buying and studying?

Steph actually fought for the creation of the beginners list (and is
probably reading now).

Great book. I've used this book as courseware for people with no
programming experience. My two sons (12 and 11) are working through it
right now. One of the things I've noticed is without this book, I tend
to gloss over programming concepts that are explained carefully (like
looping, iteration, when to write a routine, etc.)

After that book, I'd recommend

- Kent Beck's Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns (not Squeak specific)
but very handy for learning idioms. Try reading a pattern a day. Many
of them won't make any sense, but eventually they will start to click.
- Chamond Liu's Smalltalk, Objects, and Design (written for VA) but
great for learning Smalltalk

Certainly keep Squeak by Example handy (at least in electronic form)
as you learn.

> 'Squeak by Example' appears to be for more experienced programmers, who are
> approaching Squeak/Smalltalk from a linguistic perspective.

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