Book Review: “Learning to Program”

Learning to Program Book Cover Learning to Program
Steven Foote

I don't even know where to start, but let me try.

With the growth of the web and an influx of neophytes from all walks of life there is an infinite demand for books to get you off the ground and start "coding." These are the books better known as "Learn X in 24 hours" and "Y for dummies". This work continues the proud tradition started during the glorious plastic-pants CEO days of Dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.

Of course, it starts with "Hello World" to get you going fast. It also talks about how "your computer is stupid" and talks about "short-term" and "long-term memory". Unsurprisingly, it uses JavaScript as a programming language and fails to explain "how software works", even though the full chapter 2 is dedicated to this topic. On page 31 the author explicitly states that "you don't need to know the details of how your code becomes binary (sic!), but you do need to know that it happens".

Do I need to mention that the term "Algorithm" is absent from table of contents?

I guess this book can get  you going with basic web development, but the amount of bad patterns & misconceptions that need to be corrected years into career are making it a poor choice.

There is really no shortcut to learn programming, take CS50 from Harvard instead, it is free and teaches things in a proper way without omitting fundamentals. Oh yeah, and professor Malan is amazing.

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