Sidebar: Learn something new

Want to learn a new programming language? Ryerson University computer science professor David Mason makes two suggestions:

Python, for programming and applications. “It’s a fairly logically laid out language,” he explained. “There’s less syntax to worry about, there’s less annoying detail. Things just work. Plus it’s very big in the ecosystem (eighth on the Tiobe September index).”

Only PHP and the other C-related languages are above it, he said — and according to Tiobe’s way of measuring, PHP’s popularity is falling.

According to the Python Software Foundation, version 3.4.1 was released in May with over three hundred bug fixes and other improvements over 3.4.0. The version of OpenSSL bundled with the Windows installer no longer has the HeartBleed vulnerability.

Here’s a link to a beginner’s guide for those who already know programming.

Mason’s other recommendation is JavaScript (number on the Tiobe index and moving up faster than Python), a cross-platform, object-based scripting language with first-class functions for building Web apps.

But with the NodeJS runtime environment, developers are also increasingly using Javascript to write server-side code as well.

Now in version 1.8.5,  JavaScript is officially managed by the Mozilla Foundation. You may find its reference section useful.

There are a number of open source platforms for building Web apps with Javascript — Mason mentioned Meteor as an example — that will make JS more significant in the near future.

Farhan Thawar of Pivotal Labs recommends Ruby “because it’s a dynamic language, which means less intricate syntax to worry about.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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