Programs drive the world. Literally. Heck, there’s more software in the average car than was used to run an airline when I grew up in the ’60s. But it sure is a different world than when I grew up. And that’s nowhere more so than in the programming world. When I learned programming in the ’70s, it was all punch cards and big machines—no PCs and no Internet.
But, too many books that try to teach you programming haven’t gotten the message that it’s a different world: It’s the world of the Internet! Why, they still use an archaic language called BASIC that’s 40 years old and was designed for Teletype machines to teach you programming. The book you have in your hand is unusual because it accepts that the programming world has changed. The browser is all-important: Controlling your browser isn’t only an exciting way to learn to program, it’s darn useful if you ever want to make your own home page interactive.
But that isn’t the only way this book is different from all the other beginning programming books out there that use BASIC. Feeding you BASIC as your first programming language is a terrible idea. Why? Because the BASIC programming language is old and tired and doesn’t use objectoriented programming (OOP) as its fundamental paradigm. OOP was developed in the ’80s and ’90s, and every programmer must be familiar with it. OOP is how programmers can hope to piece together the very large programs they need to build in the 21st century.
(If you’re wondering what OOP is, well, you’ll just have to read this book—I won’t try to explain it here because then I’d have to do a better job than Harold Davis does in this book, and that’s not likely to happen.)
So sit back in front of any computer (heck, even some personal digital assistants) and learn to program by taking full control of your browser (fun!) and learning OOP (useful!) with one of the best writers I know.