Help biologist choose a new programming language

Jonathan G Campbell jg.campbell at ntlworld.com
Thu Feb 6 08:40:40 EST 2003


John Ladasky wrote:
> 
> Hi, folks,
> 
> After devoting several years to programming the most troublesome
> computers of all, namely living cells, I am beginning to take an
> interest in programming silicon again.
> 
[...]
> I need the ability to read flat-format text files, seek out some key
> words and sequence data, and analyze for patterns.  Not too difficult,
> right?
> 
> Well, I followed one friend's advice and investigated Java, perhaps a
> little too quickly.  I purchased Ivor Horton's _Beginning_Java_2_
> book.  It is reasonably well-written.  But how many pages did I have
> to read before I got through everything I needed to know, in order to
> read and write files?  Four hundred!  I need to keep straight detailed
> information about objects, inheritance, exceptions, buffers, and
> streams, just to read data from a text file???
> 
> I haven't actually sat down to program in Java yet.  

That's the problem.

> But at first
> glance, it would seem to be a step backwards even from the procedural
> C programming that I was doing a decade ago.  

[...]

> 
> Here is what I think would make a good programming language for me
> (but feel free to try to convince me that I should have other
> priorities):
> 
> 1) A low barrier to entry for performing simple tasks, such as
> processing text files.  This will allow me to accomplish the job I
> want to do right now.
> 
> 2) A language that doesn't force me to obsess about the details of
> OOP.
> 
> 3) I would like to return to graphical applications eventually.
> Therefore the language should have a GUI library, either
> Windows-specific or cross-platform.
> 
> 4) Speed is nice, but secondary.  

Go with Java. You'll be at least twice as productive as with C++ or C.
Of course, if _all_ you are doing (and aiming to do) is ripping text
files apart and putting them together in another way, then the Perl
suggestion is apt.

Good luck,

Jon C.

-- 
Jonathan G Campbell BT48 7PG jg.campbell at ntlworld.com 028 7126 6125
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jg.campbell/





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