Best programming language for biology students?
steve at firthcom.demon.co.uk
Mon Apr 17 17:52:34 EST 1995
In article <3msmnq$eei at tbone.biol.scarolina.edu>, Dean Pentcheff
> Time to add my two cents to the ongoing fray. I'm a biologist who's
> spent a lot of time doing computer or computer-related work in
> conjunction with my biology. My programming background is strongly
> procedurally-oriented, so I can't speak at all to the desirability of
> OO or functional approaches.
This also matches my background and for my 2p (about 3c at current
rates) I would focus on the question as "Best...for...students."
In which case I would recommend starting with Pascal. Not the most
modern, not even "the best" from the view point of a computer
professional but it will do anything a student could require and it will
teach you good programming habits from day 1.
Everything else is varnish, useful for a professional finish but not
essential for those first steps in programming and liable to lead to bad
habits if you start by using a language that allows short cuts.
In my youth when the choice was a simple Basic/Pascal/Fortran, there was
no better choice. Pascal could call Fortran libraries and could whistle
up a good database. Though I now use C++, there are times (when studying
other people's code) that I wish for the clarity of Pascal.
Stephen Firth Matthew: 27, 5
steve at firthcom.demon.co.uk Judges: 7, 17
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