Fri, 2 Feb 2001 16:28:50 -0500
> I am not surprised that teaching Java as a 1st language has been less than
> successful, and I suspect that the reasons are language related. A couple
> of years ago I wrote a paper comparing Ada and Java as a foundation language
> and pointed out why Ada is the better choice; it's available (updated in
> March 2000) at
> It is not only "Ada bigots" who have reached the conclusion that Java as a
> first language is a bad choice. Check the April 1998 issue of SIGPLAN
> Notices for some papers giving other educators' negative experience at
> teaching Java at this level. It's possible to use Java as a foundations
> language without inducing permanent harm on the students, but it takes a lot
> of care.
But the vast majority of CS faculties are going to go for Java anyway.
And the College Board has decreed that in ~3 years the AP exam will
shift from C++ (which has been mostly a disaster) to Java (which
they seem to hope will be an improvement).
Before you ask: no, there is nothing we can do to stop the AP train.
It is rolling, and the College Board's "market study" tells them it's
the way to go.
Those schools that are sticking with Ada as a foundation language
are building Java on the right foundation. Those that are not, are
not going to listen to us. I think the best approach there is to
ensure that Ada is, at least, a second language in the curriculum.
I've been at this a very long time, as most of you know, and it's
pretty clear to me that swimming upstream really tires one out.
Better to get out of the river and walk upstream along the shore.:-)
> Ben Brosgol