Beginning Programming for Dummies 4th edn

Jerry Muelver jerry at
Sat Dec 9 20:43:14 EST 2006

Adrian Williams wrote:

> Beginners and old hands would benefit if code they seek is more
> clearly emphasised. All words are important, but in programming,
> surely, it is the code itself that should take pride of place. Some
> books use a grey background patch for passages of code.
> This is not ideal either. Code in paragraph text needs to be
> emphasised in exactly the same manner as large passages to
> avoid confusion. Just a more contrasting set of fonts is really
> all thats needed. Like Times Roman and Verdana Bold for maximum
> contrast! If it must be a monospaced font, then I don't see anything
> on the market that fits the bill at the moment. I would gladly create
> and supply (gratis) a Courier-like font of 'Black' weight to anyone
> undertaking such a venture, so long as it's a Revolution trainer.

Lucida Console or Bitstream Vera Sans (monospace) would be good starting 
points. And Demi rather than Black would be a good choice, I think. But 
I could live with the typographic limitations of "Revolution: Software 
at the Speed of Thought" if I had volumes II and III....

I still use the "MetaCard Users Guide", stuffed with print-outs of 
juicy, illuminating extracts from metacard-list at from around 
1998, to clarify my thinking on occasion. I think I would also rely on 
Danny Goodman's HyperCard works as well, if only I had them. Still, to 
my mind, the xTalk paradigm of programming has never been well-enough 
presented to entice beginners into the fold, or experts to distill and 
extend their expertise. Only Squeak is less-usefully documented, and 
more deserving of the effort.

A newcomer to Revolution should be able to learn all he or she needs to 
know to program a particular task, and not get involved with anything 
outside the dependency-chain of skills and techniques needed for that 
task, by threading a relevant path through the documentation. The lack 
of economic incentive to produce such a task-oriented documentation 
suite is puzzling, given the cost of the product and its placement in 
the upper echelons of programming power. The ultimate cost of NOT having 
the proper learning tools has to be staggeringly higher than the cost of 
developing them.

---- Jerry Muelver

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