Programming for Absolute Beginners from Channel 9

Channel 9 has just launched an absolute beginner series to help people learn to program. There are two versions of the Development for Absolute beginners materials – one for Visual Basic and one for C# Well worth checking out. Visual Basic Development for Absolute Beginners C# Development for Absolute Beginners  There are some additional resources…

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C# Mini Course

So this is an experiment of sorts. Last summer I was asked to train some college students in C#. The goal was to get them ready to teach some very basic programming to high school students for a short summer program. The students I was to train were in South Dakota. Now South Dakota is…

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Returning Data From A Second Form

The other day I received a query about using second forms in Visual Basic. I found a link to some examples and passed it along but it left me unsettled. The teacher in me did not find those examples explanatory enough. Sample code along is ok as far as it goes but often beginners need…

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Why Not C#

Someone recently passed on same objection to using C# as a first or otherwise early programming language. I hear these sorts of comments all the time and while I have addressed some of  them in the past it seems like this is a good time to readdress them. These are my opinions of course. They…

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Cryptography is Hard

I love stories like this – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/22/ba_jihadist_trial_sentencing/ Briefly stated a group of would be terrorists rejected all suggestions that they use professionally developed cryptography and went ahead and developed their own. They assumed that because the existing cryptography was known to western “infidels” that it would be less secure than something they invented on their…

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To IDE or Not To IDE

One of the controversial issues that keeps coming up in computer science education is the role of the IDE – Integrated Development Environment. Some people believe that students should learn using command line instructions so that they become more aware of the roles of compiling and linking. I’m going to jump right in and say…

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Pex for Fun

Can you read code in C#, F# or Visual Basic? Do you like programming puzzles we (well the Pex Team, part of the Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group at Microsoft Research) has a site for you. Pex  for Fun is  a web site with programming puzzles in those three languages. The idea is that…

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Being Careful About Examples

Yesterday I posted some very simple sample code. I have to admit that I spent a lot of time on some of the details but may not have spent enough on some of the other details. This is always an issue when working on sample code for demonstrating a specific, often detailed concept. This is…

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How Many Letters Are There in The Alphabet?

You saw the title and a single number came to mind. If you are English speaking your probably thought “26.” If your native language is not English you may have thought of other numbers though. Even in European languages there are letters such as é è ö ᴂ å ø. And that is just the…

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What do you want in a Textbook

I’ve been thinking a lot about textbooks lately. Do students really read/use them? What is the difference between a textbook and a reference book and what are the pros and cons of each in education? What about books designed for professionals rather than for teaching? They seem to be half way between a reference book…

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