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I vividly remember my first foray into real programming a year and half ago. Trust me, just getting Python to install and compile was lesson enough. It was months before I learned how to use the Windows command line. To a total beginner, especially one who is only familiar with Windows, path variables and stuff like that is absolutely frightening. It also doesn't help that the documentation for many programs is Linux-only.

If you can't get someone started with the following steps:

1- Go to website

2- Download and press next until the prompt says "Installation Finished."

3- Click here to create a file and save the file on your desktop.

4- Press "Run."

5- See "Hello, World."

You already made it too damn difficult for week one.

All that other stuff is secondary. Getting the words "Hello, World!" (much less getting the screen to show 1 through 10 without dropping into an infinite loop) to show up w/o supervising the student is a huge victory. I can't tell you how long it took me to understand while and for loops, but it wasn't one or two days.

Getting someone set up and running with a semi-significant website is an unrealistic goal to accomplish within a few months... well, if you want that site to be reasonably coded, that is.

People with lots of experience forget that the basics, for a total beginner and near technophobe (as I was 18 months ago), is very difficult. The real "oh, crap" moment came for me when I was first exposed to Emacs. I complained that, in today's day and age, it was utterly fucked-up that some stupid class would suggest you don't use a mouse. I was told that that statement was probably the biggest indicator of my newbie status than all the horrid code I could demonstrate up to that point. Just remember that people aren't ready to learn a bunch of new tools and they aren't ready to give up familiar tools at the start.




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