Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

The classic systems were worlds ahead of most modern ones in one very important respect: documentation.

The Tandy/Radio Shack books for the Color Computer series (and it's astoundingly good LOGO implementation) were amazingly clear and concisely written with lots of examples, and because in those days even a disk drive wasn't a guarantee, all the examples were written to be hand-typed and experimented with.

There were even books in those days that aimed to teach kids machine language! [1]

That said, I think Djikstra and Felleisen may be slightly right about the long-term usefulness of old-fashioned BASIC and LOGO for learning, but there are a few books in modern languages that come close.

Hello World![2] was explicitly written to hearken back to those old manuals, by a father aiming to teach his 12-yo son programming with Python.

Land of Lisp[3] and Realm of Racket[4] also call to mind those old books as well, though they're targeting a bit older audience and have their quirks (LoL is a bit in-love with huge nested trees and a-lists in the examples, and Realm of Racket tends to gloss over a lot of the examples and expects you to just read the sample code rather than walking you through the process completely).

The Little Schemer[5] is also a fantastic little book that takes on the form almost of a set of brain-teasers, and teaches recursive thinking entirely by example and in methodical detail. The later chapters can be a bit stumpy, but if you go through the book step by step in regular sessions it builds on itself pretty well.

All of these are aiming at around the 12+ age range though, I don't think there's much out there anymore for anything younger.

[1] http://boingboing.net/2013/05/16/1983s-wonderful-introducti....

[2] http://www.amazon.com/Hello-World-Computer-Programming-Begin...

[3] http://www.amazon.com/Land-Lisp-Learn-Program-Game/dp/159327...

[4] http://www.amazon.com/Realm-Racket-Learn-Program-Game/dp/159...

[5] http://www.amazon.com/Little-Schemer-Daniel-P-Friedman/dp/02...




Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: