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Old 08-29-2008, 04:09 PM   #41
Jim Freer
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I've also read that in the early days of office automation using computers in the 80s, they hired a lot of people trained in mathematics and sciences and the like, but soon realised that the quickest, most productive programmers came from academic backgrounds in linguistics and foreign languages.

First of all Matbury, you are one of my favorites here because you say something without holding back. So I want you to know I'm writing this with a smile on my face because I have little academic background and my writing skills are too primitive to convey that

If you can figure out where you read the thing about those productive programmers, I'd love to read it.

I started in the 60's and met and worked with a lot of programmers over time. I have to admit I never identified any of them having had backgrounds in linguistics and foreign languages. In fact, I thought many of them had very poor communication skills. I knew of former practicing doctors, lawyers, and actors. There were many musicians (of which I'm insanely jealous) and scientists but most were engineers. (There were some from other worlds, too.)

It is possible the best were from linguistics and foreign languages backgrounds because probably I never got a chance to work with the very best. But my point is, the field in programming was mushrooming in the 80's. It was huge. There were so many different kinds of computers out there and the job possibilities seemed endless. And if it was huge in the 80's then I can't think of a relative word to describe the business today.

Frequently I read something here that makes me laugh. It will be someone telling us how things should done when it's obvious the person knows very little outside the context of their own small world. Nobody, including Adobe, knows what all people are trying to do or want to do with computers and their products.

Programmers are from all over, have different backgrounds, have a wide range of skills and have learned and are still learning how to do things in their own unique ways. I'm one of those programmers. I didn't like school. It bored me. I learned by reading and studying code. I learned to read things that were poorly written or over my head because it often was the only source of information.

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Last edited by Jim Freer; 08-29-2008 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Quote bracketing mistake (not corrected); I admit I can't do it.
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:49 PM   #42
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There's no doubt that human language and programming (machine language, or more accurately, the bridge between human language and machine language) is similar. And it very well may be the case that those with linguistics backgrounds would have a better grasp of programming concepts. There's nothing at all surprising about that; it makes total sense.

But not everyone is a linguist, and chances are those using ActionScript (the majority) are not either. So when it comes to documentation, its an open field.

ActionScript is also still a young language and a very domain specific language. Adobe is in full control of it and its documentation and relies on a number of external resources to help people learn it (lynda.com, etc.). There are only so many resources to write documentation and believe you me when I say they work really hard to do what they do. That being said, I'm sure they're open to criticism and suggestions, but just saying something to the effect of "it sucks" doesn't help much. And I'd like to point out that other references aren't exactly packed full of examples either...

I'd say Adobe's documentation is on par or better than most.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:48 PM   #43
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It's true that there are a lot of similarities between a spoken language and a programming language and I can say with confidence, from what my observations lead me to believe, that most programming languages want to be more like a spoken language; however, I do believe I benefit a lot more from my understanding of engineering and science than I do from my literature background.

Language is a means of conveying a thought but a spoken language leaves a lot of room for interpretation, where as a programming language does not.

Programming a lot more like mechanics where every line of code works as one piece of a larger machine. Sure, it may be simplified and stream lined for better understanding and manipulation, but in the end a program will do only what it is instructed to do, if and only if the instructions match the available predefined options exactly, and not a single action more nor less; just like any mechanical device or engine.

On the other hand, being the total nerd that I am, when I find myself having trouble conveying a thought, I will sometimes simply give it in a sudo-programming language instead. It does sound a little odd when said out loud, and it often makes unfamiliar people look at me funny, but for those who know me, it makes understanding me a lot easier. XD

I only recently began looking at AS3. Up until then I had been learning AS2 to the point that I feel fairly competent with it. Well, my initial reaction was that I didn't like AS3. I felt that I had just learned how AS2 worked and so much was different that the thought of learning it all again dampened my spirits a bit.

However, after going over how to do much of the basics in AS3 (and actionscript.org has helped a lot!) I can see that while it may look a lot more complicated, it offers a much greater degree of control over the final product and it sort of forces programmer to practice better programming standards (to an extent).

So overall, while I still have a lot to learn (and now I feel like a novice again), I think that once I'm finished I'll be a better programmer overall for it.

Last edited by Vagabond; 02-24-2010 at 09:50 PM.
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