17.268 dance steps to coding

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Oct 01 2003 - 01:33:59 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 268.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Wed, 01 Oct 2003 06:29:45 +0100
             From: Patricia Galloway <galloway@ischool.utexas.edu>
             Subject: Re: 17.265 dance steps to coding

    Here's one example of Francois's theory. I learnt Fortran from having to
    document other peoples' code for an archaeological analysis suite (1974); I
    learnt Z-80 assembly language mostly from a manual and Knuth because there
    was not even an operating system available when I first began to use
    microcomputers to do concordancing of Old French (1977); and I taught
    myself Snobol and Pascal (1978), the latter using the feedback from the
    truly wonderful University of Minnesota (mainframe) and Turbo Pascal
    (microcomputer) compilers. Since then I've dealt with many database
    languages, UNIX procedural languages, HTML, XML, PHP, and now I'm trying to
    learn Java. I am a true believer (some would say a bigot) that in our
    generation of computing humanists, those who are dependent on keeping the
    hood shut will have to take what vendors shove at them: we aren't yet in
    the place where all our problems have been so "black-boxed" that we can use
    standard off-the-shelf software for everything. Besides, my students have
    to figure out how to preserve the digital heritage, and you can't do that
    without knowing how it's built.

    Pat Galloway
    School of Information
    University of Texas-Austin

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