Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:45 PM
Quite often, we get asked "What is the best tutorial to learn <insert language of choice here>?" Finding the best tutorials is a breeze if you know the secret. Wanna know what it is? Here is part one......There is no such thing......
There are tens of billions of web pages. If we just guess that for a moment that .1% of all websites deal with programming in one way or another, we are still talking tens of millions of web pages. There is no possible way one could know the best possible resource for learning a programming language. I know what resources I like to use, but there is no way possible that I can say that they are the best unless I look at all possible pages that deal with the same subject matter. Frankly, I don't have the time. Especially since thousands of new content is coming online every day, there is no way one person would ever catch up.
Here is the next part of the secret. Nobody knows what you mean by best. Does best mean that the examples are ridiculously simple that they couldn't ever really be useful? Are you looking for pages written by someone that teaches programming? Presumably those will be better than pages written by students who just want to share code. Even those pages are infinitely better than some of those written by hacks that managed to accomplish some trivial task, and think they need to show off.
Here is the next secret. We find tutorials the same way as you could. Fire up your favorite search engine, and type in <insert language of choice> tutorials, and you will find the exact same thing we will. You can assume that if it is near the top of the search results, it is either popular (which is sort of like best), or that they have a good placement algorithm. Either way, if you want to learn to program, that's the best place to start. When you want to figure out how to do something in your language of choice, you go back to your favorite search engine, and type in something like read text from a file <insert language of choice>. You may be shocked to discover that you can find the exact code that you need.
That's it. School's out. That's how you learn to program. Search out tutorials. Search out code. Figure out how the code works. Then write code.