Learning to code on the cheap

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Karen Casemier

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Jul 16, 2003, 1:18:45 PM7/16/03
to TECHWR-L

To make a long story short, I'm getting involved with more under-the-hood
type of documentation at my company (software). I'm currently working on a
System Architecture guide, and now realize there are several other manuals
that could use some more technical detail as well. Some of these documents
are for internal use only, so they are specifically geared to a developer
audience, while others are geared at a system admin-type user audience.

I've been doing a pretty decent job of using some source material written by
the developers, using my knowledge of the database, and reading the code.
I've been doing such a passable job that one of my managers has joked about
having me start coding. However, I don't feel the same way. I'm having to
rely too much on the developers - a lot of the time, I'm better off just
scrapping their source documents completely and starting from scratch. I'm
the type of person who hates a lot of dependencies on a project. I have no
problem going to the developers (or any SME) with specific questions, but I
don't want to rely on them to actually write the material. That's my job.
And this is the first time I've not been able to just figure it out on my
own.

I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient. I would do a google search,
but I'm not quite sure where to start: do I start by trying to build a
general understanding of programming, or do I just jump and try and learn a
language (currently I'm working in C++, but that will be changing - and
other products are written in other languages). I'd like to hear from other
technical writers who work at this level about how they gained the knowledge
they needed. Online resources, books, specific training - whatever. Cheap or
free is best, but if there is a great course out there that can really get
me well started, I might be able to get it approved.

And this is not a thread about technical vs. non-technical writers. I feel
this is a skill I did not need for my past projects, but I do need it now -
and it could lead to some other exciting projects.

Karen Casemier

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Susan W. Gallagher

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Jul 16, 2003, 1:58:56 PM7/16/03
to TECHWR-L

Karen,

Start first by learning OO concepts at the 20,000 foot level.
For free, see my paper, "Oh, oh! The Job Ad Says OO" at:
http://members.cox.net/susanwg/
(browse to whitepapers)

After that, spend some money on _Designing Object-Oriented
Software_, Rebecca Wrifs-Brock, ISBN 0-13-629825-7

Then, for free, go to www.bruceeckle.com and download
_Thinking in C++_ and/or _Thinking in Java_ in your favorite
format. Both books are free for download, can also be
purchased, and are excellent introductions to the languages.

And, if you can, I strongly recommend you go to the local
junior college and take a one-semester "intro to OO
programming" class. It will help a lot!

HTH!
-Sue Gallagher

|
| From: Karen Casemier <karen.c...@provia.com>

| To make a long story short, I'm getting involved with more under-the-hood

| type of documentation at my company (software)... and now realize there are several other manuals


| that could use some more technical detail as well. Some of these documents
| are for internal use only, so they are specifically geared to a developer
| audience, while others are geared at a system admin-type user audience.
|

|
| ...I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
| knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient... do I start by trying to build a


| general understanding of programming, or do I just jump and try and learn a

| language (currently I'm working in C++...

Smith, Martin

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Jul 16, 2003, 2:11:13 PM7/16/03
to TECHWR-L

Karen,

Excellent advice from Susan Gallagher, to which I would add to visit Sun's
web site. There you can download development tools for writing Java programs
for free, as opposed to going out and spending hundreds on Visual Studio.

At Sun's web site you will also find a wealth of information about
programming in Java.

Starting with an object-oriented design fundamentals class will save you
much frustration, however. Object-oriented programming is a discipline best
approached conceptually before you get bogged down in the syntax of writing
code.

Good luck,

Martin R. Smith

Wally Glassett

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Jul 16, 2003, 2:28:50 PM7/16/03
to TECHWR-L

And to add to Susan and Martin's very good advice, you might also download
and use Micrsoft's Web Matrix Project, or .Net Studio LIGHT. It's free and
has the same interface as the full-up .NET studio. You just can't do large
projects/applications with it. You can learn about it and get it from MS at:
http://www.asp.net/webmatrix/

Wally Glassett
wall...@yahoo.com <mailto:wall...@yahoo.com>

M Giffin

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Jul 16, 2003, 2:30:39 PM7/16/03
to TECHWR-L, Karen Casemier

Karen Casemier wrote:
[...]

|I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
|knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient. I would do a google search,
|but I'm not quite sure where to start: do I start by trying to build a

|general understanding of programming, or do I just jump and try and learn a
|language (currently I'm working in C++, but that will be changing - and
|other products are written in other languages). I'd like to hear from other
|technical writers who work at this level about how they gained the knowledge
|they needed.
[...]

Karen,

This is my worm's-eye view of the subject of learning programming. I'm a
20-year technically-oriented tech writer, and I wouldn't mind being a
programmer (or "developer" as I often hear them referred to), but even if I
don't become a programmer, knowing a lot more about programming will help
greatly in my documentation of APIs/SDKs.

Basically I have read books and dug into various websites. I have
concentrated on books, so I haven't seen any "How to Learn C++" websites,
although I'd be surprised if there weren't any. I have taken no official
classes, although I plan to take some. But I have learned a great deal that
has helped me in documenting APIs/SDKs.

As a complete novice, groping my way along blindly in the dark, I have
found that programming is a very wide, deep, complicated subject, and it's
hard to know where to begin.

I decided to start with C++, a vast and nasty language, because it is
widely used, and because I figure everything else will appear easy in
comparison. I discovered the book "Who's Afraid of C++" by Steve Heller,
which has an extremely good learning gradient for a complete newbie. It
comes with a C++ compiler, but unfortunately, it's several years old and it
might be hard to get it running on anything later than Windows 98. Also, if
you want to learn the very popular Microsoft Visual C++ development
environment, this book won't help you. I also have several other "Learning
C++" books. It's good to have more than one reference, because seeing the
same concept described in different ways helps to round out your knowledge.

I've decided I would also like to learn some scripting languages,
especially Tcl and Perl. I run across Tcl a lot in data communications
companies, and Perl seems to be used nearly anywhere there is web
development going on.

I also make friends with the progammers I work with at various clients, and
ask them questions about programming (I'm not too afraid of making a fool
out of myself). This gives me an idea of their reality, which helps me put
my own learning in a real-life context. And it helps in knowing the
audience for my API documentation.

Mark Giffin

DaLy

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Jul 16, 2003, 2:35:08 PM7/16/03
to TECHWR-L

------ Karen Casemier wrote:
I'd like to hear from other technical writers who work
at this level about how they gained the knowledge they
needed. Online resources, books, specific training -
whatever.
------

Hi Karen,

In addition to what the others have said, I offer the
following:

Best book (IMHO) - Code Reading: The Open Source
Perspective by Diomidis Spinellis. Cost: $49.99 and
ISBN: 0201799405.

Best On-line resource (IMHO) - The GNU Project and the
Free Software Foundation (FSF) at http://www.gnu.org
The most useful link (for me) on this site is -
http://www.gnu.org/doc/other-free-books.html

HTH,

DaLy

=====
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---President George W. Bush

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George Mena

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Jul 16, 2003, 1:37:57 PM7/16/03
to TECHWR-L

Karen,

If you make your first stop the Dr. Dobb's Journal web site at
http://www.ddj.com, that should be a good starting point for you.

Dr. Dobb's Journal, along with the Microsoft Systems Journal, are
publications dedicated to the professional programmer.

George

jenny_...@fairfieldresidential.com

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Jul 16, 2003, 6:19:12 PM7/16/03
to TECHWR-L, bounce-tech...@lists.raycomm.com, TECHWR-L

If you're looking for the dead-on basics (and I really mean *basic*) of
programming, then you'd probably enjoy "The Absolute Beginner's Guide to
Programming." I read this a year or so ago when I wanted a solid
conceptual intro to programming -- it was dated, but it was very easy to
read and understand.

Jenny Berger
Technical Writer
Information Systems
Fairfield Residential

Karen Casemier <karen.c...@provia.com>
Sent by: bounce-tech...@lists.raycomm.com
07/16/2003 12:18 PM
Please respond to Karen Casemier


To: "TECHWR-L" <tech...@lists.raycomm.com>
cc:
Subject: Learning to code on the cheap


I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient. I would do a google
search,
but I'm not quite sure where to start: do I start by trying to build a
general understanding of programming, or do I just jump and try and learn
a
language (currently I'm working in C++, but that will be changing - and

other products are written in other languages). I'd like to hear from

other
technical writers who work at this level about how they gained the
knowledge

they needed. Online resources, books, specific training - whatever. Cheap
or
free is best, but if there is a great course out there that can really get
me well started, I might be able to get it approved.

Lisa Wright

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Jul 16, 2003, 11:11:42 PM7/16/03
to TECHWR-L

Karen,
I'm in a similar position, and after consulting with a programmer friend
who can also think like a non-programmer, we found the book "Java2, A
Beginner's Guide" by Herbert Schildt.

This book assumes zero programming experience and has numerous training
mechanisms built into the texts (self-tests, practice, goals, etc.). I
have not read the whole thing but so far so good.

Even though I've worked with programmers/DBAs/network guys for years and
am fairly technical, there are some fundamental concepts that I'm just
missing, so I wanted something that would give me a good, solid
foundation. I've checked many of the resources recommended to you today
at various points and I find that they all assume prior experience, so
the very basics go unexplained.

HTH! Please share back to the list which resources you find most
helpful.

Lisa

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-tec...@lists.raycomm.com
[mailto:bounce-tec...@lists.raycomm.com] On Behalf Of Karen
Casemier
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 10:19 AM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Learning to code on the cheap

<snip>


I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient. I would do a google
search, but I'm not quite sure where to start: do I start by trying to
build a general understanding of programming, or do I just jump and try
and learn a language (currently I'm working in C++, but that will be
changing - and other products are written in other languages). I'd like
to hear from other technical writers who work at this level about how
they gained the knowledge they needed. Online resources, books, specific
training - whatever. Cheap or free is best, but if there is a great
course out there that can really get me well started, I might be able to
get it approved.

</snip>

Michael West

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Jul 16, 2003, 11:39:31 PM7/16/03
to TECHWR-L

| I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
| knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient. I would do a google search,
| but I'm not quite sure where to start: do I start by trying to build a
| general understanding of programming, or do I just jump and try and learn a
| language

Which approach best suits your learning style?
I got thrown into the deep end years ago. The
boss said "change this program so it does A instead
of B." I'd never even looked at code -- or for
that matter, a PC -- before, but after a few late
nights and lots of swearing and re-keying lost
code from printouts, I was on my way. The boss
thought I could do it, and he was right.

If I'd done it "my way" I'd probably *still* be reading
the introductory chapter to Programming for Dummies.

--
Mike West
Melbourne, Australia

Chris

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Jul 17, 2003, 5:14:47 AM7/17/03
to TECHWR-L

One good approach for super-beginner level is to start with JavaScript.
You get your basics of control flow (loops), functions, and variables.
Nothing scary. The dev environment is free, and it's easy to learn.
You can make some decent fireworks. But I assume you're beyond that
level. That's how I teach kids to program.

If you're really interested in compiled programming, and moving beyond
scripts, and aren't interested in VisualBasic (too expensive, or not
related to what you need), I suggest Java for three reasons. In the
first place, Java and C++ concepts are quite similar at a certain level
- the knowledge transfers fairly well. Second, you won't get bogged
down with memory errors that "mysteriously" crash - Java simplifies that
whole area. Third, as already pointed out, free tools. But Java might
not be where your company is going.

For me the biggest barrier to programming was learning the programming
environments. They're like overkill word processers... Once you get
one, you hate to learn another because you suffered so much for the
first one. There's also a learning curve in knowing what pieces of the
language core libraries to include, what they mean, etc. And how to
build and include your own... Project management and modularization at
some level. All this is probably as daunting (if not more) as the
fundamental logic of your code. And if you're talking about C++ that
uses the Windows user interface (MFC, Win API), you're entering into
another realm of complexity that has to do with application frameworks
and APIs - Java does that with Swing, I think. It's where you become a
specialist, and can start working with the grownups. At some level you
may need to know this stuff if you're expected to use code as your basis
for documents. You need to at least recognize it when you see it, and
know where to look for the meaningful stuff. But all this is
specialized - it depends on your OS, dev environment, and language. I
have relied heavily on "Inside Visual C++" by Kruglinski, but it's way
out of date already (for VC++ 5.0). It got me into MFC and COM -
important for what I do.

I'm rambling... At some level you will need to choose a language,
environment, and purpose to guide you to a deeper understanding of one
small area of a vast domain. Where is your company going? Head in that
direction. What programming tools do your developers use? Learn them -
even if you have to buy them. Buy a developer dinner, and get a
hands-on tutorial in project setup. (Spend another dinner on learning
their version management system.) That plus a basic understand of the
language's paradigm, plus the language docs (reference/tutorial), and
you're on your way.
--
Chris Despopoulos, maker of CudSpan Freeware...
Plugins to Enhance FrameMaker & FrameMaker+SGML
http://www.telecable.es/personales/cud/
c...@telecable.es

jan...@who.int

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Jul 17, 2003, 3:39:48 AM7/17/03
to TECHWR-L, TECH...@lists.raycomm.com

Hi, Karen,
It depends on where you want to go. If you want to be able to work with the
code in a very directed way, getting an intro to programming book in your
language of choice is fine. If you want to understand the concepts behind
the code as well (as a technical technical writer, I find this really
necessary), start with the basics and add the language-specific books as you
go.

One of the original tomes of programming is *The C Programming Language,*
which was written by two of the gods if you will of programming: Brian
Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie. Yes, it's about C, not C++ or C# or Java or
whathaveyou, but C is where it pretty much started and many of the
constructs in other languages started there. It's pretty dense, although by
programming book standards relatively short.

I'd also suggest going to your local college bookstore and perusing their
intro to programming course books. Find something that speaks to you and
inspires you (don't laugh, it's possible!). Don't go to the commercial trade
books section; actually go to where you would if you were buying books for
your classes. You'll get a good overview of the things that today's faculty
think are important. Make sure, of course, that the college you select has a
decent comp sci dept first!

If you are doing OO programming, get a general reference book on OO
programming as well. Anything from O'Reilly is great. Wrox and Que are also
good. CMP Media has good stuff, as well (disclaimer: I also edit for CMP
Media). CMP is also the publisher of Dr. Dobb's Journal.

I asked a colleague here who was a comp sci professor at a college in
Massachusetts (just quit to come here). He also suggested the "Thinking in
C++" or "Thinking in Java books" by Bruce Eckel.

Also, books by Bjarne Stroustrup are handy. He writes on C++.

Hope that helps!
Catherine

----------------------------------------------------------
Catherine Janzen
+41.22.791.1974
jan...@who.int

World Health Organization
EIP/IMD
20, Avenue Appia
1211 Genève 27
Switzerland


-----Original Message-----
From: Karen Casemier [mailto:karen.c...@provia.com]
Sent: Wednesday, 16 July 2003 7:19 PM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Learning to code on the cheap

To make a long story short, I'm getting involved with more under-the-hood

type of documentation at my company (software). I'm currently working on a

System Architecture guide, and now realize there are several other manuals


that could use some more technical detail as well. Some of these documents
are for internal use only, so they are specifically geared to a developer
audience, while others are geared at a system admin-type user audience.

<snip>

Cindy....@dukane.spx.com

unread,
Jul 17, 2003, 10:19:57 AM7/17/03
to TECHWR-L

Karen,

Barnes and Noble University has a free online course for beginning
programming that sounds interesting:

http://educate.barnesandnobleuniversity.com/educate/bn/home/catalog/overview.jsp?productId=5565&userid=2U7SVQB0FA&nhid=bn

Even if you choose not to take the course, you may wish to check out the
books listed under "Materials."

HTH,
Cindy

Dukane Communication Systems, http://www.dukane.com
A division of Edwards Systems Technology, http://www.est.net
A unit of SPX Corporation, http://www.spx.com

The information contained in this electronic mail transmission is intended
by SPX Corporation for the use of the named individual or entity to which
it is directed and may contain information that is confidential or
privileged. If you have received this electronic mail transmission in
error, please delete it from your system without copying or forwarding it,
and notify the sender of the error by reply email.

Gururaj B S

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Jul 17, 2003, 11:43:53 AM7/17/03
to TECHWR-L

----- Original Message -----
From: "Karen Casemier" <karen.c...@provia.com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <tech...@lists.raycomm.com>
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 10:48 PM
Subject: Learning to code on the cheap


|


| To make a long story short, I'm getting involved with more under-the-hood
| type of documentation at my company (software). I'm currently working on a
| System Architecture guide, and now realize there are several other manuals
| that could use some more technical detail as well. Some of these documents
| are for internal use only, so they are specifically geared to a developer
| audience, while others are geared at a system admin-type user audience.

<<Guru
It's quite common! The key to success is our eagerness to learn and a
positive mindset. You know, when you designate yourself as a technical
writer or communicator, the position/job demands you to write any genre of
technical writing. It is, of course, paramount to the success of the overall
project. Let's not confine ourselves to a certain type of documentation or
catering to a particular audience's needs.

|
| I've been doing a pretty decent job of using some source material written
by
| the developers, using my knowledge of the database, and reading the code.
| I've been doing such a passable job that one of my managers has joked
about
| having me start coding. However, I don't feel the same way. I'm having to
| rely too much on the developers - a lot of the time, I'm better off just
| scrapping their source documents completely and starting from scratch. I'm
| the type of person who hates a lot of dependencies on a project. I have no
| problem going to the developers (or any SME) with specific questions, but
I
| don't want to rely on them to actually write the material. That's my job.
| And this is the first time I've not been able to just figure it out on my
| own.
|

<<Guru
Things will definitely change..Try to minimize this dependency on others;
know what the elementary aspects of the software or code are. See what part
of the code is relevant to your documentation. To be very honest, coding is
FUN. If you are not a programming nerd, try to focus on the basic concepts
like declaring variables, IO, header files, data types, data structures,
functions. A step-by-step approach would definitely help. Remember this
golden rule..Nothing is impossible! It's all in your hands..nope, not the
code:)- the path to success. www.codeguru.com is an excellent source of
information, specifically intended for developers (both naive and expert).


| I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
| knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient. I would do a google
search,
| but I'm not quite sure where to start: do I start by trying to build a
| general understanding of programming, or do I just jump and try and learn
a
| language (currently I'm working in C++, but that will be changing - and
| other products are written in other languages). I'd like to hear from
other
| technical writers who work at this level about how they gained the
knowledge
| they needed. Online resources, books, specific training - whatever. Cheap
or
| free is best, but if there is a great course out there that can really get
| me well started, I might be able to get it approved.
|

<<Guru
You said it! Most of the times, we choose to learn only when we realize the
need to learn. I think it happens this way - learn - unlearn. To accommodate
something new, we might have to empty our memory cans! This what I mean by
unlearn. Learning too many things might lead to coagulation cascade!!!

| And this is not a thread about technical vs. non-technical writers. I feel
| this is a skill I did not need for my past projects, but I do need it
now -
| and it could lead to some other exciting projects.
|

<<Gururaj
Okay! All the very best..

Cheers
Gururaj

Gururaj B S

unread,
Jul 17, 2003, 11:53:48 AM7/17/03
to TECHWR-L

| > I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
| > knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient. I would do a google
| search,
| > but I'm not quite sure where to start: do I start by trying to build a
| > general understanding of programming, or do I just jump and try and
learn
| a
| > language (currently I'm working in C++, but that will be changing - and
| > other products are written in other languages). I'd like to hear from
| other
| > technical writers who work at this level about how they gained the
| knowledge
| > they needed. Online resources, books, specific training - whatever.
Cheap
| or
| > free is best, but if there is a great course out there that can really
get
| > me well started, I might be able to get it approved.

<<Guru
Here is what you are looking for. Check out this site:
http://www.intelinfo.com/cat1.html
This offers online courses free of charge. You could probably get a
degree/certificate. Do you require anything else?

| Cheers
| Gururaj

Mike O.

unread,
Jul 17, 2003, 12:05:40 PM7/17/03
to TECHWR-L

The good news is everything you could want to learn is
available on the web, usually free. The bad news is it
still takes lots of investment of your time to really
learn something, there's no way around that.

I learn most new stuff on the job, anyway. My learning
style is that I need a non-trivial project in order to
really learn something.

Do you want to learn to code? Or do you want to learn
to use code as a resource in your role as a TW? Those
are different things.

The specific programming language IMHO is unimportant;
most human-readable code is very similar on the
surface.

You will need to acquire a basic understanding of
program logic. I got mine in several different ways
over much time: with an undergrad Programming 101
class using Pascal, a night class in VB, some long
nights writing Word macros, some Perl scripts I wrote
in a hurry when I needed to get something done, and
lots of head-banging while trying to figure out code
on the job (Java, Perl, VB, C, C++, Forte, scripting
languages too numerous to mention).

Exception: Object-oriented programming is a little
outside this paradigm, but not too much. If you need
to follow OO code, try to find a friendly developer
who will tolerate your newbie questions - that's what
I did.

Nowadays though, mostly I use Google to find out
stuff. It's kind of scary how professionally dependent
I have become on Google.

Once you have a basic ability to understand program
logic, I don't think the specific language matters too
much for a TW, or a project manager, for that matter.
After all, TWs function more as analysts of code than
as authors or designers of code.

Two years ago I documented the internals of a server
product, mostly by reading the code. The other day,
somebody asked me what language it was in and I didn't
even remember at first (it was C++).

For a TW, reading code is not like reading a novel;
it's more like using an encyclopedia. You will almost
never *read* the code in the sense of starting at the
beginning and finishing at the end.

I treat the code as a knowledge base to be used as a
resource in my documentation work. I frame a question
I want to know about the system, and then I go find
the answer in the code. Code is even better than most
KBs because the answer is guaranteed to be there; you
just have to find it.

Mechanically, you need to make sure you (a) have *all*
the code, (b) can full-text search all the code, and
(c) have a pretty good high-level understanding of how
the code is organized. If you have all that, then you
can find the answer to any question; it's just a
matter of detective work.

Mike O.


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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Mike O.

unread,
Jul 17, 2003, 12:43:39 PM7/17/03
to TECHWR-L

Your question was about code, but I didn't see anyone
mention databases. All code eventually leads to a
database (usually), so learning about databases is the
other half of learning about code. To understand what
the code is doing with the data you'll need to know
how to safely use SQL to view the database. Also be
aware that much program logic can be stuffed inside
the database as stored procedures.

In 1994 or so, in an effort to become more 'technical'
(prompted by this list IIRC, thank you Andrew and
others) I signed up for two Continuing Ed night
classes at my local university. One was VB, the other
was Databases. I credit these two classes with
orienting me toward working with code and thus,
developers.

I was very fortunate with the database class. The
teacher was a senior data architect for a major bank.
The first half of the class was learning logical and
physical data modeling. The second half was
implementing the models in Access. Now, most
programmers would sneer if they heard about my class
in Access. But via this class, I learned perhaps 80%
of what I needed to know to work with Oracle as a TW.

Gilger.John

unread,
Jul 17, 2003, 12:53:00 PM7/17/03
to TECHWR-L

For an EASY intro to programming, try python. It is free and fun.

http://www.python.org/doc/Newbies.html

two more centavos from norte mexico or southern Nevada :)

John

Edwin Wurster

unread,
Jul 17, 2003, 1:06:02 PM7/17/03
to TECHWR-L

Cindy wrote:

| Barnes and Noble University has a free online course for beginning
| programming that sounds interesting:

|
http://educate.barnesandnobleuniversity.com/educate/bn/home/catalog/overview.jsp?productId=5565&userid=2U7SVQB0FA&nhid=bn

rest of msg deleted...

Thanks for the reminder Cindy. The course mentioned above is very good, and
helped me prepare for teaching an introduction to personal computers course,
which consisted of 25% programming concepts.

The next step, as you say, is to purchase a cookbook for a specifc language.
On the cheap, that would have to be Java or Javascript, or Visual Basic if
MS Office is installed.

Ed Wurster

856-435-7823

______________________________________________
Consulting, Programming and Maintenance
for Computer Systems and Networks
______________________________________________
Training, Technical Writing and Web Design

_________________________________________________________________
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atis

unread,
Jul 18, 2003, 12:20:14 AM7/18/03
to TECHWR-L

<<Barnes and Noble University has a free online course for beginning

programming that sounds interesting:

http://educate.barnesandnobleuniversity.com/educate/bn/home/catalog/overview.jsp?productId=5565&userid=2U7SVQB0FA&nhid=bn>>

Does one necessarily have to invest in the Course Material mentioned? Just wondering if it is *really* a free course..

Rgds

SB

_______________________________________________
No banners. No pop-ups. No kidding.
Introducing My Way - http://www.myway.com

Ann Hastings

unread,
Jul 18, 2003, 1:44:27 AM7/18/03
to TECHWR-L, tech...@lists.raycomm.com

"Does one necessarily have to invest in the Course Material mentioned?"

No, one does not. The course consists mostly of reading. I remember a few
semesters back, one of the listed textbooks was a $50 book on Java. After
the course was over, a disillusioned student complained that Java was
touched on only one week out of the 6 or 8 weeks of the class, and
certainly did not warrant getting the Java book in addition to the
others. And a DIFFERENT Java book was the listed textbook for the Java
class!


On Fri, 18 Jul 2003 00:20:14 -0400 (EDT) "atis" <at...@myway.com> writes:
| <<Barnes and Noble University has a free online course for beginning
|
| programming that sounds interesting:
|
http://educate.barnesandnobleuniversity.com/educate/bn/home/catalog/overv
iew.jsp?productId=5565&userid=2U7SVQB0FA&nhid=bn>>
|
| Does one necessarily have to invest in the Course Material
| mentioned? Just wondering if it is *really* a free course..
|
| Rgds
|
| SB


*************************************************************
Developers explain How the Product Works.
Technical writers explain How to Work the Product.
*************************************************************


________________________________________________________________
The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
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-Glenn-

unread,
Jul 18, 2003, 5:47:16 PM7/18/03
to
Hello Karen,

Karen Casemier wrote:

> I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
> knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient. I would do a google search,
> but I'm not quite sure where to start: do I start by trying to build a
> general understanding of programming, or do I just jump and try and learn a
> language (currently I'm working in C++, but that will be changing - and
> other products are written in other languages). I'd like to hear from other
> technical writers who work at this level about how they gained the knowledge
> they needed. Online resources, books, specific training - whatever. Cheap or
> free is best, but if there is a great course out there that can really get
> me well started, I might be able to get it approved.
>
> And this is not a thread about technical vs. non-technical writers. I feel
> this is a skill I did not need for my past projects, but I do need it now -
> and it could lead to some other exciting projects.

I'm just starting into the TW field and am currently 'lurking.'
Actually, this is my first day into the newsgroup, but seeing your
request I couldn't help myself in mentioning that the PERL language has
a free online site. It's dedicated to teaching the language to all who
will listen, look and learn. Since PERL is closely related to C++, its
structures and logic, this might be a good source to investigate.
Depending on what kind of OS you are running, it may necessitate
downloading the program and installing it. PERL is a scripting language
and as such, is cross platform orientated.

It would be worth your while to investigate it.

Sincerely yours,

G. Glenn Leninger
--
Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Dance like nobody's watching.
---Satchel Paige.

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