Seven Languages, Seven Weeks, the beginning

A couple of days ago I got an ad for a new book, still in beta, from the Pragmatic Bookshelf – Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages, by Bruce Tate. The book covers some key concepts in seven different languages (Clojure, Haskell, Io, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, and Ruby) over the course of seven weeks, with the discussion of each language broken up into bite-size “days” of discussion, examples, and coding assignments. The idea (which I totally buy into) is that seeing how different languages with different programming paradigms handle various problems will improve one’s understanding of programming overall.

According to the author, he used an online poll to choose the languages, and then made a few tweaks – JavaScript was just too popular, Python was too like Ruby, etc. While it’s not exactly the list I would have chosen – Io? Prolog? – it’s a pretty buzz-worthy collection. Since I already know Python, I’m happy enough that it didn’t win out over Ruby.

The seven in seven thing is sort of a gimmick, I suppose, but a darned good one. I’ve always liked the idea of learning different languages, both human and programming, and this will give me a framework to hit some of the programming languages I’ve had on my list for a while.

My plan is to post my reactions as I work through this grand tour of languages, particularly from a Python perspective. It begins with Ruby, which unsurprisingly seems pretty familiar, but then I’ve only covered one “day” so far.

Now if only someone will come up with a similar book for human languages that includes Hindi, Mandarin and Finnish, I’ll be set for the rest of the year…

3 Responses to Seven Languages, Seven Weeks, the beginning

  1. Bruce Tate says:

    I’ll be following these comments. Just responded to your post on Io.

    • Vern Ceder says:

      Welcome, Bruce. You’ve taken on a daunting task, but a really worthwhile one, IMHO. I hope that my carping will give you useful feedback as you deal with the many issues of balance inherent in it. I also hope that the “negative” comments will be taken more as useful feedback – in my experience those kinds of reviews, while less pleasant for an author to read, are the truly useful ones in the end. As I was finishing my book, my biggest fear was that I was going to make some blunder and that none of my reviewers would jump on it until after it was too late. 🙂

  2. Kaylee says:


    […]Seven Languages, Seven Weeks, the beginning « Learn Python[…]…

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