Not to start any flame wars, I'll have to agree with Rosalyn on Python. My 
favorite, one reason is the syntax requires readablity, for instance, 
indention is part of the syntax.  And, I am running  Zope/Plone servers (since 
1992) which are written in C and python, and python scripting integrates 
really well by design.  By the way, you will see a lot of Python at Google, 
talking with some of their employees there is a lot of programming done in 
Python for internal and public use for years.  I think the book Dive Into 
Python is available free in electronic format and is highly rated.

  But my conviction has always been, use a language you like because the same 
result can be obtained from the languages you mentioned and others.  The good 
thing is, there are is a lot experience now in these different languages in 

Test the waters, and which ever you choose you may want to first checkout: 

It started out as just a Python tutorial site but has grown. From their WEB 
"Showmedo is a peer-produced video-tutorials and screencasts site for free and 
open-source software - with the exception of some club videos, the large 
majority are free to watch and download.

Follow our progress building the site with Python, Javascript, Jquery, CSS, 
HTML, Flash, etc.., plus open-source news, advocacy and just plain interesting 
stuff in the FOSS world:"

Beginner Programming    241 videos
Python  529 videos
Ruby            68 videos
Java            39 videos
Perl            6 videos
Javascript      22 videos
C               29 videos
Django  61 videos
Rubyonrails     39 videos
Turbogears      23 videos
Firefox 16 videos
Eclipse 19 videos
Vim             11 videos
Gimp            45 videos
Inkscape        21 videos
Blender 51 videos
Linux           189 videos
Openoffice      117 videos
Ubuntu  93 videos
Scribus 31 videos
Wxpython        76 videos
Pygame  12 videos
Pyopengl        32 videos
Ipython 48 videos
Wingware        34 videos

Similar to Ethan's suggestion, are there certain projects that interest you 
already, then what language do they use, Koha, Evergreen, etc..?  

And to be on the cutting edge (maybe), you might want to look at Go.  "No 
major systems language has emerged in over a decade, but over that time the 
computing landscape has changed tremendously ... The Go project was conceived 
to make it easier to write the kind of server and other software Google uses 
internally ... "  See :

>From what I've read about Go Programming Language, this would be a perfect 
candidate for a robust ILS to be written in.  I think this and languages like 
this may end up requiring the need for even faster bus speeds and faster 


On Wednesday 24 March 2010 15:24:55 you wrote:
> A newly-minted library school grad who has up to this point focused my
> studies on Rare Books and Book Arts, I've been interested in getting
> back into some programming--I took two classes in college
> (VisualBASIC), have a smattering of web design and php, MySQL,
> exposure, but I'd like to try my hand at teaching myself a language in
> my free time. My partner is a former dotcom programmer (now studying
> neuroscience) and has offered to assist when needed, so I'm not
> completely on my own (thank goodness).
> My question is, where would you recommend I would begin? What's hot
> right now in the library world? Python, PERL, Ruby? Any advice you'd
> have for a beginner like me or even recommendations for online courses
> would be extremely appreciated
> JC

Thomas McMillan Grant Bennett           Appalachian State University
Operations & Systems Analyst            P O Box 32026
University Library                                Boone, North Carolina 28608
(828) 262 6587

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