Before people join the community of software engineers and learn to code they usually have one question – which programming language is easу to learn? Google search offers a bunch of answers where top five, ten, six and other selections of the easy-to-understand technologies are introduced. Let’s try to find a sweet spot and provide an unbiased answer to this.
What does easy mean?
The difference between easy and complex can often be defined by actions a user needs to do to fulfill a task. The more actions, the more complex the task. For example, driving a vehicle equipped with manual transmission is more difficult than driving the automatic one due to the necessity to use the clutch pedal and the gear lever. And what are the constituent parts of a programming language that denote its easiness? These include syntax – a set of rules that define the combinations of symbols. Simply said, they are sort of grammar and spelling rules.
Another factor that easy languages can be differentiated by is a dedicated community. The more information, online resources, blogs, relevant topics, YouTube channels and other sources of data related to the language are available, the easier it will be to learn it. The community isn’t that much about the popularity of a language as it is about the ecosystem around it. For example, Ruby does not enjoy huge popularity, but the community of Rubyists is vast.
Other aspects like programming principles, architectural patterns, and other features play an important role in how easy it is to understand the language. But very often these factors are subjective.
And now, based on the above characteristics, as well as feedback of experienced polyglots, we can put together a list of worth-to-begin languages for newbies.
- Advantages: JS is suitable for beginners due to its easy syntax. The language is interpreted, which means no compiler is required. Since the interpretation is carried out line by line, the error search and correction process is very convenient. Besides, JS is platform-independent.
- Disadvantages: The language can be unfit as a starter because of being a poor example of object-oriented programming compared to other technologies. Another disadvantage is a lack of proper foundation. JS is great within web development spaces, but it loses out to competitors as of applicability to software engineering beyond the web.
This language cannot boast the popularity akin those of JS. According to the TIOBE index as of October 2018, Ruby ranks 18th. Even so, it is considered one of the most appropriate starters for those who want to become a programmer. It is often stated that Ruby was created with developers in mind meaning it brings fun and pleasure to engineers who code in it. Despite the low popularity of the language, the framework built atop it is the exact opposite. Ruby on Rails, that’s how it’s called, enjoys multitudinous supporters including GitHub and Basecamp that leverage this technology for their web apps, as well as Railsware, a web development company, which bases its activity primarily on Rails.
- Advantages: Ruby has a readable and concise English-like syntax. The language is great to introduce the basics of programming to newbies. It has built-in data structures, multiple programming paradigms, comes with dependency management, and offers a vast ecosystem. Ruby also has a decent information base for students which consists of versatile Ruby and RoR books, tutorials, blogs, dedicated YouTube channels, etc.
- Disadvantages: The language loses out to many programming languages as of performance, which is considered its major flaw. Besides, Ruby, as well as its framework, are rather opinionated technologies that displease a particular category of programmers who prefer a leeway during development.
In most ratings, PHP is below Python. However, in our opinion, it is more beginner-friendly. Besides, it bears the title of the Internet king due to a vast extent on the web spaces. Sure thing, the almighty WordPress and more than 80% of web pages are created with PHP! The language is relatively easy to learn. Moreover, there is an abundance of versatile courses dedicated to mastering the core concepts and the basics of it.
- Advantages: PHP is a flexible language, which has a low barrier of entry. It supports both object-oriented and functional programming paradigms. The technology can boast a huge open source ecosystem and community. Other advantages include an excellent debugging and a large number of automation tools.
- Disadvantages: The language is difficult to maintain due to non-modular nature. Implicit conversion may cause unexpected bugs, and that’s the issue the newbies will have to come through. Besides, PHP is not meant for creating huge apps.
To sum up, there is no language that would be the easiest for any beginner-programmer. That’s why there are so many disputes hereupon. Nevertheless, learning is the eye of the mind, and regardless of the technology you choose to master, it won’t hurt your science-driven growth.