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Re: Ideas for a Guile tutorial to go with the new site

From: Alex Sassmannshausen
Subject: Re: Ideas for a Guile tutorial to go with the new site
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2015 11:35:12 +0100
User-agent: mu4e 0.9.13; emacs 24.5.1

Hi Chris,

Christopher Allan Webber writes:

> Christopher Allan Webber writes:
>> Hello!
>> So I've been thinking a bit about what a friendly "intro" tutorial would
>> look like that could fit with the direction the site is heading.  I came
>> up with some ideas I wanted to capture before I totally lost them.
> Well I started implementing this.
> Here's the code:
> It's using the excellent Skribilo.  (I had *no idea* just how excellent until
> I started this... amazing stuff!)

Indeed, that looks pretty neat!

> So:
>> I think we can keep with the kids playing with robot toys idea and
>> stretch that a bit.  Here's a brief outline:
>>  - Intro
>>  - Getting up and running
>>    (picture of one of those robots with a wind-up-toy-key on its back?)
>>    + How to start guile from the command line, add readline support
>>    + Editor setup, simple
>>      Details how to write some scheme with any editor, maybe makes a
>>      free software editor recommendation of something simple that's not
>>      too hard to get going with Scheme.  Would GEdit work?
>>      Shows how to write a file and then import it at the REPL,
>>      then reload it as you add things.
>>      Teaches the basic idea of writing code in a file + playing at the REPL.
>>    + Editor setup, advanced: Emacs + Geiser
>>      Explains that this is the advanced, but recommended version.
>>      It takes some time to get started with if you are not already an
>>      emacs user, but you may want to come back to it later.  Explains
>>      how to set things up.
> I've gotten this far.  The rest of the stuff below still needs to be
> done.

That's looking pretty good.  Personally I'm not sure about the
positioning of the bit about text editors — it feels like it is a little
tangential to getting Guile up and running.  It feels like perhaps it
should be mentioned later (e.g. when you actually mention storing stuff
in a .scm file?

(also, it kind of acts as a mental barrier to just firing up Guile and
having a go — which is, I think, the playful feeling you want to instil
in your readership?)

> I'm still interested in mixing this with sirgazil/Lusis's drawings if he
> is.

I think that would be great!

> I haven't gotten into the fun part of the tutorial yet, but I'm kind of
> optimistic.  The remaining parts are below.  What do people think, is
> this worth spending the time on?  And might we want to put it on the
> Guile website officially at some point...?
>>  - First steps
>>    Much like The Little Schemer uses food as variable names, I think
>>    it's a good idea to stick with abstract fun concepts.  Here, I think
>>    it would be great to continue along with the "Guile is a playground,
>>    come play!" idea by using toys as variable names, and defining
>>    procedures that evoke nostalgia for older programmers and sound
>>    playful for younger ones.
>>    Some ideas:
>>      + could use building lists as putting toys in and out of a toy
>>        chest
>>        (define toy-chest '(robot teddy-bear doll-with-comb toy-soldier))
>>      + could have a simple-bake-oven set of procedures that takes
>>        arguments like flavor and dessert-type:
>>          #> (define (simple-bake-oven flavor dessert-type)
>>               (format #f "Yum!  You made a tasty ~a flavored ~a!"
>>                       flavor dessert-type))
>>          #> (simple-bake-oven "banana" "cake")
>>          $20 = "Yum!  You made a tasty banana flavored cake!"
>>        and then we can increase the advanced features a bit:
>>          #> (define* (fancy-bake-oven flavor dessert-type
>>                                      #:optional topping)
>>               (if topping
>>                   (format #f "Yum!  You made a tasty ~a flavored ~a covered 
>> in ~a!"
>>                           flavor dessert-type topping)
>>                   (format #f "Yum!  You made a tasty ~a flavored ~a!"
>>                           flavor dessert-type)))
>>          #> (fancy-bake-oven "mint" "ice cream" "chocolate fudge")
>>          $21 = "Yum!  You made a tasty mint flavored ice cream covered in 
>> chocolate fudge!"
>>        Yes... the fancy bake oven version is so fancy it can even bake
>>        ice cream! ;)
>>      + Introduce modules as extensions for our robots.
>> I'm sure there are other things!  But I think a tutorial in this style
>> might be fun, and would fit the site well.  And the desire for a good
>> tutorial has been expressed many times.
>> What do others think?

I definitely still think this is a really cool way to go.  I'd probably
think that you'll want to walk a fine line between playfulness and over
the top childishness — and that line will be different for different
people I guess! 8-|

But I think it's a cool initiative, that would have really helped me if
it had been available on the Guile website when I first started learning

As an aside, what's the best way to pass you "editorial" feedback (typos
and such) — as git patches or as inline corrections?



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