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old mainframe programmer new to PC world

Posted 21 January 2011 - 05:45 PM

I am an old mainframe programmer that has never done PC programming. After 15 years being away from programming to raise my family, I have a need to earn an income. I know very little about PCs, and nothing about PC programming. I only have an old laptop and no Internet service. The programming I did was PL/1 and some COBOL, using an IDMS database, as well as ADS/O. What programming language is best to get started, and what do I need as far as computer and software to begin? I have no money for classes, and will have to learn on my own. What do you suggest?

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#2 dorknexus  Icon User is offline

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Re: old mainframe programmer new to PC world

Posted 21 January 2011 - 05:48 PM

Grow weed.
Sell weed.
????
Profit.

But, in all seriousness, I would buy some books on C#, PHP, Ruby on Rails, SQL, these sorts of things. I think websites and web applications are one of the quickest and easiest ways to make money so I would recommended studying modern and popular technologies which support those industries.

This post has been edited by Dark_Nexus: 21 January 2011 - 05:50 PM

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#3 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: old mainframe programmer new to PC world

Posted 21 January 2011 - 06:38 PM

I am going to guess that you are trying to teach yourself C# without much guidance, a decent book or without knowing where to look. Sometimes just knowing where to look can make all the difference. Google is your friend.
Search with either "C#" or "MSDN" as the first word: "MSDN Picturebox", "C# Custom Events", "MSDN timer" etc.

But honestly, just typing away and seeing what pops up in Intellisense is going to make your self-education take 20 years. You can learn by trying to reverse engineer the language through banging on the keyboard - or you can learn by doing the tutorials and following a good "How to learn C#" book.

May I suggest picking up a basic C# introductory book? It's not that people here don't want to be helpful, but there is a certain amount of basic learning work that one should really take upon themselves before asking for help. There are so many great "How do I build my first application" tutorials on the web... There are dozens of "Learn C# in 21 days", "My first C# program" books at your local book seller or even public library.
C# resources. Start here

Build a Program Now! in Visual C# by Microsoft Press, ISBN 0-7356-2542-5
is a terrific book that has you build a Windows Forms application, a WPF app, a database application, your own web browser.

C# Cookbooks
Are a great place to get good code, broken down by need, written by coding professionals. You can use the code as-is, but take the time to actually study it. These professionals write in a certain style for a reason developed by years of experience and heartache.

Microsoft Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your productivity, Microsoft press, ISBN 0-7356-2640-5
Has many, many great, real-world tips that I use all the time.

The tutorials below walk through making an application including inheritance, custom events and custom controls.
Quick and easy custom events
Bulding an application - Part 1
Building an application - Part 2
Debugging tutorial
Working with environmental variables

Writing a text file is always one of the first things people want to do, in order to store data like high-scores, preferences and so on
Writing a text file tutorial.

These are just good every-day references to put in your bookmarks.
MSDN C# Developers Center with tutorials
Welcome to Visual Studio

Have you seen the MSDN Code Samples? They spent a lot of time creating samples and demos. It seems a shame to not use them.

  • Anonymous Delegates: Demonstrates the use of unnamed delegates to reduce application complexity.
  • Arrays: Shows how to use arrays.
  • Attributes: Shows how to create custom attribute classes, use them in code, and query them through reflection.
  • Collection Classes: Shows how to make non-generic collection classes that can be used with the foreach statement.
  • COM Interop Part I: Shows how to use C# to interoperate with COM objects.
  • COM Interop Part II: Shows how to a use a C# server together with a C++ COM client.
  • Commandline: Demonstrates simple command-line processing and array indexing.
  • Condiational Methods: Demonstrates conditional methods, which provide a powerful mechanism by which calls to methods can be included or omitted depending on whether a symbol is defined.
  • Delegates: Shows how delegates are declared, mapped to static and instance methods, and combined into multicast delegates.
  • Events: Shows how to declare, invoke, and configure events in C#.
  • Explicit Interface: Demonstrates how to explicitly implement interface members and how to access those members from interface instances.
  • Generics: Shows how to make generic collection classes that can be used with the foreach statement.
  • Hello World: A Hello World application.
  • Indexers Part I: Shows how C# classes can declare indexers to provide array-like access to objects.
  • Indexers Part II: Shows how to implement a class that uses indexed properties. Indexed properties enable you to use a class that represents an array-like collection.
  • Libraries: Shows how to use compiler options to create a DLL from multiple source files; also, how to use the library in other programs
  • Named and Optional (C# 4.0): Demonstrates Named and Optional parameters, an alternative to method overloads
  • Nullable: Demonstrates value types, such as double and bool, that can be set to null
  • Office Sample (C# 4.0): Demonstrates how Dynamic and COM Interop make it easy to call Microsoft Office in C# 4.0
  • OLEDB: Demonstrates how to use a Microsoft Access database from C# by creating a dataset and adding tables to it.
  • Operator Overloading: Shows how user-defined classes can overload operators
  • Partial Types: Demonstrates how classes and structures can be defined in multiple C# source-code files
  • PInvoke: Shows how to call exported DLL functions from C#
  • Properties: Shows how properties are declared and used; also demonstrates abstract properties
  • Python Sample (C# 4.0): Learn how to call a Python script by using the Dynamic feature in C# 4.0
  • Security: Discusses .NET Framework security and shows how to modify security permissions in C# by using permission classes and permission attributes
  • Simple Variance (C# 4.0): See how Covariance and Contravariance are supported in generic interfaces and delegates
  • Structs: Shows how to use structs in C#.
  • Threading: Demonstrates various thread activities such as creating and executing a thread, synchronizing threads, interacting between threads, and using a thread pool
  • Unsafe: Shows how to use unmanaged code (code that uses pointers) in C#
  • User Conversions: Shows how to define conversions to and from user-defined types
  • Versioning: Demonstrates versioning in C# by using the override and new keywords
  • XML Documents: Shows how to document code by using XML
  • Yield: Demonstrates how to use the yield keyword to filter items in a collection

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#4 bobc4012  Icon User is offline

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Re: old mainframe programmer new to PC world

Posted 09 July 2012 - 10:04 PM

Just found out about this site. If you plan on being a Microsoft programmer, then the two posts may make sense. If you are not sure of what systems - e.g., Linux, Apple or some others, then the best place to start is with a good book on the C language. The language was developed by Kernighan and Ritchie, who worked at Bell Labs. They were also involved with Unix, where C was used. They wrote the book, "The C Programming Language". Some related books that are also good for a beginner are books published by Sam's Publishing. Books such as "Teach yourself in 21 days" or "Teach yourself in 24 hours", etc. As you become proficient, there are a number of excellent books that dig deeper into the language. Languages such as C++, C#, JAVA, etc. have their roots in the C language. At this point, then next language I'd recommend would be Java. It is object oriented (as is C++ and others). Again, Sam's Publishing will have a series of beginner books on Java (as well as C++ and others). ANother plus is the Sam's books offer a compiler (usually a basic version), which allows you to do the examples and exercises. You can also download compilers from sites like Sourceforge (GNU C/C++). Even Java development kit is a free download. If you plan on getting into Web programming, Javascript (another C-like language) plus HTML are good to learn. Again, as you get deeper into it, there are other languages like Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, etc.

BTW, there is a lot of free help and tutorials on the internet. You can download free operating systems like Linux (a Unix-like clone). Some of the Linux distributions, like Ubuntu will allow you to install from the various Linux and open-source libraries the various compilers including a "development environment" to make it easy to write code and develop applications.

Like you, I worked in the M/F world (nearly 40 years). It is a different transition for you than for someone who started out with PCs and never worked with anything other than Windows and a Windows environment. You will also find, regardless of what you choose, it helps to get yourself certified and also connected to the internet. Good luck.
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