Microsoft Excel has done more to bring programming to the people than anything else.

Part of it is the ubiquity, part of it is that it doesn't have the "I'm not good at programming" mental block, part of it is that it's very visual. no hidden state. very easy to find help for. and it encourages goal-oriented work.

@BestGirlGrace It can have hidden state (or near to) but those spreadsheets are the stuff of nightmares (aka people who should have graduated from excel some time ago)

@petra @BestGirlGrace Yeah, I have been wondering if there’s anything beyond excel that would make the transition to more complex use-cases more graceful instead of degenerating into piles of VBA macros, but I’m not sure it’s possible … I think the limited nature of raw Excel might be inseparable from the clarity of raw Excel. I think not being Turing-complete might be key to what makes it so usable.

@petra @BestGirlGrace Still, I wonder if there’s some way to cross, like, Excel and HyperCard.

@SenorOblong @BestGirlGrace My advice is generally Just Learn R, but that really depends on your use case

@petra @SenorOblong I like R, but I wouldn't have enjoyed learning it as my first language. I used it for a stats class, and the non-computer science students did not care for it.

· SubwayTooter · 1 · 2 · 0
@BestGirlGrace @SenorOblong I find it takes stats students (without other programming background) a couple of classes to properly get it, at least when it's only being taught in the context of being a tool for specific problems and not for it's own sake? But ymmv
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