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For 2023 - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))
Is Java the right language to learn?

It's so important to make the correct learning and career choices, and as a parent I've watched and helped and guided, somewhat, my own children to the best of my ability. But in a fast changing world, it's hard to know what advise to give to a teenager ... or his concerned parents ... The following advise is carefully anonymised from an answer that I wrote recently - I thought it worth sharing. Any readers are very welcome to get back to me with queries, though of course I can't open the offer of a couple of hours to talk it through to the whole world and his dog.

"""We used to run public Java courses, but finding that many smaller organisations are using Java for the wrong reasons, we no longer do so. It's pretty soul destroying to teach something that's not really the right tool for the job it's been chosen for ...

Java DOES have its uses. We continue to run private courses in Java deployment (especially) and it Java programming occasionally. It's a great language for companies who need big all-encompassing systems, such as the big banks and (looking near to you) folks such as xxxxxxxx in xxxxxxxx. Typically, programming there is done by larger teams of staff working together, and much of the development may be subcontracted out of the UK; that's probably why the call is for deployment rather than programming training.

Having said that, experience of learning to write "real" code provides an excellent experience and avenue on to other systems and languages for smaller systems, and from languages that are used as glueware to connect other elements together. Once someone's learnt to program in one programming language, second and subsequent languages become easier to pick up, and the experience of knowing several approaches to the same issues does huge wonders. Code can be written really well in the eventual target language, and you've got someone who is much more valuable / employable that a "I only know xxxx" person.

Where am I headed?

If your son has an opportunity to learn Java, and a real specific interest in that language for some reason, good for him. It won't be wasted time / money invested although it's likely to be an indirect route to his final career unless he wants to work within a big team as one of the Vodafones of this world. At Well House Consultants, we can't help with a public Java course for him, but he would be welcome to view / print out / use our entire material which is online at
and use our forum at
to ask questions occasionally. Both of these are free of charge.

With your son's interest in Web technologies, and with many applications rushing headlong towards browser based from ends, web coding languages such as PHP and, within Microsoft's .NET / ASP setup, Javascript (NOT the same as Java) and VB would be my primary suggestions. Other useful languages in this arena might include Python and Perl - both niches to some extent. All of these are still areas where the supply of jobs outstrips the supply of good skills and is likely to continue to do so. It's also likely that
a) These jobs will NOT all go offshore as there's a great deal of customer interfacing at design and maintainance time
b) Your son will be able to see practical results from this coding / programming efforts really quickly and this will provide much better encouragement to him than seeing only the longer term potential of other "large system" languages.

We DO offer courses in PHP (but not VB and Javascript) and your son would be welcome to look at / contact us on those. He's still young, and he might find it better - both financially and logistically - to learn with from a source that teaches lessons on (say) a one day a week or part time basis while we continues to study at school / college too. I don't know the personal circumstances in detail, so this is just a general comment and may not be totally applicable. Whatever, he (or you) are very welcome to email back ... and if you feel you would both like to chat about it and it's worth popping down to us in Melksham, I would be happy to do a few demos and talk it through one evening. Again ... no charge. These are important decisions."""
(written 2006-07-04, updated 2006-07-05)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
J601 - Java Introduction
  [25] Release numbers - (2004-08-23)
  [111] Training notes available under Open Distribution license - (2004-11-07)
  [124] PHP v Java - (2004-11-20)
  [317] Programming languages - a comparison - (2005-05-20)
  [871] Java oversold? - (2006-09-19)
  [1049] Java 6, Apache Tomcat 6. - (2007-01-21)
  [1158] Private Java Course - A customer's pictures - (2007-04-22)
  [1418] A Golf Club Decision - Perl to Java - (2007-11-01)
  [1466] Effective Java training - the bootcamp approach - (2007-12-09)
  [1497] Training Season Starts again! - (2008-01-07)
  [1557] Trying out our Java examples on our web site - (2008-02-27)
  [1766] Diagrams to show you how - Tomcat, Java, PHP - (2008-08-22)
  [1908] Java CLASSPATH explained - (2008-11-26)
  [2115] Finding your java program - the CLASSPATH variable - (2009-04-02)
  [2423] What is a JVM, a JRE, a JDK - components of the core Java Environment - (2009-09-26)
  [2536] All the Cs ... and Java too - (2009-12-13)
  [4332] First Java Application - calculating the weight of a tablecloth - (2014-11-29)

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Hot answers in PHP
New - Conditional expressions in Python 2.5
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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