Looking for feedback on a Lua tutorial

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davisdude
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Looking for feedback on a Lua tutorial

Post by davisdude » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:01 pm

I'm starting a Lua tutorial and I'm looking for some feedback on how it could be improved. You can find it here.

Any feedback is welcome :)

Thanks
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CaptainMaelstrom
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Re: Looking for feedback on a Lua tutorial

Post by CaptainMaelstrom » Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:24 pm

Thanks for writing. Seems like a pretty good tutorial.
On the whole, I prefer tutorials like this:
http://tylerneylon.com/a/learn-lua/

But then again, I've had previous programming experience. I still would think a complete beginner might benefit more from following along from a video on youtube. But if they have questions that aren't explained or prefer text (as I do), then your tutorial becomes a great resource.

Regardless, I'm sure you will get a good number of hits from Google searches on lua tutorials. Just from a cursory proofreading I noticed you spelled sentence as "sentance". Other than that, seems all good.

davisdude
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Re: Looking for feedback on a Lua tutorial

Post by davisdude » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:23 am

Thanks for that! I wouldv'e thought Vim spell would would've flagged* that as a a typo :P

I prefer tutorials like that as well, but I'm actually writing this for my brother, who knows next-to-nothing about programming.

* edit: Code tags don't get spell-check
Last edited by davisdude on Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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D0NM
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Re: Looking for feedback on a Lua tutorial

Post by D0NM » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:54 am

davisdude wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:23 am
I'm actually writing this for my brother, who knows next-to-nothing about programming.\
It is a very nice tutorial. I bookmark it. Please, do continue it.
Also, it looks like a plan of a video tutorial.

As one of the pros I see
the "source code with intentional errors"
To run it and see the result.

PS Video tutorials might help you bro as well. Good luck!
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davisdude
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Re: Looking for feedback on a Lua tutorial

Post by davisdude » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:07 pm

D0NM wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:54 am
It is a very nice tutorial. I bookmark it. Please, do continue it.
Also, it looks like a plan of a video tutorial.
I have been thinking about doing a video tutorial for a while... maybe once I finish the text based one I may. My main problem with video-based tutorials is that they're much harder to update to reflect changes. With a text-based version, it's easier to incorporate suggestions that other people make. For instance, my brother found one part really confusing, so I was able to expand on it much more easily.
D0NM wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:54 am
As one of the pros I see
the "source code with intentional errors"
To run it and see the result.
That's actually one of the big problems I had with most of the tutorials I found when I was looking for a good one for my brother: most of them taught you how to code, but few of them taught you how to debug, which, in my opinion, is probably more important for a beginner, since that's when you're most prone to make clumsy typos and not catch it.

Another one of the points of the tutorial is to become somewhat computer-literate, i.e. teaching basic command-line techniques and editing the path environment variable.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. :)
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Re: Looking for feedback on a Lua tutorial

Post by alloyed » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:29 am

I don't have a real complaint, but more of a difference of opinion I guess

While I def value computer literacy, I think (for me at least) the single least interesting thing about programming is the part where you wrestle with your OS or tools to get them to do the thing you want them to.

Starting out with it feels a bit like introducing someone to piano by teaching them scales and modes: it's important stuff but it kills your motivation to finish the tutorial unless you already have the insane amount of patience learning a skill will eventually develop in you anyways.

I don't think this is something you have fix, except to say there's got to be a nicer way to install lua and an editor onto somebody's computer. I remember when I first learned python it was preinstalled on my parents laptop, and included a built-in tutorial and IDE. Honestly, it was a trash IDE, and not a great tutorial, but I never had to fiddle with my OS to get started, which I really value

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Re: Looking for feedback on a Lua tutorial

Post by davisdude » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:30 am

alloyed wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:29 am
the single least interesting thing about programming is the part where you wrestle with your OS or tools to get them to do the thing you want them to.
I agree. I tried to keep those parts short and concise. Plus, all they're doing is downloading the Windows binary, not building it from source or anything like that. I don't think it's that big of a hassle to download a zipped folder, extract its contents, then edit the path variable. Of course, I may be wrong. That's just my opinion.

I guess I could have people use ZeroBrane, but I've never personally used it so I wouldn't be as good at explaining things about it. But it does come with several Lua versions already installed, which makes it an attractive option. I may have to consider looking into it some.

One of the reasons that I suggest Notepad++ instead of something more featured, such as ZeroBrane or Atom, is because I've always personally had a bit of a problem with really bulky editors because I feel like you have to have a whole section devoted to learning how to use all the features of the editor (I do use Vim though, so I don't have much room to talk there :P), plus dealing with slight interface changes between versions and things like that. For beginners, though, I feel like taking the "magic" out of the equation makes it easier for them to grasp what's going on. Having to actually read the error and determine what went wrong is (IMO) much more beneficial than the editor pointing out exactly what was wrong. It's like math: you reinforce your learning by looking through your mistakes. Plus, really advanced things like style linters that point out weird formatting will only confuse most people when they're starting. Of course, these can be disabled, and may not even be on by default, I don't know. Some of these are just based on observations I had with classmates of mine that learned Python who were unable to do even simple tasks without the IDE.

Another reason that I include bits of information on the command line is that people will have to learn about the command line eventually if they plan to do much with programming (though it can be avoided for a while). I personally think it's better to slowly integrate it over time. Of course, I may be wrong (it's been a while since I was a beginner ;)). Many programming tools, such as LuaRocks, only have a CLI. I know that, at least for me, I was totally inexperienced with those things and I actually almost quit programming because of my frustration with the Git CLI (though there is a GUI version these days).

Anyway, that was really long and probably sounded kind of like a rant. Sorry about that. :)
If you'd like to, you can make a PR. I'll check out ZeroBrane in the next couple days and may include it in the guide if I think it's straight-forward enough. I've heard good things about it, but never actually tried it out myself. You're welcome to try to persuade me if you like.

Do you think the parts about the command line should be totally removed or pushed off for later?
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Re: Looking for feedback on a Lua tutorial

Post by D0NM » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:32 am

davisdude wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:30 am
Do you think the parts about the command line should be totally removed or pushed off for later?
Put them into another file and leave a ref :D
ZeroBrane is quite straight forward with all the intelli-stuff just right out of the box.
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