Atma Xplorer

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Guide to Programming Series: Week 1

Random Pic on ProgrammingAfter taking my refresher course on Java (which was basically getting down and dirty with coding), I decided to make a Programming Series that aims to help beginners with cope with the basics of programming and eventually Java (hopefully VB.NET, then PHP in the long run) and to replace the currently defunct Software Review Series.

Keep in mind that most of the information I’ll be posting will have been derived mainly from books and/or popular knowledge that I’ve encountered.  I’m not an expert but I know what works and I feel I’m competent enough to share my knowledge.  Comments, suggestions and even violent reactions are welcome.

I’ll focus on the pure basics of programming for now so if you feel you’re competent on the field, subscribe to my feeds and come back a bit later in time for the more advanced lessons or check out some of my past posts on software development. I’m still deciding on the schedule of the series but it’ll likely be just weekly so I can cope up with my OJT, school matters and social life (wait! I have a social life?!? O.o)

What is computer programming?

Like many of your books on computing and, although it’s a long shot, electronics, Computer Programming, or programming, coding, or scripting depending on your discipline, is defined as the process of writing instructions that tell the computer what to do, how to do it and what not to do. Without programs, our computers and gadgets would be just sleek pieces of paper weight.

Programming isn’t difficult

It can be time consuming as well as frustrating.
Programming requires as much patience as if you are instructing a child. You can tell a computer what to do unless you specify what it’s supposed to do, not do and how to do it. In a very literal sense, computers are completely stupid because you need to tell them how to do everything as well as provide contingencies if something go wrong.
For example, you’re a giving a friend instructions to get to your house.

  1. Go to the terminal.
  2. Ride a bus going to Cavite
  3. Get off at Island Cove.
  4. Cross the street and look for road between 2 stores.
  5. Take the road until you see a green house.

As an example, let’s make your friend THAT stupid and he asks for additional information like:

  1. Where is the bus terminal?
  2. Is the bus headed to Cavite Town Proper or an adjacent town?
  3. What if I can’t get off at Island Cove, where’s the next stop? Can I get off before Island Cove?
  4. What is there’s more than one road that fits that description? How can I tell?
  5. What if all houses in the area are green?

Frustrating isn’t it? Unless you specify everything that you want the computer to do and exactly how to do it, the computer just plain doesn’t do what you want it to do.

How does a computer program work?

Technically speaking, a computer is just a collection of huge number of transistors with a storage device and a power supply. To make the computer do something useful rather than just suck power, you must give it instructions:

  • Write a program, which tells a computer what to do, step-by-step, much as you write out a recipe.
  • Buy or download a program that someone else has already written that tells the computer what to do.

Programs are basically what turns your computer into it’s useful form. Without them, surfing the web, typing your reports and even watching movies would be virtually impossible. A program tells your computer EXACTLY what to do and nothing more. Like a boss ordering his employees around, you may get the occasional crash and malfunctions like a deviant member of the staff not following as ordered.

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Comments ( 5 )

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  1. Mark November 30, 2007 Reply

    Enrolling a few courses is a great way to learn the basics. from there you can start practicing and improving the way you code. I learned from doing small programs to focus on various topics and reading different books. I always do one or two small programs a week just for practice, trying out the new things I’ve read. i also learn faster when someone is teaching it to me directly rather than reading it from books.

  2. Teejay December 1, 2007 Reply

    A Guide to programming! I hope to read more on this series. I am also conjuring up some tutorials on my website but it will be on web development.

    Keep in mind that most of the information I’ll be posting will have been derived mainly from books and/or popular knowledge that I’ve encountered.

    Don’t worry. Personal experience is much better than those being read on books.

  3. McBilly December 1, 2007 Reply

    Cool new series sylv3rblade! The introduction was sweet and very informative. I’ve been looking into going deeper with programming but sometimes it’s just hard because of the lack of time. Plus like you said, there are already lots of classes and free softwares that you can find in the internet.

    Anyway, I’ll be looking forward to more of your programming tips. Hoping that I could get several tips and improve on my programming skills.

  4. sylv3rblade December 1, 2007 Reply

    @Mark
    Everyone has his own “thing” when it comes to learning but newbies tend to get whatever they can get their hands on so this series (as of the moment) is targeted at them.

    @Teejay and McBilly
    Thanks XD. I’ve already laid out my uhh.. Lesson plan for the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy them.

  5. Mark December 2, 2007 Reply

    yes and what i just said is what I did. I’m not suggesting that they do the same thing. Anyway, keep it up. I’ll keep on reading.

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