Atma Xplorer

Xploring Games, Computing, Photography

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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