The basics of programming

The basics of programming

Introduction

Building software is like building houses. Only that in this case your tools are editors, your materials are the actual code and in some cases, you might need help to build an ‘empire’ software. While everything else can be found, coding is something you need to learn how to do it in order to build what you want. The good part when building software is that it can be completely FREE to build and very cheap to release it.

Some insights

Usually, a piece of code can be compared with real-world objects. Imagine a Tedy bear that can walk, make sounds and open his eyes. Doing that inside a software can be split into simple functions that do the action needed.

function walk() {
    // walking code
}

function makeSound() {
    // creating sound code
}

function openEyes() {
    // open eyes code
}

This example is not meant to be in a specific programming language, it’s only about breaking code into pieces. When you write code, you need to break the code into functions that have a single purpose, but we’ll discuss this later in a future post.

Code elements

A basic program can be built with only variables and functions. A variable is a symbolic name associated with a value and whose associated value may be changed. Some languages have strongly typed variables and some don’t. I will explain in a future post the types of variables that exists and other code elements.

// an easy example of variables
// Depending on the language the syntax might be different.
var a = 1; // Javascript
// ----
b = "This is a text"; // Python
// ----
$c = $a + $b; /* PHP */

Programming languages

There are a ton of programming languages and there is not yet the best one that you can choose. There are a few that are more popular than others, but depending on what you need to do, you might need to learn a new language. At first, it doesn’t really matter which programming language you learn as they share the same concepts. A few examples of popular programming languages are:

  • JavaScript is primarily a client-side scripting language used for front-end development. JavaScript is compatible across all browsers and is used to create interactive web apps, often through libraries such as jQuery and front-end frameworks such as AngularJS, Ember.js, React, and more.

  • PHP is a server-side scripting language and is usually considered beginner-friendly. It’s easy to conceptualize what the PHP code will do, which makes it easy to pick up.

  • Ruby was developed so developers can have fun and be productive at the same time. Ruby was made popular by the Ruby on Rails framework, a full-stack web framework optimized for programming happiness. As Ruby reads like English and Rails has tools that make common development tasks easier “out-of-the-box”, many would recommend learning Ruby as your first programming language.

  • Python is another highly recommended language for beginners and is the most popular introductory language at Top U.S. Universities. Developers have used Python to build desktop apps and web apps alike, and it has great tools for data mining. In addition, Python is particularly popular in academic communities for scientific computing, data analysis, and bioinformatics.

  • Swift is an open source language developed by Apple. While for this one you need a Mac to build your software, it is still a good pick for a beginner because of the powerful editor Xcode which help you build an app even without writing a single line of code.

Ready to start?

In this blog, I will go through multiple programming languages so that you can choose the one you like the most. So stay tuned and subscribe to know when new relevant content is available for you.

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