Introduction to Computer Programming

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Chapter 2
Computer programming often shortened to programming, scripting, or coding is the process of designing, writing, testing, debugging, and maintaining the source code of computer programs. This source code is written in one or more programming languages (such as Java, C++, C#, Python, etc.). The purpose of programming is to create a set of instructions that computers use to perform specific operations or to exhibit desired behaviors. The process of writing source code often requires expertise in many different subjects, including knowledge of the application domain, specialized algorithms and formal logic. Introduction of computer programming

Writing software, computer programs, is describing how to do something.   In its simplest form, it is a lot like writing down the steps it takes to do something - a process.  But, if what you need to do is not obvious or it involves multiple objects (each with their own process) writing the program will challenge you like when you are solving puzzles.  So, writing a computer program can be like composing music, like building a house, like creating lots of stuff.  It has been argued that in its current state, it is an Art, not engineering.  An important reason to consider learning a bit about how to program a computer is that the concepts underlying it will be valuable to you, regardless of whether or not you go on to make a career out of it.  One thing that you will learn quickly is that a computer is very dumb.  It does exactly what you tell it to do, which is not necessarily what you wanted.  Programming will help you learn the importance of clarity of expression.

A deep understanding of programming, in particular
the notions of successive decomposition as a mode
of analysis and debugging of trial solutions,
results in significant educational benefits in
many domains of discourse, including those
unrelated to computers and information technology
per se.

(Seymour Papert, in "Mindstorms")

Computers have proven immensely effective as aids
to clear thinking. Muddled and half-baked ideas
have sometimes survived for centuries because
luminaries have deluded themselves as much as
their followers or because lesser lights, fearing
ridicule, couldn't summon up the nerve to admit
that they didn't know what the Master was talking
about. A test as near foolproof as one could get
of whether you understand something as well as
you think is to express it as a computer program
and then see if the program does what it is
supposed to. Computers are not sycophants and
won't make enthusiastic noises to ensure their
promotion or camouflage what they don't know.
What you get is what you said.

(James P. Hogan in "Mind Matters") But, most of all, it can be lots of fun!!!

An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development. An IDE normally consists of a source code editor, build automation tools and a debugger. Some IDEs contain compiler, interpreter, or both, such as Microsoft Visual Studio and Eclipse; others do not, such as SharpDevelop and Lazarus. The boundary between an integrated development environment and other parts of the broader software development environment is not well-defined. Sometimes a version control system and various tools are integrated to...
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