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Intro

You may have never programmed before. Now you will.

What is code?

In general, code is something that stands for something else.

In computers, code is a series of instructions that tell a computer what to do.

What is coding?

  • coding (aka programming or software development) is a human activity
  • it's called code because what we write is not what the computer reads
  • to a computer, it's all ones and zeros; to us, it's words (and numerals and punctuation)

What is coding NOT?

  • coding is not mathematical
    • some logic
    • mostly just counting
  • coding is not solitary
    • most coding happens in a team
    • pair programming is awesome
  • coding is not about finding the right answer
    • there's always more than one way to do it
    • every solution has tradeoffs
    • there is always a better way, and never a perfect way
    • "The only perfect program is an empty file." - Alex

What is coding?

  • coding is fun!
  • coding is frustrating!
  • coding is creative!
  • coding is communication
    • between you and a computer
    • between you and other coders
    • between you and future you

A Program Is Like A Recipe

  • a recipe is a collection of ingredients and instructions

Grandma's Cookie Recipe

  • a program is a collection of data and code

When you are writing code, you are not baking cookies, you are writing a recipe for how to make cookies.

(recipe from popcornpottery.com)

Languages

  • every program is written in a LANGUAGE
    • like Java or Python or C or Fortran
    • even HTML and CSS and SQL are languages
    • every computer language has a silly name
  • computer languages are very specific compared to natural languages
  • different languages are useful in different areas, but there is a lot of overlap
  • today we will learn the JavaScript programming language

Errors Are Awesome

  • Don't be afraid of errors
  • Your computer is trying to help you fix your program
    • It's just really bad at communicating

If your code is a two-year-old child, then an error is a temper tantrum.

(It can take effort to figure out the underlying reason why they're upset and fix it.)

  • It's not all gibberish
  • Try to read it -- really try! -- and pull out the pearls from the pig slop

See also: What went wrong? from MDN

What will we learn today?

In this class, you will learn about:

  • The command line and why we use it
  • Strings, Arrays, Variables, Objects, Loops, Files
  • How to run your code interactively or from a file
  • How to make a very simple website run on your own computer

Follow along online! Put a browser pointed at this site on one side of your screen, and Terminal on the other.

What if I know some of this already?

  • Pair up
  • Help your partner, help your neighbor
  • Docendo discimus ("By Teaching We Learn")
  • Promote yourself to TA

The best way to learn is to teach.
- Latin proverb

Technical requirements

See the Installfest project for more instructions.

Software:


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