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What is Computer Programming?

Introduction

A computer, by itself, knows absolutely nothing. It doesn’t even know how to display information on a screen or access a hard drive for data. It doesn’t know how to access the Internet nor does it know how to play a sound. Despite popular belief, computers know absolutely nothing.

But computers are very good at following and repeating instructions flawlessly and very quickly. This is what makes these machines so powerful.

Someone had to write the instructions, called code, to make the computer do everything that we take for granted. Your ability to view this document and my ability to compose it alone took millions of instructions.

Computer programming is the act of writing code that is interpreted by the computer to carry out some repeatable task.

Despite popular belief, computers do not make mistakes (at least, not unless there is a physical problem with the computer.) Computers always do exactly what they are told to do. However, programmers don’t always instruct the computer correctly. When this occurs, it is referred to as a bug. A bug can have varying degrees of severity. Some bugs can cause the computer to become unresponsive and others are mere annoyances.

There are many reasons why bugs are introduced into software, such as laziness on the part of the programmer, a misunderstanding of a particular feature of a programming language, or just not enough time to test every feature thoroughly. One way to write solid code is to understand the fundamentals and follow “best practices” – which are conclusions that other programmers have come to after years of experience.

Supplemental Readings for the Express Edition Videos Copyright © 2005 LearnVisualStudio.NET

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