Introduction to Programming, in English

Posted on 13 August 2019 in development

Like any spoken language, programming language has its own syntax and semantics. This mean that it has its own set of vocabulary and sentence structure. Syntax or vocabulary are words that the computer understands. Semantics help the computer make sense of the instruction. A program or a script is a set of instructions. Sections or the whole of the program are codes.

To our predicament, computers are very particular on words and its arrangement. If we use the wrong words or if their arrangements are off by even a little, the program stops and throws an error. That is, if we’re lucky, sometimes, there‘s only silence.

But errors are not scary. They’re responses from the program, telling us, the programmer, what requires fixing — A bug. Debugging is the action of fixing this error.

When we speak, we anticipate response. A program response is an output from our instruction. Response may come in the form of information or action. As mentioned earlier, an error is also a response. It’s a way for a program to tell us that they cannot complete the instruction successfully.

As in spoken language, intonation plays a role too. It tells us if a sentence is an instruction, an information, or a question. In programming language print is not the same as ”print”, and Hello is not the same as hello. There are words reserved for instructions, and cannot be used as names.

There‘s no use for words if there are no stories. And stories are essentially information. Information is data. There are many types of data in programming, there are characters and numbers to name a few. We can also give a reference or name to a piece of data. You don’t need to say “The guy who always wear a black t-shirt” every time you refer to me, you can call me by my name Fitri.

Finally, like spoken language, programming is not impossible to learn. There are sentences that are hard to understand, especially if we have not heard them before. We refer to dictionaries (documentations), examples, or even videos. All you need is the willingness to learn.