The Basics of Computer Coding Every Beginner Should Know

Computer programming basically means giving a computer instruction of what it needs to do. And before we can get into the basics, we need to understand what a computer program is and what it does. Essentially, a computer program is a set of instructions that are written using a specified computer programming language to execute a specific command on a computer. Computer coding could be fun if you love playing with the keyboard, but it could also be a nightmare for anyone who has never done it before. All coding gurus started their programming somewhere hence it is important that you have the right basics. If you want to learn how to write your own computer programs or codes but are not sure where you should begin, we have got your back. In this article, we shall walk you through the basics of computer coding. This is what you will need to lay a strong foundation for future programming tasks and projects. Let’s get started.

Computer Coding Environment

Although an environment setup is not a crucial element of any type of programming language, it is one of the basic steps you need to follow before you can write your own computer program. The environment setup in computer coding basically means a base on which you can perform your programming tasks. As such, you will need to have the essential software setup, that is, installation on your personal computer which you will use to write your programs, compile, and execute. To get started with computer programming, you will need to have the following setup:

–              A text editor on which you can create your computer programs

–              A compiler which helps compile your programs into a binary format

–              An interpreter that will help execute your programs directly.

Insufficient exposure to computers could mean that you could have problems setting up these software tools, so it would be a good idea that you seek help from a technical person.

Text Editor – This is basically the software you will use to write your computer programs. Most computers running on Windows operating system have Notepad, a tool you can use to type your programs.

Compiler – You write your code with a programming language of your choice and save it in a file known as a program file. However, a computer will not understand the program directly given to it in text format, so you will need to convert it into a binary format, which the computer understands. A compiler software converts your program from text to a binary file, through a process called compilation.

Interpreter – As mentioned above, compilers are needed in case you will write your piece of code in a language that must later be compiled into a binary format before being executed. However, there are programming languages like Perl, PHP, and Python that must not be compiled into a binary format. In this case, an interpreter is used to read the lines of code and later execute them without having to convert them further.

Basic Syntax

Program Entry Point – All C programs start with main(), which is referred to as the main function, which is later followed by left curly brace. The remaining computer instruction is written immediately after the brace and right curly brace marks the end of the program. The coding part which is between the braces is referred to as the program body.

Functions – These are basically small units of programs and are used to perform specific tasks. For instance, a computer program could use two functions: main() as well as printf(). In this case, main() gives the entry point for executing the program and printf() is used to print the information on your computer screen. Some programming languages will use sub-routine rather than function, but the functionality is similar.

Comments – A program could have statements that are enclosed in /*…*/. These statements are referred to as comments and are often used to make lines of code user-friendly and easier to understand. Comments are completely ignored by interpreters and compilers, so they will not affect the output of your program.

Whitespaces – When writing programs using various programming languages, we use numerous printable characters to write programming statements. Printable characters are essentially any character that is visible on your keyboard, from alphabets, numbers, and special characters. Besides these characters, there are characters we use often but are not visible in a program and they include new line, tabs, and spaces. The new line character creates a new line, tab creates a tab, and space creates a space.

Semicolons – Each individual statement in your C program should end with a semicolon (;).

Failure to follow all the rules defined by your programming language means that at the time of compilation, you will encounter syntax errors and your program won’t be compiled. Regarding syntax, even a semicolon, dot or comma matters and you should be careful with these small issues.

Programming Variables and Data Types

Computer programming, direct components – altera fpga, variables could be viewed as jars which store various types of data. There are numerous types of variables used in computer coding, but we shall only look at the most basic ones.

String – This type of variable is basically a collection of alphabetic and numeric characters and permissible symbols which are usually contained between quotation marks. For instance, “Good morning world, I am 20 years old!” is a string variable. Strings could also be written within single quotation marks and are often used for storing text.

Number – This kind of variable is rather straightforward since number variables are always stored as numbers. Unlike strings, number variables are not stored within quotes and are just written as they are.

Boolean – A Boolean variable could be either of two aspects: true or false. This kind of data type could be compared to an on/off switch, thus you can ask some true or false questions in your computer code. For instance, you could ask “is the video playing?” You would get a response in the form of a Boolean variable. A true would imply that the video is playing while a false would imply it isn’t playing.