Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Homeschooling Moms Homeschooling Moms

Kickbutt's How To...Programming

Posted by on Jun. 22, 2012 at 7:50 AM
  • 1 Replies
(did anyone else hear the "DUN-DUN-DUUUN" when they opened this post? LOL)

Whether you child is wanting to make a fan page, or you are looking to start your own online business, or you need to fix a program that just keeps jamming on your computer, understanding programming can be an integral part of today's society. And it's not that difficult to understand. Think of it like learning a foreign language.

What exactly is programming?
“Programming” is the process of writing instructions that the programming language uses to tell the computer what to do. Of course the explanation can get much more detailed and complicated than that, but that is a good basic idea for the beginner. Programming can be done on any platform (“platform” generally refers to the combination of hardware and software you are using – for example, AMD processor and Windows XP) you are likely to be using to read this page. We will assume that most beginners are likely to be using Windows, but you can write similar programs for other platforms such as those using Unix, Linux, or MAC operating systems.
 
Can I figure this programming stuff out?

Although much of the material you might pick up in a bookstore or see on the internet seems very dense and hard to understand, programming isn’t all that difficult. Anyone who can follow a set of rules and use logic to solve a problem can program. Anyone functioning in society today is capable of that! Programming highly complex projects obviously gets more difficult, but let’s not put the cart before the horse.

To program successfully, you need to be able to write instructions in a programming language (rules), and order those instructions to achieve the results you desire (logic). You do this every day: To cook food (even if you microwave), you take ingredients, follow some steps, and get the result of the fully prepared food. To get ready for bed at night, you do a few tasks a certain way – brush your teeth, change clothes, get in bed, etc. – and in a certain order to achieve the result of being ready to properly sleep.

If you can think these things through, you can program. The rest is just semantics.

One overriding concept to keep in mind – programs cannot read your mind. When programming, the computer will only do exactly what you tell it, no more, no less. If the program has a result that is not what you intended, you either forgot to tell it something it needed to know or do, and told it to do something incorrectly or in an unintended way. This may seem to be a simple concept, but it is very important to keep in mind when thinking through your program writing.

 What do I need to know no matter what programming language I use?

There are some things you will need to use no matter what programming language you use. Listed below are some concepts that apply to most (if not all) languages. Read through them and you will start to get an idea what types of things you will need to learn to begin programming. If it seems like a lot right now, don't worry! The basic concepts you need to know you will learn one by one as you start programming. The concepts will build on each other until it all comes together and makes sense!

Variables – variables in programming are similar to variables you might remember from your algebra classes. Instead of just holding numbers, variables in programming can hold numbers or text (among other things). Commonly used variable types are: Integer – a whole number (no decimal), Double or Float – a number with a possible decimal, String – a string of letters, words or numbers looked at as text, Boolean – a variable that can be set to either TRUE or FALSE, useful in executing program controls once you get more involved in programming.

Operators – Operators are what you use in a program to work on a variable. Common operators are + (addition) , -(subtraction), /(division), *(multiplication), =(assignment of value, as in X=4), ++(increments an integer by 1), --(subtracts 1 from an integer).

Braces – {} - also called curly braces. These are used to control program flow. Everything in the braces is to be executed as a group. Think of it like this. In the file "Getting Ready" you would have {take a shower, get dressed, blow dry hair, put on shoes, leave the house} all things associated with getting ready, but they are, in themselves, different things. The bracket just means you do them todethr.

Functions – Again similar to their usage in algebra, functions are used to do some work (often, but not necessarily, on a variable) to obtain a result.

Include files – Many languages use include files, and this is usually done at the top of the program code. Include files contain some information that the program needs to know in order to run the code contained in the program. Instead of copying all the code into the program (which can take up space and get complex), the compiler will look for the instructions on how to execute the item in the include files as well as the code you have written.

How do I create a webpage and put it on the internet?

Your first step will be to design the content you want – text, graphics, number of pages, etc. Once you do so, you can use an HTML editor (or a text editor for PHP/MySQL, etc.) to format the content the way you would like. Easy enough, right?

Your next step will be to figure out how you want the page hosted. If you have an aol account, they provide free webspace under an address like members.aol.com\yourscreenname\ and you can post your pages there. If you don’t have aol, other hosts like geocities or tripod might offer free webspace, but understand that they will probably put advertising and/or popups on your site. When you get a free web host, you really get what you pay for. You can register your own domain name (like www.mywebspace.com) for about $15 per year and set up hosting for that domain with a web host using packages that start at about $5 per month. Be aware that the process varies per web host, so read their instructions carefully. Keep in mind that all hosts will support HTML, but if you want to use PHP or MySQL you will want to make sure the package you are buying supports what you want to use. This will usually be clearly listed in the package specs, and usually you will have to get the second package up (as opposed to the cheapest package) to get MySQL support.

Once you have purchased your package, your web host will give instructions on how to upload a page. If you purchased web hosting you will want to find a free FTP program to use to easily transfer files, Core FTP is one freeware/shareware program that is easy to configure and use, but there are many others. The web host will give guidance on how to configure the FTP client and send the pages to their server to be seen by the world.

Database creation – if you are going to be using MySQL for database access, you will need to create and set up the database for use. Your web host will provide instructions on how to create the database on their server, and you can connect to the database and create tables on it using PHP scripts.

  The days of C++ being the master of programming are over. There are not tons of asker programs to learn and work with -

PYTHON- http://wiki.python.org/moin/BeginnersGuide
MySQL (for creating a database) http://www.mysql.com/
Microsoft ACCESS, there is even a free ebook guide! (http://www.ebooksdownloadfree.com/Programming-general/Microsoft-Access-VBA-Programming-for-the-Absolute-Beginner-BI18430.html) http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/access/
CSS (cascading style sheets) helps one learn the language that denotes the LOOK of a we page, fond, colors, etc. http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/

 Home Educators Toolbox  / Articles / Kicbuttmama's Crazy Lapbooks / Kickbuttmama's Home Education
Albert Einstein -- 
   "Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid." 

by on Jun. 22, 2012 at 7:50 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-1):
oredeb
by on Jun. 22, 2012 at 11:22 AM

 good post shannon

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)