Intro to Programming

What is programming?

Programming is all around us, from running the operating system and applications on your phone and computer to running your car engine, traffic lights, and the internet. Technically speaking, programming is the process of creating instructions for computer programs. Programs can be thought of as a sequence of steps to achieve a result. To write a program, otherwise known as coding, you will need to use a programming language.

Why Python?

Python is a very popular language for beginner programmers. We will be using it because:

  • The syntax is easy to work with.
  • It is very versatile.
  • Includes many libraries.
  • Has a large community of users.

Differences in Programming Languages

Ever since programming was developed, there have been many different programming languages introduced to enhance communication between humans and computers. Programming languages have different purposes which makes it important for you to understand when and why to use a certain language.

General-purpose vs Domain-specific Languages

Python is what's known as a general-purpose language, as it can be broadly applicable to many different areas such as web development, data science, computer applications, and more. On the other hand, domain-specific languages like HTML are designed to display documents to a web browser.

High Level vs Low-Level Languages

Higher-level languages like Python are more human-friendly in that the code is easier to understand due to its similarities to the human language. However, low-level languages, like machine language and assembly are machine oriented, where a human will have a difficult time understanding how to use it.

Interpreted vs Compiled Languages

Many programming languages like C and C++ require the use of a compiler, which converts a program into machine language before it can be run. As a result, these programs tend to be faster and have more control over hardware parts. Other programming languages like Python and Javascript are interpreted where each line of your program is processed one by one when running your program. As a result, interpreted languages are more flexible and aren't as platform dependent as compiled languages.

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