Technical people have got to be some of the most challenging types of folks to listen to while trying to learn about technical things. That’s a pretty big statement, but I think I’ve lived long enough to realize that it’s got some merit. I’m sure we can all remember back to high school or college when we had that very, very qualified teacher or professor. While they were teaching, you just couldn’t seem to grasp what they were talking about. And it seems that the smarter they were, the more of a challenge they had at getting their point across.
ME: Hey, I’m playing around and I want to get that annoying little box to pop up in my browser. How do I do that?
HIM: Just alert it from the console.
Let’s just say, there are a lot of assumptions flying around out there and in order to get good at something, we need to start at the beginning. The real beginning.
Before I go any further, I’m going to give you my credentials. Since I’m just starting out, you already know I’m no expert. I do have a pretty good idea of how to explain things though, especially to beginners.
Introduction to Programming
Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals with Simon Allardice
ME: Show up you little box!
COMPUTER: I really don’t know what you’re saying. I don’t even have ears. Perhaps if you asked me in a way I understood, we’d both be happier.
ME: Okay, fine. How about:
alert("Hello! I am an alert box!");
COMPUTER: Ah, now you’re speaking my language.
It’s like learning any language. As an English speaker, if I wanted to ask where the bathroom was and eventually go there while visiting France, I’d need to ask a French person in their language. I’d say something like, “Où sont les toilettes?” If I did that, I’d end up in the bathroom. If I simply said, “Where is the bathroom?”, I’d get a funny look. The same look the computer gave me when I begged it to pop up an alert box.
Some More Formal Definitions
Programming Language – A programming language is a formal constructed language designed to communicate instructions to a machine, particularly a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs to control the behavior of a machine or to express algorithms. (read more)
Dynamic Programming Language – You can read all about what makes a computer programming language dynamic versus what makes is static right here.
Interpreted Programming Language – An interpreted language is a programming language for which most of its implementations execute instructions directly, without previously compiling a program into machine-language instructions. The interpreter executes the program directly, translating each statement into a sequence of one or more subroutines already compiled into machine code. (read more)
Object-Oriented Programming Language (OOP) – Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a programming language model organized around objects rather than “actions” and data rather than logic. Historically, a program has been viewed as a logical procedure that takes input data, processes it, and produces output data. (read more)
Scripting Language – A scripting language or script language is a programming language that supports scripts, programs written for a special run-time environment that can interpret (rather than compile) and automate the execution of tasks that could alternatively be executed one-by-one by a human operator. (read more)
Wrapping It Up
I think I’ve covered most bases here. I think the best thing about writing this type of thing out, for me anyway, is that I have to do research. Every time I look for a definition of something, I have to read it to make sure it fits into what I’m trying to convey. Each time I read it, I learn and that’s what it’s all about.