Programs As Directions

Your computer is a blind and dumb machine waiting for you to give it instructions. When you do, it follows the instructions without second-guessing them. If you tell it to do something incorrectly, it does its best to do so. To repeat, a program is a list of detailed instructions that the computer carries out.

Detail is vital to making a machine follow out your orders. Programming is not difficult; what is difficult is breaking the computer's job into simple and detailed steps that assume nothing.

To get an idea of the thinking involved in programming, think about how you would describe starting a car to someone from the past. Suppose a cowboy named Heath from the Old West appears at your doorstep, bewildered by the sights ...

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