Chapter 2. Basic Programming Elements

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.

—Werner Heisenberg

Code reading is in many cases a bottom-up activity. In this chapter we review the basic code elements that comprise programs and outline how to read and reason about them. In Section 2.1 we dissect a simple program to demonstrate the type of reasoning necessary for code reading. We will also have the first opportunity to identify common traps and pitfalls that we should watch for when reading or writing code, as well as idioms that can be useful for understanding its meaning. Sections 2.2 and onward build on our understanding by examining the functions, control structures, and expressions that make ...

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