Chapter 1. Not All Snakes Slither

A computer program is a set of instructions that causes a computer to perform some kind of action. It isn’t the physical parts of a computer—like the wires, microchips, cards, hard drive, and such—but the hidden stuff running on that hardware. A computer program, which I’ll usually refer to as just a program, is the set of commands that tell that dumb hardware what to do. Software is a collection of computer programs.

Without computer programs, almost every device you use daily would either stop working or be much less useful than it is now. Computer programs, in one form or another, control not only your personal computer but also video game systems, cell phones, and the GPS units in cars. Software also controls ...

Get Python for Kids now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.