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Raspberry Pi For Dummies by Mike Cook, Sean McManus

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Understanding What Programming Is

technicalstuff.eps Before we dip into Scratch, we should clear up some of the jargon surrounding it. A program is a repeatable set of instructions to make a computer do something, such as play a game. Those instructions can be extremely complicated because they have to describe what the computer should do in detail. Even a simple bouncing-ball game requires instructions for drawing the ball, moving it in different directions, detecting when it hits something, and then changing its direction to make it bounce.

Programming is the art and science of creating programs. You can create programs in lots of different ways, and Scratch is just one of them. In Chapter 12, you’ll learn about Python, another one.

Scratch and Python are both programming languages, different ways of writing instructions for the computer. Different programming languages are best suited for different tasks. Scratch is ideal for making games, for example, but it’s not much use if you want to create a word processor or do some sophisticated mathematics. Using Python to create games takes longer, but it is more powerful than Scratch and gives you much more flexibility in the type of things you can get the computer to do.

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