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Introduction to Coding


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Today, coding is a hot topic as everyone wants to get involved with programming for the future. In this two part series, day one will uncover tools you can use to learn about programming and get started without having any coding experience. Learn the theories of code and basic frameworks. Day two will focus on outlining bigger frameworks from web to application; and which languages can accomplish which goals.

Going further, it is important to have a basic understanding of computer programming. Although you may not become a computer programmer, knowing the basics can help you work more efficiently with software and be able to troubleshoot issues when they arise.

Published in: Software, Technology
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Introduction to Coding

  1. 1. Introduction to Coding
  2. 2. Agenda: • Understand how computers work and learn basic computer programming concepts (e.g., variables, syntax etc.) • Gain an appreciation of the various programming languages and study what they can do. • Develop a resource list of computer programming tutorials and tools. • Become inspired to learn programming basics to help you work smarter and more efficiently.
  3. 3. Is coding a cryptic visual of typed languages? Or a process? Or both?
  4. 4. Computer programming has a reputation of being cryptic and too complex for the average person; however, when you get familiar with basic programming logic you will see patterns everywhere!
  5. 5. What is computer programming? • A set of commands a computer understands – like a recipe. • Computer programs can help cure diseases; drive cars; create video games; make animated movies/graphics; build websites and apps; and much more. • Basic coding concepts are used by most every program and most every programmer. • To learn more visit
  6. 6. Why learn to code? • Why not? • Learn the importance of clarity/brevity of expression. • Be able to think and problem solve more accurately. • Have a better understanding of how technology works. • Create a tool that can make your life and many others’ lives easier.
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  8. 8. “It has often been said that a person does not really understand something until he teaches it to someone else. Actually a person does not really understand something until after teaching it to a computer, i.e., express it as an algorithm.” Donald Knuth, in American Mathematical Monthly
  9. 9. Describe in natural language how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  10. 10. Some great resources to help you learn to code
  11. 11. .com Learn to code interactively, for free.
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  19. 19. Some Other Coding Resources • Lightbot is a programming puzzle game that gives the user a one-to-one relationship with programming concepts. Try it today at! • Hopscotch: Coding for Kids is an iPad programming language. Download it today at . • wants to bring Computer Science classes to every K-12 school. Check it out at and find some excellent computer programming tutorials. • Scratch helps children create stories, games, animations, and also lets them share these projects with others around the world. More info at • is a free iPad app that brings coding to students as young as age five. • gives children opportunities to program in order to solve puzzles. is similar. • Visit Medium for a “2 minute read” listing other ideas and resources to help inspire children and teens to code. • There are several MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) and other freely available resources that offer computer programming classes. Coursera, Udacity, and Edx are great examples. Also, Khan Academy has some great resources for kids and adults too! • A Google search query for computer programming resources for kids limited to the last year can be found at
  20. 20. What is a programming language? • A programming language is set of rules that provides a way of telling a computer: • What operations to perform • Communicating an algorithm • Receives an input from the user and generates an output. • A programming language is a system for describing a computation (math) or algorithms (logic) in a machine-readable and human- readable form. • Has words, symbols, and grammatical rules (natural language) • Grammatical rules = Syntax • Each language has a different set of syntax rules • Has semantics (meaning) Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  21. 21. Tons of example code in the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment)
  22. 22. Raspberry Pi (Python) programming Blinking LED code at:
  23. 23. .org/downloadshttps://www.
  24. 24. Python Shell is where you enter commands and/or lines of code. At the prompt type: print(“Hello, world!”)
  25. 25. IDLE - Integrated DeveLopment Environment) # is a comment and the computer ignores it. The second line asks the user to enter their name and remembers it as "name.” This is a variable! The third line is a print statement, which prints the stored name.
  26. 26. demos 2. 1.
  27. 27. A Few Basic Programming Components (pretty much regardless of language) • Variables & Arrays • Operators • Flow Control • Functions Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  28. 28. Variables & Arrays • A variable is a bucket that holds one piece of information. A variable can change value when • Specific conditions are met • Based on user input • Examples (concept) • $string_myhomelibrary = “Montgomery Library”; • $numeric_variable= 100; • $myname = “Brian”; Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  29. 29. Variables & Arrays • An array is a type of variable (or bucket) that holds many pieces of information. • Example (language doesn’t matter here; the concept does): • $FavoriteCities = array(“Orlando”, “Boulder”, “Miami”) • $FavoriteCities[0] holds “Orlando” • $FavoriteCities [1] holds “Boulder” • $States = array(“1” => “Prime”; “FL”=> “Florida”, “CO” => “Colorado”) • $States[“FL”] holds “Florida” Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  30. 30. Operators • Arithmetic +, -, *, / (add, subtract, multiply, divide) • Assignment = (assign the value of 2 to the variable called v) $v = 2; += (“Add the value of 3 to the variable that already holds 1”) $v += 3; // $a now holds 5 Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  31. 31. Flow Control - Sequence • Reads like a book, the instructions are executed in the same order they where given: • OPEN the door • WALK inside the room • SIT on a chair • PICKUP a book • READ the book. Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  32. 32. Flow Control - Choice • If Then if (something is true/conditions are met) { then do this } • If Then Else • Else: XYZ • Starts the same as “If Then” but allows a result if condition is false • Else If if (something is true/conditions are met) { then do this } elseif (another something is true/conditions are met) { then do this instead } Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  33. 33. Flow Control - Continual • With continual, instructions are executed based on variables, commands, outputs, etc … as they remain true • While (or repeat) while (something is true) { do something here } • for for (something is true) { do something here } Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  34. 34. Flow Control – Putting It Together • 1) Sequence • Go to the library • Check out a book • Read the book • Return the book • 2) Choice • If you have a library card, you can check out books. Otherwise open a library card account. • 3) Repeat • Continue to read the book till there are no more pages. Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  35. 35. Functions • A function is type of procedure or routine and usually returns a value. • A procedure preforms an operation, but typically doesn’t provide a value. • Most languages have pre-built or pre-defined functions in its library. • For instance, the “delete” function means to “remove”. You don’t have to code what “remove” does; only what to remove. Defining a function in Python
  36. 36. Download it for free and get great handouts at RAPTOR is a flowchart-based programming environment. DEMO
  37. 37. FORTRAN • FORmula TRANslation. • Developed at IBM in the mid-1950s. • First programming language • Designed for scientific and mathematical applications by scientists and engineers. Traditional Programming Languages Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman COBOL • COmmon Business Oriented Language. • Developed in 1959. • Typically used for business applications.
  38. 38. BASIC • Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. • Developed at Dartmouth College in mid 1960s. • Developed as a simple language for students to write programs with which they could interact through terminals. Traditional Programming Languages (cont’d.) Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman C • Developed by Bell Laboratories in the early 1970s. • Provides control and efficiency of assembly language • Often used for system programs. • UNIX is written in C.
  39. 39. C++ • It is C language with additional features. • Widely used for developing system and application software. • Graphical user interfaces can be developed easily with visual programming tools. • Windows Based Object-Oriented Programming Languages Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman JAVA • An object-oriented language similar to C++ that eliminates lots of C++’s problematic features • Allows a web page developer to create programs for applications, called applets that can be used through a browser. • Objective of JAVA developers is that it be machine, platform and operating system independent.
  40. 40. • Scripting Languages • JavaScript and VBScript • Php and ASP • Perl and Python • Command Languages • sh, csh, bash, cmd Special Programming Languages Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  41. 41. • HTML • HyperText Markup Language. • Used on the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW). • Web page developer puts brief codes called tags in the page to indicate how the page should be formatted. • XML • Extensible Markup Language. • A language for defining other languages. Special Programming Languages Slide courtesy of Brian Pichman
  42. 42. What do you want to make?
  43. 43. Source:
  44. 44. Source:
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  47. 47. Other ways to learn coding
  48. 48. See how things on the Web work behind the scenes using …
  49. 49. Scratch is a programming language for everyone. Create interactive stories, games, music and art and share them online.
  50. 50. Finch Robot, ca. $100
  51. 51. Ozobot, ca. $60
  52. 52. Lego WeDo / Lego Mindstorms
  53. 53. Sphero – ca. $130
  54. 54. Dash and Dot, ca. $149
  55. 55. Interact with the real world using the Tickle App Learn to program Arduino, drones, robots, connected toys, and smart home devices, all wirelessly.
  56. 56. Hopscotch App
  57. 57., ca. $197
  58. 58. @cmairn
  59. 59. Want to Hangout?