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Fear of Programming


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© December 2008 Anthony Lawrence

"I'm not a programmer". I understand. You just want to write your blog, you don't want to get into the mechanics. A lot of you don't even want to know anything about HTML and CSS, right?

I get it, really. I'm the same way with my car: I used to do tuneups and minor repairs, but you know how it is: I'm older, the cars are a lot more complicated now, so I leave all that to the mechanics now. I just drive the the thing and put gas in it when I need to.

Nowadays you can do the same thing with your website. When I started writing web pages in the early 90's, you had to know a lot of stuff. Heck, just getting on the Internet at all was pretty deep geek territory and writing web pages required strong knowledge of HTML at the very least - often you had to know quite a bit about web servers too. But today? If you can type (even if it's hunt and peck), you can have a blog.

So why learn any programming or HTML and CSS for that matter? Leave that for the web mechanics.

You can do that. Maybe it's exactly what you should do. I could probably get better gas mileage and could definitely save some money if I did my own automobile work, but I just don't want to make the effort any more. You could do more with your website if you knew more about what happens underneath, but maybe you just don't want to make the effort either.

It's a lot of effort, right? That programming stuff is HARD.

Well.. maybe. Some people find it hard, but I think it's ironically amusing when someone who thinks nothing of constructing a complicated Excel spreadsheet tells me that programming is hard. To me, making a complex spreadsheet is hard - you actually are programming when you do that, but you are using a horribly clumsy "language" to do it. If you can program "IF/THEN" decisions in a spreadsheet, you can write programs.

Probably 75% of web site programming is just using "print" statements to put something on the screen. Can you understand this little Perl program snippet?

print <<EOF;

Hello.

EOF
 

Pretty baffling, right? Easily 75% of programming for the web is just that simple. You are writing stuff on the screen. Of course that "stuff" is likely to include a lot of HTML tags and CSS styles, but there's no rocket science there either.

The more you know, the better off you are. Having real control of your web pages gives you the power to do complicated things easily.


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Mon Dec 29 01:18:31 2008: 4995   NickBarron


Learning to really programme is on my "list"



Some Cocoa and more Bash etc.... While at WWDC this year, all I heard was how easy it is etc etc. A few minutes and off you go etc etc. I just cannot seem to find those few minutes, nor do I seem to find those moments of space in my brain to sit back to learn these things...

I would really like to be able to set aside some time to do this, I just cannot find the time..







Mon Dec 29 01:53:20 2008: 4996   TonyLawrence

gravatar
I know, it can be hard, What you need is a goal, a project. "Learning to program" is too non-specific. What you want is something like "I want to put an RSS feed in my sidebar and I do NOT want to use somebody else's code!".



Mon Dec 29 14:57:28 2008: 4997   BigDumbDinosaur


Dunno. All this Perl, HTML, etc., seems too high-level to me. How about a website written in assembly language:
 
ldy#$00
loop lda hello,y
beq done
jsr cout
iny
bne loop
done rts
;
hello .byt 'Hello, world',$00

There. I feel better already. <Grin>



Mon Dec 29 14:57:51 2008: 4998   TonyLawrence

gravatar
You should get out more :-)

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