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Writing source code

From: Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals

Video: Writing source code

Programming language source code is written in plain text. You can open up a simple text editor that comes with your operating system like Notepad on the PC or TextEdit on the Mac, and they work just fine to write any programming language. There's nothing magical about source code itself. It's just text. And that's plain text, not rich text. So here for example is a text editor with some JavaScript in it and here is one with some Perl and here is one with some Ruby and here is one with some Groovy.

Writing source code

Programming language source code is written in plain text. You can open up a simple text editor that comes with your operating system like Notepad on the PC or TextEdit on the Mac, and they work just fine to write any programming language. There's nothing magical about source code itself. It's just text. And that's plain text, not rich text. So here for example is a text editor with some JavaScript in it and here is one with some Perl and here is one with some Ruby and here is one with some Groovy.

And yes, Groovy is a language. Now right now don't worry at all about trying to memorize any of these. That comes later. Just observe them. It's common to see different file extensions being used like .js for JavaScript and .groovy for Groovy files but they are no different from .txt regular text files. But what you don't want is a word processor. If you're writing code in a program where you see a formatting bar with bold and italic options, you are probably in the wrong place.

Programming language source code does not need to be bolded or underlined or italicized or justified. So say if you're using a program like TextEdit on a Mac that can work in the either rich text or plain text modes, you want Plain Text. Now programs don't actually have to be much more than this. In fact these would all be considered very simple but technically complete programs in these languages. Just one statement, one instruction that outputs the words Hello, world on to the screen. Now Hello, world is the classic example of this simplest program imaginable in any language.

So let me show you a few more. So this is a one statement program written in a language called ALGOL 68 and by 68 here I mean 1968 which is when this language was released. ALGOL 68 is not a language you're ever going to need to know, but on the other hand you might want to know Python. So this is a one statement program written in Python 3 released in December 2008, and this is a one statement program written in a language called Lua.

Yes, this particular statement is the same in all of them and in a few more languages besides. You see many languages share a common history and they are often more alike than they are different. Now just because this statement is the same in these languages does not mean these languages are identical. Far from it, but there are often significant similarities between languages. Now, some languages do need a little more than one single statement to be considered a full program.

Many languages like to be given explicit starting and ending points. An older version of ALGOL, ALGOL 60, was written in all caps and actually required the words BEGIN an END to mark out your program. Languages like C and other languages based on C like C#, C++ and Java, they require what can first seem like intimidating amounts of curly braces and weird esoteric keywords just to get something simple to happen like the words, Hello, world! Now you might think, okay so am I supposed to remember all of this to write just the simplest program? Well, no, not really.

You see just because you can work in a plain text editor and it is useful from time to time, doesn't mean you have to and you probably won't want to. Because with a basic text editor you're completely on your own writing the stuff and there are other applications that can actually help you write this code and make your life easier. First we have programmer's text editors. These are plain text editors with some extra features added on and there are many of them available on every platform. Some are free and some are commercial.

Typical features of these involved simple things like line numbers, more powerful Find and Replace. They often have color-coding. This is not the same as formatting. Color coding happens automatically and it helps you read and recognize different parts of the language. They often have syntax checking, kind of like spell checking in a word processor. Syntax checking will let you know if it finds something wrong with your code as you're actually typing it. Some of these text editors are oriented towards a particular language, say just Java, and some others might have support for several dozen languages.

Now if you do any web development you might find that your chosen web development application is also a usable programmer's text editor. And then we have Integrated Development Environments or IDEs. These are large programs and include a good programmer's text editor, but usually add on a whole bunch of features for professional development. Examples of IDEs would be Apple's Xcode on the Mac or Microsoft's Visual Studio or Eclipse, which is a cross-platform. Now in this course we are not going to worry about IDEs. You'll get into those when you start concentrating on a particular area of development.

So while you don't need a special program to write your code you'll probably end up wanting one. However, once we start to write this code we then need to understand how it will be turned into machine code so it can run on the computer itself.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals

61 video lessons · 85793 viewers

Simon Allardice
Author

 
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  1. 4m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Making the most of this course
      2m 8s
    3. Using the exercise files
      50s
  2. 22m 11s
    1. What is programming?
      5m 45s
    2. What is a programming language?
      4m 48s
    3. Writing source code
      5m 34s
    4. Compiled and interpreted languages
      6m 4s
  3. 16m 29s
    1. Why JavaScript?
      4m 45s
    2. Creating your first program in JavaScript
      6m 54s
    3. Requesting input
      4m 50s
  4. 31m 38s
    1. Introduction to variables and data types
      5m 16s
    2. Understanding strong, weak, and duck-typed languages
      3m 51s
    3. Working with numbers
      5m 4s
    4. Using characters and strings
      4m 5s
    5. Working with operators
      4m 47s
    6. Properly using white space
      6m 46s
    7. Adding comments to code for human understanding
      1m 49s
  5. 24m 49s
    1. Building with the if statement
      7m 35s
    2. Working with complex conditions
      4m 10s
    3. Setting comparison operators
      6m 59s
    4. Using the switch statement
      6m 5s
  6. 17m 56s
    1. Breaking your code apart
      4m 1s
    2. Creating and calling functions
      2m 57s
    3. Setting parameters and arguments
      6m 7s
    4. Understanding variable scope
      2m 23s
    5. Splitting code into different files
      2m 28s
  7. 13m 32s
    1. Introduction to iteration
      4m 28s
    2. Writing a while statement
      5m 24s
    3. Creating a for loop
      3m 40s
  8. 19m 28s
    1. Cleaning up with string concatenation
      4m 30s
    2. Finding patterns in strings
      8m 3s
    3. Introduction to regular expressions
      6m 55s
  9. 19m 59s
    1. Working with arrays
      5m 47s
    2. Array behavior
      5m 29s
    3. Iterating through collections
      5m 18s
    4. Collections in other languages
      3m 25s
  10. 10m 50s
    1. Programming style
      5m 55s
    2. Writing pseudocode
      4m 55s
  11. 25m 55s
    1. Input/output and persistence
      3m 6s
    2. Reading and writing from the DOM
      8m 11s
    3. Event driven programming
      7m 47s
    4. Introduction to file I/O
      6m 51s
  12. 24m 26s
    1. Introduction to debugging
      5m 57s
    2. Tracing through a section of code
      7m 5s
    3. Understanding error messages
      3m 21s
    4. Using debuggers
      8m 3s
  13. 14m 17s
    1. Introduction to object-oriented languages
      5m 18s
    2. Using classes and objects
      6m 29s
    3. Reviewing object-oriented languages
      2m 30s
  14. 11m 14s
    1. Memory management across languages
      5m 11s
    2. Introduction to algorithms
      4m 2s
    3. Introduction to multithreading
      2m 1s
  15. 29m 20s
    1. Introduction to languages
      1m 42s
    2. C-based languages
      4m 40s
    3. The Java world
      3m 13s
    4. .NET languages: C# and Visual Basic .NET
      6m 17s
    5. Ruby
      3m 4s
    6. Python
      2m 56s
    7. Objective-C
      4m 3s
    8. Libraries and frameworks
      3m 25s
  16. 1m 2s
    1. Where to go from here
      1m 2s

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