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Midnight Pub

What Is Programming?


All programming is just converting one data-set into another data-set, and then sometimes finding a way to display that data-set.

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~stargazer wrote:

Basically, yup.

~bubbles wrote (thread):

TLD: True, but...

I'm a pseudo-coder. I know enough to be dangerous, and know that's a bad thing, but typically I'm considered to be highly code literate and "techy" by normies. Because this veneer of tech has intersected strongly with my employability, in-between spaces are weird. This really got me thinking, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

I typically think about programming as a literacy. This is because I've trained as a librarian, and because I teach really basic programming, mainly web and data stuff. Thinking about programming as a literacy explains why its a difficult skill for most people to grok. Reading isn't an easy skill to build, we spend years learning how to read and write to communicate, and still manage to do it poorly. Programming is doing the same thing but with an added level of complexity. Your communicating with a machine, and what your telling it has is being interpreted by a third party. Also if you want to get human meaning on the other side, you have to think about communicating with people again, and all the challenges there in. Still for most people, its an another form of technical writing, with mathematical literacy and formal logic layered on top of it.

Programming is also more than just data-set to data-set conversion on a deeper level. You're also converting mediums, unless you're lucky enough to be working purely at a machine level. It's taking a painting and turning it into a sculpture, or radio waves and embodying them as sound. What ever data-set your using has to be converted to and represented in binary, except, again, in rare instances. In essence every time you write code, your ripping a cd, just instead of audio, you're producing textual data with semantic meaning meant to direct the machine to do XYZ tasks on QRS, collection of bytes.

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