Hi. Welcome to the book. We hope you like it.
If you’re a student just starting out on your first programming course, this book is for you. This book contains what we think you’ll need to know as you go through your course. We very much hope you’ll enjoy reading it and come to enjoy programming.
Because we want to get something absolutely clear before we go any further; programming is enjoyable. It’s a creative pastime, and has been called by some a craft. Writing a program is the process of creating something from nothing – the process of creating something that solves a real problem and hopefully makes the world a better place. Acomplete and correct program can be a source of great satisfaction to a programmer. Even the appearance of the lines of a program laid out on a sheet of paper can be a thing of beauty, almost like a poem.
But enough of these fine words. We would be lying to you if we didn’t admit that many people do not especially enjoy learning to program. Many people do find it difficult, but just as many take to it quickly and easily; we suppose that you’ll be finding out which one you are in the next few weeks. Whichever turns out to be you, just keep in mind that anyone can get there eventually; there’s nothing special about people who can write computer programs.
This book is not like many of the other books on programming that you can see on shelves in the bookshops or libraries. For a start there’s no chapter on the history of computers, gloriously illustrated with highly amusing photos and hairstyles from the 1950s. No. We’ll be assuming that if you want to look at that sort of stuff you know where to find it, and you’ll go and seek it out. No. This is a book about programming.
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