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how do you do it?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

How can programmers conceive and write abstract things like computer programs and codes?

It’s actually not abstract. It’s rather specific.

Programming is the art of instructing a really-really-really dumb kid. You have to be specific. You have to be detailed. Most of all, you need to be concise.

Take “do the laundry” for instance. This is probably quite intuitive for most people. The instruction for a smart kid might be:

  1. Bring your clothes to the washer and do your laundry.

For a really dumb kid (computer), you need to be much more specific and make sure you cover all your bases.

  1. Go to your room.
  2. Obtain a basket.
  3. For all dirty clothes, place in basket.
  4. Pick up the basket.
  5. Go to the laundry room.
  6. Place dirty clothes in washer.
  7. Add detergent.
  8. Set washer to 45mins, warm.
  9. Push the start button.

This is actually still quite high-level (not detailed enough). You need to include checks in the middle.

During each step, check:
A.) is the house on fire?
B.) is your name being called?
C.) is there a poisonous spider?

Each one of these need further instructions!!!

That’s basically what programming is, a set of very very detailed instructions pieced together in an over all set of instructions we call software.

In this context, it’s actually much more amazing what we can do as humans!

James Liu, Game Developer, BoxCat Games

reblogged from Quora

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