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Dolamu Asipa
Dolamu Asipa

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5 Essential Terms for a Code Newbie

When it comes to the world of programming, there are tons of stuff newbies aren't aware of. Terms like "web", "hypertext", "server" or "client" often heard in the tech community sounds strange and unfamiliar to them, not knowing that these are simple terms used in describing processes routinely carried out in software development. In this article, I'll be explaining some of these words in detail below:

What is Programming?

This literally means to "write code". In the context of creating webpages, programming means to write HTML in the HTML files, CSS in the CSS files or JavaScript in the JavaScript files. It is the process of building a computer program to accomplish a task. A program is a set of commands to the computer to facilitate specific actions. By the way, the web is a collection of documents written in a hypertext markup language called HTML along with other resources such as images, videos and other programs and services that interact with these documents and resources.

The web operates a "hypertext" system, which is a form of text in which documents can link to other documents and resources and users can refer to those links for other related information. All web technologies are built around this concept of hypertext - the idea of documents and data resources that are linked to each other in a standard way.

Terms Often Used in Programming

Web server: This is a computer that provides resources, services or programs to other computers, known as "clients", over a network. A computer network is a set of computers sharing resources provided by a communication endpoint. A [server] provides functionality (such as sharing data among multiple clients or performing computation for a client) for other computer programs or devices. Web servers are computer software and underlying hardware that accepts request from browsers via HTTP, which is the network protocol created to distribute web pages. They are one of the most abundant types of servers today and they respond to requests for web pages and other web-based services. Other typical servers include: a database server, file server and virtual server.

Programming language: This is the language (i.e., the formal vocabulary containing a set of grammatical rules) developers use to instruct a computer to perform specific tasks. It is a kind of computer language used to implement algorithms. The most popular programming languages (in no particular order) are: Python, JavaScript, C#, Ruby, Java and C++. In web development, programming languages can be sub-divided into: front and back end languages. Front end languages are languages used to develop the part of a website that a user interacts with directly. HTML is an example of a front end language, it is one of the languages used in creating a website colors, images, buttons and text. The back end languages are used in buiding the back (i.e., server-side) portion of a website. These languages are used for activities such as creating libraries, writing APIs and arranging data.

Syntax: This is the grammar rule for a computer language like HTML or JavaScript. It is the general set of rules for how words and sentences in a language should be arranged. In programming, a syntax defines how declarations, functions, commands and other statements are structured. It arrange words and phrases to create a well-formed sentence in a language.

HTML: This is the markup language that provides the structure and text of web pages. It stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is the first item sent by a server when a website is loaded into a browser. An HTML code contains technical details which a web browser uses as a blueprint to build a web page. A good place to get started on programming is writing in HTML because it provides quick feedback on what is being learnt as this is displayed by the web browsers.

Text editors: This is a software specifically designed to help a developer write code. It is a program built for editing code, it automatically highlight different parts of a code (syntax highlighting) when it is opened. It also manages the indentation of the code for a developer as different levels of indentation often indicate that some code is contained within other pieces of code. Indicators of syntax errors in text editors include; a missing quote, a comma is used rather than semicolon or a curly brace is used instead of bracket. Popular text editors include: VSCode, Atom, Sublime text, among others. Word Processors are not the same as text editors. A word processor is a piece of software used to write or format plain text like documents. It is not used in writing code because it doesn't handle syntax highlighting or indentation. Examples include; Microsoft Word, Google Docs, OpenOffice

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