Thursday, November 26, 2020
Monday, November 23, 2020
Friday, November 20, 2020
Monday, November 16, 2020
I've chosen Python as my main language for a variety of reason's. It's among the top most popular languages in the world. Python was created to be easy to read and write. It was written to be similar to reading and writing English, and that has been accomplished very well.
Python has a ton of support and compatible libraries. It works well for desktop development, web development, interacting with micro-controllers and a variety of other applications. The documentation is also fantastic. We will get into the documentation as well. Its very important to be able to read and understand API's. This is a skill that if you establish and establish well will make you a strong developer.
The best way to get started with Python is to jump right in. This will be a quick intro then we will jump into some videos on YouTube. The first thing to do is download and install Python on your computer. Here are the links to the Python download website:
- Windows: https://www.python.org/downloads/windows/
- Mac: https://www.python.org/downloads/mac-osx/
- Source: https://www.python.org/downloads/source/
Linux distributions come with Python already installed. Many distributions only have version 2.7 installed. We will be working with Python 3.9 so make sure you have that version installed.
Once you have Python successfully installed you can enter the python console by opening a terminal/command prompt and typing either python, or python3 depending how you installed it. This will bring you into the console as shown below.
Once you are in the console you can start executing python code. Start by entering the following code in the console and hitting enter:
Congratulations! You have successfully written your first Python application.
The Python console is great for playing with code, debugging, learning and many other tasks. There are other more powerful tools which I will discuss in future videos and post's. Much of my future content will be published in video form. The blog will be complementary to the video content.
For a great introductory book on python check out the following:
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Monday, November 9, 2020
One of the most critical skills you will need to establish as a software developer is learning to properly type on a keyboard. I cannot count the number of times I've seen developers use the "Hunt-and-Peck" typing method. That's when they poke the keyboard with one finger at a time while in search of the next key.
Hunt-and-Peck is the worst possible technique you can use as a developer. The most obvious reason is because time is money. The faster you can type, the faster you can develop code. More code per hour is a good thing, but only if it's quality. There is always a happy medium with everything.
Learning to type is actually a lot of fun. It only takes a few days to learn and a few weeks to get really good at it. The best part about knowing how to properly type on your keyboard is that you can keep your eyes on the screen and not on the keyboard. This makes things so much easier.
After entering the wonderful world of IT for a couple of years and suffering from Hunt-and-Peck syndrome I decided it was time to take action and correct my bad habits. Without knowing where to start I made a few failed attempts to learn on my own. Then I discovered Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. This product has changed my life forever.
Once I installed the software on my computer I was well on my way to success. I didn't realize it at the time, but this minor correction in my habits would enable me to drastically improve my skills and become a top notch software developer. The software and its game like style of teaching typing is fun, challenging and meditative.
I highly recommend Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing only because I have used it and become extremely successful as a result. If you take being a software developer seriously you will definitely need to take your typing seriously. So take the leap.
As a developer you should be able to type a minimum of 50 words per minute (wpm). The typical hunt-and-peck method is significantly slower. I recently started playing with the app again after years just to see how much I've improved, and to improve my skills even more.
Monday, November 2, 2020
The next item on the list you should get familiar with is flowcharts. Flowcharts are like pseudocode which are simple to learn, but are extremely beneficial. They serve as a visual reference when you are designing and building applications. Pseudocode and flowcharts work extremely well together and I use both on a regular basis as a software developer.
There are more advanced techniques diagramming your designs, such as, UML, but that is a course all on its own. My goal right now is to get you familiar with the basics so you can get started coding. The better understanding you have of the basics, the better coder you will become. This is generally true with anything in life.
Flowcharts are not only used in software, but widely used in business to show processes and flows of a variety of things. For example, a factory might use a flowchart to show the process of assembling a certain component.
There are a variety of symbols which can be used in flowcharts. Below I have an example with only a few symbols. This is an extremely simple example of the logic required to open a door. I use three different symbols in my diagram. Terminators, decision and process blocks. A terminator is used to start or end a process. A decision block is used to make a decision in the process flow. A process block defines a process of some sort (ie - opening a door, sending an email message, etc.).
The first thing you will see is an "Open Door" terminator, or start block. This is the entry point to the entire process or algorithm. In code this might be a function. We will discuss functions in great detail.
The second block in the diagram is our decision process, this might be code contained within your function. The decision block in our diagram will determine if the door is locked. If the door is locked, it will then execute the unlock function, and open the door and end the process. If the door is not locked it will execute the open function and end the process.
You can think of a function as a code block that performs some sort of action. The action is whatever you determine it to be. There are all sorts of rules that one must follow to properly generate functions in code. As previously mentioned we will discuss functions in great detail so don't don't get too caught up on them right now. Just think of it as an action, like "throw a ball". I will soon be publishing some videos on my new YouTube channel so stay tuned.
If you are interested in learning proper workflow diagramming please visit my affiliate link below and checkout the book on how to understand and properly create flowcharts. Please comment on this post and let me know what you think. Feel free to recommend some topics you would like me to cover.
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I am a software developer with decades of experience building a multitude of applications. I've worked with a variety of languages inc...
Before we get started its important to understand what pseudocode is and how to properly use it. Pseudocode is a term used in programmin...