I am not really the target audience for this book but I thought it would be fun to read a book that would take me back to college and the basics of programming. The book sure was fun to read. It begins with the history of computers, emergence of programming languages and other facts about computers that seem interesting even if you have read them ten times before.
The book then tries to explain what programming is all about using “Hello World’ examples in various programming languages. I liked the fact that the authors aren’t just telling you how to program but are actually trying to help the reader decide if he/she really wants to take up programming. They discuss the pros and cons of taking up a programming career and try to address various myths about programming.
One myth that I had many years back, before I got into programming was that only brilliant people who look like Dilbert could program. How wrong I was :-). This myth isn’t mentioned in the book but there are 8 others.
Another thing I liked was that before the authors jumped into programming with a language, they explain how code works, binary and even binary mathematics.
There’s a chapter on “Problem Solving”, which I thought is a smart inclusion for such a book. The book says “Programming is about problem solving. The programming language is simply the tool that you use to do the job”
The next few chapters I thought were out of place as the book goes deeper into VBScript and C++ coding. There’s even a chapter dedicated to the Windows Registry. If I was just starting with programming, I would want this book to give me a bird’s eye view of programming as a whole. Once I have decided that I want to catch the rabbit and not the rat, I will buy a book specific to catching rabbits. An overview of various popular languages I thought would have been more useful.
The last few chapters get the book back on track. These chapters discuss topics relevant to all kinds of programming like organizing files, version control and distribution of an application. The glossary and the resources section at the end of the book should be useful to anybody new to programming.
I liked the book but I wonder if the topic is more suited to a set of articles.