Inside the Programming Castle

The more I learn about programming for the Web, the more it seems like everything is about the DATABASE. PHP just happens to be the tool we use to shuttle data back & forth .. to & from the database. PHP also lets you modify the data going back & forth .. in seemingly unlimited ways.

Castle of Computer ProgrammingEvery once in a while, I catch a glimpse of the power available in learning to wield programming languages. Very brief glimpses, cuz I am just a beginner.

Interestingly, these glimpses always come while I'm learning how to use PHP to access and manipulate data going into or coming out of a relational database (MySQL).

The coolest part of these glimpses .. is that they really do give me the sense that the power available in programming is truly UNLIMITED (.. limited only by your imagination).

I mean, computer programming is designed to use (work on) a computer. By that I mean » a CPU and memory, which itself mimics how the human brain & human memory works. So there's this self-reflexive thing going on in the background (or underneath) .. which is itself a little trippy. What are the limits of the human mind?

Hard to describe, cuz I'm still just a programming n00b (.. tho I continue to make progress). But the promise of unlimited creative power is very seductive. Can hear it calling my name.

The programming gods however, do not freely surrender the keys to this unlimited creative power. No, sir. There's a price to be paid.

In researching how our brains learn, it seems we find it easier to learn new-things that we can relate to things we already-know.

The problem (I've found) is that learning how to program does not readily lend itself to other things we might already-know. Rather, it's like having to build a whole new conceptual world .. from scratch. In other words, it takes longer. And requires more effort, in the form of memorization.

I actually went back and reviewed the material covering basic concepts .. especially the section on user-defined functions() .. after finding I kept having questions about material I already covered. I'm talking about after I began studying Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), which is the focus of Beyond the Basics.

••• today's entry continues here below •••

In OOP, a function() is termed a 'method'. Yeah, same thing, but called a different name. In OOP, these 'methods' are defined inside a class.

Much of programming, at this point in my studies, is simple memorization (.. which I hate) .. not what I would call 'learning,' which, to me, involves gleaning insights. The reason so much memorization is involved .. is cuz it's such a new tool, which I have so little that relates to (.. beyond math, which can also involve abstraction).

Or maybe it's the abstraction itself that represents the new way of thinking within the programming world (model). Thinking out loud, sorry. Abstraction is a way to control complexity.

Going back was frustrating but helpful. It went way faster the second time thru. And I now feel much more comfortable exploring the programming world, because I have a firmer grasp on the basics (.. loops, if-then logical expressions, data types, user-defined functions, syntax, etc).

Programming castle» The Programming Castle

At first glance, the gates to the programming castle look impossibly tall. But as you step inside (.. after flailing around outside for a while), you start to see how cool it is.

I am new to this castle, but already I can see the power available here. More than just see, I can actually feel it.

I've heard the claims about how programming offers 'unlimited' creative power .. and I certainly understood the idea. But it was always just an idea. Out 'there'.

For the first time however, I've started catching glimpses of the reality of that power. Very cool. Tho I still have a long way to go before wielding such power myself.

PHPI also see the on-going development .. in these programming languages .. by countless wizards. And I project into the future the trajectory of this on-going development, and I see it go up into the clouds.

Hear that glorious angelic singing? That's programming heaven.

Being a n00b means I'm standing near the entrance to the castle. But I'm far enough inside that I can catch an occasional glimpse of the power available at the other end .. over by where the gurus congregate.

Does not look easy to get there from here, but the power available to those over there is cool enough that it draws me. Wish there were an easier way to get there. So far it has been shoeleather » one step at a time.

Maybe I've been preoccupied with other things, but it took me a while to get inside the programming castle. Lots of banging on the gate outside.

MySQL relational  database» Data, Databases, Content & Ideas

Whenever we talk about databases, the subject of content always comes up. Because the data we store in our databases forms the basis for the content we generate in our web pages.

And content is about communicating ideas. Cooler & more interesting the better.

You can shuttle around a lot of manure in a fancy limousine, with a fully-stocked wet bar. But in the end, it's still just elegantly shuttled krap. So content is always going to be the focus of our web-based programming with databases.

And here I have many thoughts. Cuz generating content is what I do. If you ever read any of my technical guides, you know I have a knack for breaking down complex concepts in ways ordinary folk can access. At least, that's what I'm told. (It's one of the most common comments I receive.)

In writing, I intuitively strive to minimize "the space" between writer & reader. It can never really go away, so the best we can hope for is that 'the space' becomes negligible.

Big, fancy, latinate words, for example, tend to impose some of the more formidable obstacles in traversing the path from writer to reader. So I avoid using them where possible. In other words, I prefer Hemingway to Faulkner, stylistically speaking.

I have many more thoughts on this topic, upon which I could write ad nauseam. So I'll spare you. But lemme just say that I try to limit the topics I discuss to those for which I have first-hand experience, or researched myself.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » learn computer programming php mysql database

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on December 14, 2010 12:14 PM.

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