What is source code? It is all that text you type to create a program. This is a set of instructions you give to the computer to process and produce the desired result.

The compiler is software that has the task of “compiling” your source code into a set of instructions that the computer understands. Many compilers are available for free download and they have built-in useful features that will help you write good code.

Programs use commands derived from the English language. There are many programming languages, but the most popular ones are in essence very similar to each other and are easy to learn once you “speak” one of them. 

For example, a print statement in most languages will produce alphanumeric output on the display while ifthen will execute the segment of code when the statement is true.

Once commands are processed by the compiler, they are “compiled” which means translated to a set of instructions the computer understands and it will produce the desired results.

Usually, each command is written as a line of text.

Some languages require a semicolon “;” at the end of each line and some don’t.

The semicolon is useful because it marks the end of the statement. However, programmers sometimes forget it and the compiler thinks that the following line is part of the previous one. For that reason, many languages omit the semicolon and treat a new line of text as the beginning of a new statement.

Compilers make the programmer’s life easy. They check for errors and make the program run on all kinds of hardware devices and platforms. Many programmers enjoy very successful careers without even realizing there are also programmers who make the compilers.

Just run an internet search for a “Free Compiler” and you will find an abundance of compilers for all kinds of programming languages. But before downloading a compiler, let’s look at some of the basics of programming using pseudocode that can be easily adapted to work in many programming environments. Once you grasp these basic principles, almost any language you chose will be easy to learn.

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