Cool Coding

Code tells a computer what to do. Each individual directive is very simple, but, when combined into a program, can accomplish amazingly complex tasks, including games. Many coders begin as hobbyists before turning professional. Code can be written in a myriad of programming languages. Different languages are optimised for specific tasks, and all have unique quirks. The concepts underpinning computer programming are the same, irrespective of the language of implementation.

There are plenty of teach-yourself-coding resources available. This excellent book is something different. It introduces fundamental concepts from the basic (variables, loops and bugs) to the more complex (algorithms and open source). Each concept is allocated a full double-page spread decorated with colourful doodles. The explanations consist of short paragraphs and single-sentence asides. ‘Watch out!’ and ‘That’s neat!’ segments describe common pit-falls and useful tips.

Other spreads describe the origin and evolution of coding. The first computer, Colossus, dates from the 1940s and the first coder, Ava Lovelace, was born in 1815. The timeline extends to recent innovations, cloud computing and apps.

Small fonts are used throughout to pack the pages with information. This, combined with dark background colours, necessitates close and careful reading. Self-motivated learners can avail of the list of coding websites, including scratch and jsfiddle.net, and the comprehensive glossary. It successfully demystifies computer jargon, and would be a brilliant resource for those new to coding. Teachers can utilise it as an outstandingly useful check-list and succinct means of imparting programming concepts to beginners.