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2000th article - Remember the background and basics

Graham Ellis, Tutor, Well House ConsultantsEntry number 2000 ... little did I look forward to my two thousandth article when, in the summer of 2004, Lisa suggested that I should join that trendy group who were starting their blogs. But here I am, in my fifth year of posting, averaging more than one article per day.

Why has it lasted? Perhaps because I have a purpose in writing; it's only partly to keep regular readers in touch - and that's a small part. It's also because I'm producing a catalogue of notes and ideas and thoughts that are searchable, across our courses via the module list - so that I don't have to repeat the same work / the same training example / the same answer too many times. After all, all programmers are lazy, and much of the time I'm a programmer. Yes, I do appreciate the irony that I'm suggesting that I have written several thousand articles more out of indolence than anything else.

If you read back through the 2000 articles, you'll see how we've moved from being a small training company providing niche courses to ... still being a small training company providing nich courses.. But we've added onto that our own Residential training centre and hotel, with lots of stories about the refurbishment and operation of that. Four years ago we were very quiet in the town, whereas now I'm the President of the local Chamber of Commerce. And four years ago, I knew nothing of local government or transport planning or how train services run, but now I find that I spearhead the campaign for an appropriate train service and run a forum with over a thousand posts a month from Paddington to Penzance - the First Great Western Coffee Shop.

Other things have changed and moved on too over the years; personal matters tend not to bubble up to the surface here, largely out of respect for the privacy of family members and friends who - whilst they might enjoy the high regard I hold them in - would probably rather I didn't shout about it too much in public.


At lunchtime yesterday I was sitting with delegate John (yes, a Saturday course!) in "The Cornerstone" and musing as to what article 2000 should be about. I decided that it should also go right back to basics. I love this whole 'computer training' malarkey, and I'll probably be at it for many years yet. But, interestingly, this weekend I'm back to the most fundamental of programmer training - for a delegate who has never programmed before and for whom I'm working very much from first principles - the concept of a stored program, the 'what' and 'why' of variables, the elements of a conditional. And you might not believe what fun, and at the same time how tiring, it is!. I hope to have many more chances to go back to first principles again before I reach article 4000.

From Saturday - seven new source code examples - "Learning to Program":

A first example - a series of instructions
Calling named blocks of code
Calculate and print
Precedence in calculations
Calling functions with parameters
Conditional code
Loops to repeat code

(These examples are in C because that is the target language this weekend ... but ask me to run the same course using Lua, Perl, Python or PHP and I'll be delighted!)
(written 2009-01-18, updated 2010-10-08)

 
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I have not programmed before, and need to learn
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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