What is Code?
Paul Ford
Computers & Technology
What is Code?

Software has been around since the 1940s. Which means that people have been faking their way through meetings about software, and the code that builds it, for generations. Now that software lives in our pockets, runs our cars and homes, and dominates our waking lives, ignorance is no longer acceptable. The world belongs to people who code. Those who don’t understand will be left behind.

This issue of Business Week comprises a single story devoted to ­demystifying code and the culture of the people who make it. There’s some technical language along with a few pretty basic mathematical concepts. There are also lots of solid jokes and lasting insights. It may take a few hours to read, but that’s a small price to pay for adding decades to your career.

Although EPUB and Kindle versions are available here, these are partial projections of the complete version, available here as a zipped HTML archive for download. Unzip the archive, and load index.html into a modern browser, or go to the online version.

The Man in the Taupe Blazer
1.1 Why Are We Here?
Let’s Begin
2.1 How Do You Type an “A”?
2.2 From Hardware to Software
2.3 How Does Code Become Software?
2.4 What Is an Algorithm?
2.5 The Sprint
2.6 What’s With All These Conferences, Anyway?
Why Are Programmers So Intense About Languages?
3.1 The Beauty of the Standard Library
3.2 What Do Different Languages Do?
3.3 The Importance of C
3.4 The Corporate Object Revolution
3.5 Look How Big and Weird Things Get With Just Python
Why Are Coders Angry?
4.1 The Legend of the 10x Programmer
4.2 The Thing About Real Artists Is That They—
4.3 We Still Need to Choose …
4.4 Why Are There So Many Languages?
The Time You Attended the E-mail Address Validation Meeting
5.1 What Is the Relationship Between Code and Data?
5.2 Where Does Data Live?
5.3 The Language of White Collars
5.4 Briefly on the Huge Subject of Microsoft
5.5 Liquid Infrastructure
5.6 Off the Shelf
5.7 What About JavaScript?
5.8 What’s the Absolute Minimum I Must Know About PHP?
How Are Apps Made?
6.1 The Framework: Wilder, Younger Cousin of the Software Development Kit
6.2 What Is Debugging?
6.3 Nothing Is Built
6.4 How Does Testing Work?
6.5 And Now for Something Beautiful
The Triumph of Middle Management
7.1 How Do You Pick a Programming Language?
7.2 Welcome to the Scrum
7.3 Managing 
7.4 “We Are 
Going to Ship”
7.5 Should You Learn to Code?
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