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Software Literacy: Programming Learning Guide

Published on Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Software Literacy: Programming Learning Guide

Computer programmers are highly valuable in the job market today, with openings for everything from Web developers to software engineers popping up regularly on job boards all over the world. That's because almost every government, organization, and business uses computers to connect to systems and networks that form the basis of their operations. Programmers have to know how to work within these systems and networks, using different programming languages to create and adapt software that helps their employers get things done. While many colleges offer courses in different programming languages, you can also learn some of the most popular languages on your own by using online tutorials and tools.


Websites are built from a coding language called HTML, short for Hypertext Markup Language. Developed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991, HTML allows the structuring of text and images on a Web page. The coded directions tell a Web browser how to organize and display the information on a page. With HTML, you can control the text size and typeface, spacing, and formatting like bulleted lists and italics, and you can also adjust the sizes of images and their positions on the page.


In 1979, Bjarne Stroustrup noticed that computer programs were getting larger and more complex. At that time, many programmers used a language called C to create sets of instructions for computers to follow. Stroustrup created an updated version of C to handle these larger tasks and called it C++. The name refers to the basic structure taken from C but with a new approach to make it easier to write large amounts of code. This new approach was called object-oriented programming (OOP), and it greatly simplified the code, meaning that programs could run more efficiently and faster. However, C++ is platform-dependent, meaning that the code must be written for a specific machine to read. This presented a large limitation for C++ code, since it could not adapt to different operating systems without being rewritten.

Today, many computer programs and video games are written in C++, since these require speedy code to work well. Many companies look for C++ programmers, since a lot of communications software is written in this language.


In 1991, James Gosling created the Java language based on the idea of "write once, run anywhere" (WORA). This meant that unlike C++, which was platform dependent, Java could run on any machine by installing the Java Runtime Environment. But like C++, Java is an object-oriented programming language, which makes it more efficient and accessible.

Over the years, Java has increased in popularity and found its way onto the list of the most used development platforms in the world. One of the reasons for this is its massive library of classes. Classes are templates for behaviors or instructions to complete specific tasks. The large amount of classes available means that programming with Java can be more accessible and efficient. Another major advantage of Java is that it's multithreaded, meaning that multiple parts of a program can run simultaneously. Java also uses a just-in-time (JIT) compiler that bolsters program performance.


One of the disadvantages of programming languages like C++ and Java is that the code can be long and messy. These languages require many tags and classes that are specific to the action you want a computer to perform. In 1989, Guido van Rossum developed Python with the purpose of simplifying the amount of code needed to perform tasks. This resulted in faster processing times because the computer had to read less code. It also meant cleaner, more elegant code, which increased legibility.

Python's simplicity has to do with its classification as a high-level programming language. High-level languages automate a large amount of computing work that would otherwise have to be manually written by the programmer in languages such as C++. As a result, the language used to program in Python is much more natural because it has less to do with the complex workings of computers and more to do with pre-programmed commands. This attribute contributes to Python's popularity as a beginner-friendly language.

Python is widely used among software engineers, data analysts, accountants, and network engineers. These jobs often involve repetitive tasks such as renaming and uploading files, and Python presents an easy way to automate these tasks.


From the beginning, programmers have continually aimed to simplify long and complex programming languages. C++ and Java require lengthy text commands that have very specific functions, so you have to memorize a large vocabulary of commands to achieve what you want. But like Python, Ruby is a high-level, object-oriented programming language. It is also dynamic, meaning that variables don't have to be declared before they're used, which saves quite a bit of coding work.

Released in 1995 by Japanese developer Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto, Ruby is a simpler language that's easy to use. Because of this, programmers can focus on assigning processes instead of coding everything from scratch. Ruby is also the basis for Ruby on Rails, a framework that provides default structures for different applications. This means that the general structure of many conventional applications is already done, and the programmer only has to specify anything considered "unconventional." This is a great help, since most people starting on Ruby are only creating conventional applications such as Web pages and data analysis programs.

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Author: Lior Lustig

Categories: News


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