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Created by Zed A. Shaw Updated 2024-07-21 04:57:00

27: The 5 Simple Rules to the Game of Code

This exercise is intended to be studied periodically while you study the next exercises. You're expected to take this very slowly, and to mix it with other explanations until you finally get it. If you get lost in this exercise, take a break and do the next ones. Then if you get confused in a later exercise, come back and study the details I describe here. Keep doing this until it "clicks." Remember, you can't fail so just keep trying until you get it.

If you play a game like Go or Chess you know the rules are fairly simple, yet the games they enable are extremely complex. Really good games have this unique quality of simple rules with complex interactions. Programming is also a game with a few simple rules that create complex interactions, and in this exercise we're going to learn what those rules are.

Before we do that, I need to stress that you most likely won't use these rules directly when you code. There are languages that do utilize these rules directly, and your CPU uses them too, but in daily programming you'll rarely use them. If that's the case then why learn the rules?

Because these rules are everywhere, and understanding them will help you understand the code you write. It'll help you debug the code when it goes wrong. If you ever want to know how the code works you'll be able to "disassemble" it down to its basic rules and really see how it works. These rules are a cheat code. Pun totally intended.

I'm also going to warn you that you are not expected to totally understand this right away. Think of this exercise as setting you up for the rest of the exercises in this module. You're expected to study this exercise deeply, and when you get stuck, move on to the next exercises as a break. You want to bounce between this one and the next ones until the concepts "click" and it starts to make sense. You should also study these rules as deeply as you can, but don't get stuck here. Struggle for a few days, move on, come back, and keep trying. As long as you keep trying you can't actually "fail".

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