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A programming language is a set of instructions that can be used to write computer programs

A programming language is a set of instructions that can be used to write computer programs (or 'Apps'). There are many computer programming languages, and they are used for different things.

Some languages are used to create web-based programs. Some are used to create programs on mobile devices, like iPhones and tablets. Some languages are used to create programs for big computer systems.

Each programming language has its own set of instructions. And, each language has its own ways to put the instructions together, which we call a “syntax.” Although each programming language is different, there are often similarities between them. So, when you learn a new programming language, you can use what you already know to learn the language more quickly.


There are visual tools that introduce kids to programming concepts

Kids are often introduced to programming ideas through visual tools. You may have seen some of these tools before, like Scratch, or Tynker, or Lego Robotics.

These are visual programming tools designed for kids. They have programming-like environments, and let you pick instructions you want to use for your program from a visual list. Visual tools are good ways for kids to learn about programming ideas and concepts without having to learn about how to write a program from scratch. Some of these important concepts are things like looping (do something 10 times) or IF statements (do something IF something else is true).


There are also books and web sites that can teach you how to create real web sites and apps

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The visual tools for kids are good places to start learning about programming concepts. But, they are not exactly like programming. Most programs and applications require the creators to know about the instructions and syntax for the tools they are using. It’s not impossible to write a program from scratch, even for a kid. (Or, even, a grown-up who has never tried programming before. Sometimes grown-ups are afraid to try programming, because they worry that they don’t know how to do it. When you learn, maybe you can teach some adults you know!)

There are good books and web sites that can help you learn to program using the languages that are used to create real programs, web sites, and “Apps”. Each programming language has a “syntax”, which means that there are particular ways to write the code.

Above are some examples in different programming languages for how to have a program display the text, “Hello, World!” to the screen. A Hello World program is often the first program written when learning a new programming language. It’s a simple way for you to get used to writing a program for that language.


People decide which language to use based on what they know and where the program will be run

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When someone decides to write a program, often the first decision is what programming language to use. This choice isn't always easy, as there are many different languages to choose from. You might pick a language you already know and are comfortable with.

Another factor in choosing a language is where the program, or App, will be run. For example, you might be creating a web application, or an app for a mobile phone (like an iPhone). If you are creating an App for an iPhone, you usually use Apple's tools to create it. But, for non-Apple phones, you might be using Google's tools to create the apps. If you are creating a web application, there are a number of different languages you could use, and you might use more than one to create your complete application. There are a variety of different ways to create web applications, and different tools that can help you.


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