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Demystifying Code for Fun and Profit

By Nanther Thangarajah
June 23, 2015
Demystifying Code for Fun and Profit

We have all been, at one time or another, on the outside looking in. It’s no different when it's new knowledge or skill. And it takes a bit of time to bridge that gap between wanting to know, and actually knowing. A lot of that applies to technology. To most of us, it seems to be this formless thing that you interact with in various aspects, but it’s not as familiar or as sensible, as say, driving a car.

And then there is code. What is it? How does it work? Why does it work when it makes so little sense to those of us on the outside?

Programmer Paul Ford has undertaken the Herculean task of explaining what is code for Bloomberg Business. Along the way, he talks about the beginning of code, programming languages, software, process, conferences, and the intersection of necessity and solution. It’s a fascinating read on a webpage that's delightfully interactive in itself—chock-full of annotations, bits of whimsy and Easter eggs. Give yourself a good bit of time to work through it. The reading payload weighs in at 38,000 words give or take, and might not be consumable in a single helping. I had to send it to my reading application (Pocket, if you’re curious) so I could get through a first read before going back to enjoy the actual fun bits on the page. It makes for adventurous reading.

Also, if you’re interested, Gawker has a follow-up Q&A with Ford about the article and the tech industry as a whole. In some ways, that’s probably more demystifying than the actual article!