Thursday, 8 March 2012

Hello World!

This is my first ever blog post, so perhaps an introduction is in order.

Who am I?

My name is Pete, a 28 year old (and growing older) guy living in Oxford, UK. I am happily married and a family man, my son being nearly a year old. Being the father of a very young child my free-time is limited now, but when I do get some time to myself I like playing computer games and watching films. And I get a lot of quality time with my wife and little boy - especially at 2am!

But my other passion in life (and my profession) is programming and software development. And that is what this blog will primarily be about.

The Infamous "Hello World" Program

Back in the day when I was starting my A Level in Computing, we were introduced to something called BASIC. This wasn't actually the first time I encountered it - I had a ZX Spectrum when I was about 9 or 10 years old and dabbled in writing my own programs, but I was just copying code from text books and was perhaps too young to fully appreciate it; the knowledge of what was happening and why never really sunk in at the time.

Anyway, A Levels were when I first looked into programming proper using BASIC, specifically QBasic since that came free with every Microsoft Windows OS disk since the dawn of time. The first program we were introduced to was the one every programmer sees at some point in their life:

PRINT "Hello World"

But it was the next one which for some reason had a profound impact on me:

INPUT "What is your name: ", Name$
PRINT "Hello "; Name$

When I wrote and ran that - despite looking incredibly simple - it suddenly sunk in: I can actually control this machine. I can tell it what to do and it will do my bidding! Maybe if I could figure some more things out, I could make it do something really cool...

That set me on my path. I was going to learn how to program, get my degree in Computer Science and find someone who would employ me to do this for a living.

Why Start a Blog Now?

I've been a professional developer for over 10 years now, yet I would never claim to be a master of my craft. I've worked in various languages (from Java to C++ and now C#), worked on vastly differing projects (financial systems, hardware, security systems and now websites) and every day there is still always something new to learn, which is what drives me forward.

The reason why I've decided to start a blog now is that I think it is time to pass on what I've learned. I've spent a lot of time discovering how things work and scouring the Internet researching new ideas, including great sites like The Code Project, and in more recent years StackOverflow, but I'd like to try explaining ideas in my own words.

You never know, someone else out there might find it useful too.

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