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Computer Users Manual, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Democratic Republic of East Timor




Chapter I: Hardware and Software
Chapter II: Networks and Communications
Chapter III: Operating Systems
Chapter IV: Applications

Chapter V: Basic Coding and Programming

Introduction to Programming
Logical Sets and Procedures
Extendable Hypertext Mark-Up Language (xhtml)
Structured Query Lanuage (SQL)
Visual Basic and C

Chapter VI:Basic Systems Administration
Appendicies: Ministry Policy

Ministry Hompage

Introduction to Programming

This, and the final chapter of the Manual, deals with an introduction to the relatively advanced topics of programming and systems administration. The emphasis here is on introduction. Neither of these two chapters can provide more than just examples and the basic concepts behind the two topics.

Now the average user may be thinking at this point "do I really need to know anything about programming and system administration"? The answer here is similar to the same question being posed anywhere within this manual. One doesn't really "need" to know that a hard disk drive and a processor are different things, but it certainly helps if one is going to be using a computer with any degree of regularity. One doesn't really "need" to know the difference between an operating system and an application. But knowing these things certainly helps one if they've lost a file on their computer somewhere or a program keeps crashing. The ultimate objective of such knowledge is that the user knows how to fix things themselves and is inspired to learn more – and that is the same objective in this chapter.

Perhaps even more so than the question being raised with regards to any other chapter of this manual, a thorough grounding in programming techniques - set theory, organization, and logical processes - is the most important. Whilst some programming languages are quite forgiving in design, learning good programming techniques is the same as learning to think logically – which is a skill that doesn't just apply to computers, but rather an approach to any procedural problem.

The sections in this Chapter include: Logical Sets and Procedures, Extended Hypertext Mark-Up Language (xhtml), Structured Query Language (SQL), Visual Basic and C. The first section covers some of the basics of Boolean algebra, set theory and propositional and predicate calculus. The second section, the coding procedures and variables uses in xhtml, the language of the World Wide Web and CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets. Once this section is understood you'll be surprised by how simple webpages really are to build, and build properly for that matter - there is certainly plenty out there with very poor design. The second section, SQL, discusses the standard language for database manipulation – learn this and there won't be a database program that will be beyond your immediate grasp. The third topic, Visual Basic and C, is an introduction for the two most common programming languages for designing applications. Microsoft applications are typically written in Visual Basic, whereas C, having existed for some thirty years now, is the largest programming language used and exists on an enormous range of hardware and operating system platforms.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, GPA Building #1, Ground Floor, Dili, East Timor

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