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How Programs are Generally Made

Every program that you use on a computer including JAWS, Firefox, and Windows has source code files that were written by someone. The computer is reading and executing the source code files very quickly as you run those programs. It is important to note that the computer is not very smart and reads these files without thinking. Even if the source code could potentially kill the it, the computer will still execute it as long as it can read the source code files! However, the computer and human languages are very different. Humans use words and sentences while computers use 1's and 0's.

So how do we write programs in 1's and 0's? We don't actually do this but, we write programs in a structured way so the computer can convert what we are writing to 1's and 0's. We then give our source code file to a special computer program called a compiler that converts the source code to a language understandable by a computer -- 1's and 0's, which is also called binary.

Our Programming Language

There are many different programming languages we can use when we want to make source code files. We will use the programming language C# (pronounced C Sharp) to program chatbots, although it was an arbitrary choice. No programming language is inherently better than any other - they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

File types and extensions

In Windows, each file type has its own file extension, which is identified by the characters following the dot in the file name. For example, somefile.txt has the file extension txt. You'll encounter several file types while coding in C#:

A C# (human-readable) source code file. You'll manually edit these files.
An executable program. Most programs on windows have this file extension.
A Windows batch script. These are simple programs that compile your C# source code.
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This work is supported by the following National Science Foundation Grants: CNS-087508, CNS-0549481, IIS-0811884, IIS-0415273
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