[ we make science jokes, periodically ]

Programs, Simplified with MakeCode

Snapchat is a program. So is Microsoft Excel. Google Chrome? Yep, that's a program too! There are a lot of different kinds of programs out there we use daily, but what exactly is a program? Let's break it down.

A program is a set of instructions sent to a microprocessor on how to do something. These instructions are made by writing code. It can be as straightforward or as complicated as the coder makes it. Sometimes the program does something simple like adding numbers, and other times it is complex, like flying a plane.

But how? Let's use a robot as an example, and we'll call him Agent. Agent can do many things, but we're going to focus on a simple task: walking. Easy enough... or is it?

If a wall is in Agent's path, he'll keep trying until he breaks through the wall or runs out of battery. Either outcome is not good. Let's find a fix. Let's have Agent turn left.

Let's say there's a wall on the left. We have an issue again! So let's have Agent turn right if there's a wall on the left.


This is a program and what it does.