Introduction to Programming 000

Quite some time ago, I went to college for Computer Science degree. I knew that I wanted to provide for a family, that I didn’t want to perform a job with a lot of manual labor, and that doctors and lawyers would fit the bill. But I also knew that I was good with computers, I’d hacked a few games after all. I’d even written a few programs. In fact, the first one I ever “wrote” I can still provide from memory.

10 print Hello World
20 goto 10

But let me get into what this post is really about. An introduction to the world of programming. Currently, I’m teaching my son 6th grade math. It’s introducing him to Algebra. Algebra is cool. It makes math useful, repeatable even. It’s kind of what programming does. The first things you learn in school are definitions, terminology, the words, and what they mean. That way you can communicate with everyone else that learns about the same subject. Without further ado, let me introduce you to some common concepts of programming.


Just like 6th grade math, you need operators to do anything. Consider 2+2. It equals 4. That’s what your 1st grade teacher taught you. The ‘+‘ sign is the most important piece here. It is the operator. It tells you what to do with the things around it. There are lots of operators out there. Most of the ones you learned in Math apply. And there are few other special operators – but we need to cover other items before we introduce them.


Leaning back on algebra, variables are representational. They can vary in what they represent. For example, if we say x is a variable, and we have an equation x+1=2, we know that the x variable is 1. Or, if we say, the total is x+1, we can set x to a certain number, say 2, and know that the total is 3. Variables are a huge part of programming. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to record the result of operations. Now, speaking of operations, one of the special operators, is the assignment operator.

In many languages, the assignment operator is notated by the = sign. In other languages, it is a combined => symbol. An example of an assignment operation, would be as follow.

x = 10+2

if we were to print the value of x, it would say 12.


Unlike Algebra, programming variables can be different types. This is because, different things need to be tracked in a computer. In algebra, you’re just tracking numbers. Examples of different types are:

  • integer
  • boolean
  • string
  • object
  • float

An analogy would be something like measurements. If you try to measure flour for a cookie recipe, and you use 2 tablespoons instead of cups – or – you used 2 grams instead of 2 cups – you end up with goop (I know from experience, goop doesn’t taste good). And for this reason, programming languages use types. Keeping track of a of number is an integer. Keeping track of someone’s name, well, that’s a string, and keeping track of your next door neighbor and their email address (is creepy) but that group of types, that’s an object.

Differences between Programming languages

I’m not going to cover a lot on different programming languages at this time. Just know they are out there. A lot of the core principles are the same, or similar, even if the terminology is different. This is because the C programming language became an effective way for programmers to convey ideas. If you’re into language history, think of it as the ‘Latin’ of the programming world in that a lot of other languages stem from it.

Next step

At this point, I’m going to recommend downloading Golang and finding a text editor or IDE. Because eventually, we’ll get started on using some of these concepts in an actual application. Once you’ve gotten an IDE – head on over to Program 1: Build a simple text bot!

Guide: Implementing a PhpUnit Development Environment in PhpStorm


For this example, I will be starting with the following:

  • PhpTraits repository
  • PhpStorm Project
    • Make certain you have a php interpreter referenced in your storm project
    • Also make certain you have Composer referenced by PHPStorm
    • A desire to test.allTheThings()
Adding the PHP interpreter reference.

Installing Libraries

First, use composer do some work. We need a copy of phpunit. Get it with this:


As this is a ‘library’ style app – use an exact version. The lock file gets ignored in favor of precise dependencies in the composer.json.

Now run composer update to pull in the requested phpunit package.

Setup phpunit in the general settings, under phpunit

Adding a new test

Or rather, a test skeleton

  1. Open the file to test in the Project View
  2. Place you cursor on a method to test within the file
  3. Go To Navigate -> Test
  4. Create New test
  5. I tend to set mine up with a test prefix to keep tests more obviously separate from code.
  6. Click Ok then Open up the new file
  7. Add a line to pull in the composer autoloader
  8. Clean up the Namespace reference to the TestCase if you are using PSR-4
  9. Disclaimer: Strongly avoid namespacing unit tests. They should not be built out like a code base. They are testing units.
  10. Add an empty testHydrate method.
  11. Add a super obvious assertion.
  12. Add a phpunit.xml fileI put it in the test directory.
  13. Run the test (At this point, I needed to restart phpstorm to detect that I actually had a ‘test’ to run.
  14. Build the tests out further.


Ending of the beginning

I’ve gone ahead and built out the ‘hydrate’ test against a trait. Note the use of the trait object that phpunit provides. Pretty slick, right?  I’ll continue to build out this repository – core libraries need the most directed test coverage.

Even adding the ‘test’ cases around the hydrate method – I have found use cases I didn’t consider while writing the code – and have adjusted the code to reflect the behavior I expect.