Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

While looking for an answer on Stack Overflow one day, I saw several people recommend this book, to get a grasp on what was happening under the hood of my computer — specifically, from beginning to end, how is a computer made?

You can find the book here.

This book broke it down in such a way that I now understand it completely. The author starts of small and slow, and gradually builds up, from explaining how different number systems work as well as why we have so many, and the shortcomings of each (hex, binary, decimal, etc). From there, he goes into the use of relays, a bit about electrical engineering, and next thing you know, you’re looking at Assembly code. It all starts with communication, languages (I’m talking Morse code and brail), and goes from there. Incredibly useful.code-book

I now have a far better understanding of the things my friends were speaking of on technical threads before, largely from the terms I learned in this book:

carry bit, high-order bit, lower-order bit, etc,.

I wish I had read something like this when I first started programming. If you know anyone who wants to get started in coding, then I’d start here, not because of the code it will teach you (you won’t learn much on that here), but understanding what your code is doing to the actual hardware. The computer no longer appears like a black box.

It was published by Microsoft Press in 2000, and the author, Charles Petzold, actually works for Microsoft (now Xamarin).

Read this if you want to understand how your computer really works.



2 thoughts on “Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

  1. Thanks for the recommendation Dave. I came to your site after listening to the devradio talk on Hendrick. You guys are inspiring. We are on the same route at work (xamarin, azure, netcore), and couldn’t be happier seeing we are in the company of great minds. thank you!

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